A vegan cooking retreat in Spain? Yes, that’s right! Lee Watson, author of Peace and Parsnips, and Áine Carlin, author of Keep it Vegan & The New Vegan, have partnered up to teach people how to master the art of vegan cuisine, in beautiful Spanish surroundings
Veganuary caught up with Lee Watson to find out more!
Hi Lee! What’s the inspiration behind this exciting plant-based cooking holiday?
We just love cooking and sharing delicious vegan food. We’re excited to be getting together and showcasing the diversity and potential of a plant-based diet and healthy lifestyle. We also wanted to do it in a villa near the beach! Why not!! Viva Vegan offers up a weekend of relaxation, sensational food and a chance to learn new kitchen skills. We want to share our passion for good living!
How did the idea come about?
Áine and I have been chatting for a while about collaborating on a cooking holiday. I love Áine’s style of cooking and recipes. I’ve organised holidays like this in the past and they’re just such fun and are an opportunity for everyone to learn and meet new, like-minded people. Having Áine and I contributing to the weekend, also makes the food and workshops even better, a greater variety of styles and influences for everyone to enjoy.
Why did you pick Spain?
I’ve been going to this little village in Spain for over 12 years and it’s one of my favourite places in the world. I guess I just wanted let people into the secret! For me, its the most beautiful stretch of coastline in Spain, where the mountains meet the sea and there’s still that feel of ‘real’ Spain. Murcia is also known as the ‘garden’ of Spain, the local produce is sensational, tomatoes, olives, lemons, peppers, aubergines, fruits and we even have some local vegan wines to sample.
What can people expect to experience on the holiday?
The Viva Vegan weekend is designed to let people experience they’re perfect weekend. We have a beautiful location, our modern eco villa is right on a quiet stretch of beach, we have winter sun and amazing local produce. Áine and I will be doing all of the cooking and hosting workshops, which range from a cheese making masterclass to top vegan kitchen hacks and tips.
There is even the option for us to go for a mini cruise on a vintage yacht down the stunning coast. Maybe a vegan picnic in a little cove? The idea is we take care of everything, from soothing yoga classes and nourishing smoothies in the mornings, right through to mocktails at sunset. We’re even having a vegan BBQ night. It’s a time to enjoy peace, walks in nature, a swim in the Med, a visit to local cafes and villages. The idea is you can transform the way you cook or just curl up in a hammock with a good book. It’s all just a recipe for an inspiring and blissful weekend.
What do you want people to feel like they’ve achieved after joining you?
We’d like people to have some new vegan cooking skills and confidence to try something fresh when cooking at home. Cooking amazing vegan dishes can be easy, delicious and healthy. We’d also like people to feel refreshed, inspired and peaceful. Plus, of course, loads of laughs and fun along the way. It’s a rare chance to re-energise and get away from it all before the busy Christmas period.
Is it just for vegans, or can anyone interested in plant-based cooking come along?
Anyone who is interested in good food and good times are very welcome! In my experience, everyone enjoys vegan food. We just need a few skills, a little know how and good ingredients to make everything delicious. We will be having a vegan nutrition talk and Q+A sessions out on the terrace, so we can answer any questions about a vegan lifestyle.
What practical info do potential guests need to know?
Not a great deal. We will be taking good care of you. We pick everyone up from the airport, then drive directly to the villa for the weekend. Bring a good book, comfy clothes and your sunglasses!
Is this going to be a regular annual adventure, and if so, will there be different locations hosting?
This is our first collaboration. First of many we hope! Delicious vegan food, beautiful locations, the possibilities are endless!
Are you tempted? Take advantage of the Awesome Autumn offer now running which gives a fantastic £70 off per person! Find out more via the Beach House Kitchen website.