The making of a memorable road trip is determined by the surprises you find along the way. As vegan and gluten free, I'm always up for a challenge whereby food stops may be far and few in between. While driving to Adelaide recently, a lunch stop on tree-lined Main Street in Bacchus Marsh was a must for sampling. Aptly named Peace Love Vegan Café at Bacchus Marsh Natural Health is just over 50 minutes from Melbourne.
Feel the love at Peace Love Vegan Cafe in Bacchus Marsh
It's a warm welcome heading into to Peace Love Vegan Cafe, after driving past local berry farms and gorgeously restored cottages; this newly added café arm to Bacchus Marsh Natural Health store. What's a plus with this locale is that the staff here can be called on to query about health and nutrition in a natural and holistic way. What better way than to start with some of the day's food choices to be enjoyed here. This tight and cosy café is brimming with nourishing vegan flavours (also FODMAP friendly and refined sugar-free) and some short order items can cater for gluten free customers, too.
Skip the caffeine for a matcha tea latte with soy milk
Smiles are beaming and are ever-present on the faces of the approachable staff serving such fulfilling and healthful food. There's also a specialty hot drinks section on the menu, enough enticing specialty latte choices to replenish tired bodies. My choice – a matcha green tea latte with Bonsoy soy milk dusted with cinnamon – is a lovely, warm start before narrowing down a lunch choice.
Shepherd's Pie - a nourishing and fulfilling lunch.
For anyone who loves comfort food, the choice is a natural one – hearty homemade Shepherd's pie of thick lentil and vegetable casserole topped with a crust of fluffy whipped potato and sided by a fresh, green salad. That's not to say you don't have to overlook the side dishes either, such as trio of dips or a bowl of sweet potato chips with relish.
Lots of fresh, leafy greens, and crunch, here.
Though, you do need a raging appetite to conquer the serves here. The pie is mighty and generous in its serving and stands robust alongside leafy salad, sprinkled with macadamias, walnuts and pepitas, building a nutritionally well-balanced and flavoursome meal.
Patrons to Peace Love Vegan Café may also be excused by forgoing an early lunch for one of the café's outstanding breakfast dishes, such as their golden buckwheat pancakes. A short stack of spongy pancakes are delivered to the table, round in size and resting below a topper of scattered toasted almonds, walnuts and seeds, blush and plump organic blueberries and strawberry quarters to add a burst of colour, all drizzled in maple syrup.
Try the buckwheat pancakes for a late breakfast. Delish!
To smear over each forkful is a dainty side bowl of fresh coconut cream, willing to take its place and complement such an appetite – and diet-specific – pleasing meal.
Peace Love Vegan Cafe - full of healthy and delicious flavours
If you're still hungry or just plain curious, there's always the raw dessert cabinet that's lined with sweet treats (try the tiramisu!) to purchase and pack into the car. Need any natural food supplies? Then the adjoining natural health shop has shelves packed with those, too.