Vegan Delight Spotlight: Cathar Carrot Soup

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Discovering delicious vegan dishes around the world is one of my favorite things about travel.  Sometimes they are accidentally vegan and sometimes they are veganized versions of a traditional dish.  Regardless it’s always a treat to experience a bit of local flavor that tantalizes my taste buds.

Earlier this year, we first learned about the Cathars, a extinct religious group that can be considered Europe’s first vegans.  They inspired us to follow in their footsteps earlier this summer on a hike through the Cami dels Bons Homes in Spain.  Hearing their story and my first experience tasting their food lead to a bit of an obsession to learn as much as I could about them.  This Carrot Soup was the first traditional dish I was lucky enough to taste; one I won’t soon forget.

Vegan Delight Spotlight: Cathar Carrot Soup

I was still reeling from the excitement of learning about the Cathars when we visited Niu Nou, a slow food restaurant in Baga, Spain. The restaurant specializes in traditional Carthar cuisine and I was lucky enough to enjoy a three course vegan meal there. The starter, Cathar Carrot Soup with Chickpeas and Coconut Foam, was one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever tasted.  In fact, I usually don’t even like soup. I’m usually never satisfied after eating it and rarely order it when dining out.  This soup, however, was different. It was rich, creamy, hearty, perfectly spiced, and downright addictive. I could have eaten it for days and been happy.

Vegan Cathar Soup

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to return to Niu Nou but at the end of our five day hike on the Cami del Bons Homes I was once again treated to the soup.  This time it was after a very long and strenuous day on the trail.  We arrived at our accommodations, Cal Barbut, just as nightfall was setting in. It was cold, I was tired and sore, ravenous, and a little cranky. Luckily the owner of our mountain hotel, Charlotte, had prepared a huge pot of the creamy carrot concoction for Michael and me to share. Her variation was just as lovely and satisfying but a more traditional and rustic version than what I had enjoyed previously. Let’s just say, after a few bowls of the soup my mood had improved tremendously, I felt invigorated, warmed, less sore, and my tummy was fully satisfied. I’m not going to say that this soup has magical powers, but it did seem to cure all my woes that evening.

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