Hello dear readers, it’s been a while. I’m back after an extended hiatus (something about buying a cafe and all the hard work it en tails) to bring you one of my favourite posts to date: Vegan in Bansko with Snomads.
Long time audience members will know how much we love snowboarding, so when Snomads asked me if we’d like to come out to Bansko and stay with them for 5 days and immerse ourself in the Bulgarian Mountain life, we booked a flight pretty sharpish.
Bansko is relatively new to the ski scene, but is becoming more and more desirable, highly down to it’s affordability. Bansko is an old and characteristic town, sitting among 3 mountain ranges, the Pirin, Rila and Rhodolpe. As Bulgaria’s most popular and best loved ski resort, there is an upbeat feel to the town. The slopes are wide and open, and unlike many of it’s French/Swiss counterparts, beautifully quiet. We didn’t queue for a chairlift once during our 5 day stay. There was a wide range of slopes to suit all abilities, and we loved looping the trees and finding fresh powder tree run after tree run (thanks to Maks, Rosie and Mike for showing us some amazing spots!)
Snomads was started in 2012 by a British group of friends looking to start an authentic, organically focussed holiday company. Now hosting 4 impressive chalets, they aim to make your holiday as authentic and memorable as possible. All their holidays include return airport transfers, daily shuttles to the slopes and unlimited wine (hurrah), beer and local rakia with meals.
We were picked up from Sofia airport and spent the 2.5 hour drive listening intently to our transfer driver as he told us about the city and the history of Bulgaria. We arrived just after the biggest snowfall in 5 years for the town – stoke levels were certainly high all round.
Tony, Rach, Matt and Mike welcomed us into Chalet Diana Ross with a big smile, the offer of a warming mulled wine, and a slice of vegan Lamington cake (a first for me – and fitting as we arrived on Australia day!). We were given a full tour of the chalet and then shown to our (huge!) room. With an en suite, balcony and enough room to fit in some pre-riding yoga, we were pretty happy!
While we were there to enjoy the slopes, we were also excited to be able to relax in a chalet with mod cons and luxuries like a hot tub, sauna and table tennis table! There is an honesty bar in the Chalets, and free wine and beer during meal times.
Chalet Diana Ross sleeps up to 25, but there were 8 of us there during our stay. It was nice to get to know the other guests and catch up every evening and share tales from the day’s excitement.
Below is a breakdown of our dinner meals during our 4 day stay – we were well and truly impressed with the food and how well they catered for us as vegans:
White Bean and Tomato Bruschetta
Veg Stew with Mash and Homemade Bread
Salted Caramel and Apple Tart
Potato, Mushroom and Ginger Soup (Rach explained her Mum used to make this for her when she was sick, I loved it so much she sent me the recipe!)
Carrot and Walnut Burger on Beet Puree and Vegan Slaw
Vegan Bread and Butter Berry Pudding
Caramelised Onion and Roasted Pepper on Polenta Cake
Mexican Spicy Roasted Red Peppers with Spinach and Potatoes
Vegan and Gluten Free Sticky Date Cake
Rocket, Squash, Seed and Nut Salad
Mushroom Pilaff with wild Market Mushrooms (Tony – who is a native Bulgarian – made this dish and he was very proud of his delicious vegan concoction – he told me he had never cooked a vegan meal before this!)
It was safe to say we were well and truly satisfied after every meal. Food was plentiful and filling and just what we needed after a full day riding.
We found eating on the mountain ok, but the vegan options were limited in some restaurants. There was normally a soup or salad though (plus fries… lots of carbs to keep these legs strong).
On the Tuesday evening the staff organised a trip down to a local Thermal Spa for a few hours – an beautiful hot outside pool with a restaurant and bar access. For £17 you can enjoy a few hours soaking in the water and the price includes a free drink – handy tip – go for the G+TL it’s HUGE!
We ended our stay with a fantastic group night out bowling and then onto watch a live band at one of the popular pubs. All the chalet staff came out and it just felt like a night out with old friends.
The staff could not have been more friendly or accommodating and we were genuinely gutted to leave. There are regular flights from most UK airports to Sofia so what are you waiting for – book that trip now!
Massive thanks to the whole Snomads team for an unforgettable few days!
Photo credit – Snomads
Photo credit – Snomads
Disclaimer – I was invited to stay with Snomads at Chalet Diana Ross in return for a review – all opinions are my own. Thank you for following me on my adventures.