Creating a community around healthy, organic, vegan food.
Donna Vegans´s team: Hugo, Jaime, Santiago, Aleandro, Jason and Donna
I have been hearing great things about Donna Vegana´s food from vegans and meat eaters alike for a while now. I have tried selection of their sandwiches, wraps, sushi and desserts at friends´ houses and at birthday parties. I loved both the taste and the presentation of the food, so I could not wait to go to the actual place and meet the people behind this popular café.
Donna Vegana is situated near Port Adriano, on a cute little square away from the main roads, making it perfect for families with children. Sandra and I were welcomed by the owners, Donna and Alejandro, with a couple of large glasses of refreshingly tasty homemade lemonade. Alejandro told me that he mixes lemon juice with lemon zest and grated ginger, lets it macerate for a while, and then adds water. I will definitely try making this at home this summer!
In terms of other home-made refreshments, they offer a selection of ginger shots (for example, with lemon and chilli or with blue spirulina) and super lattes (pink – with beetroot, blue – with spirulina, and golden – with turmeric and cinnamon). For kids, they make their own hot chocolate, blending raw cocoa with soya vanilla “milk”. Their coffee is excellent too and it is provided by Candelas, the 2018 winner of the best commercial coffee in Spain. And each of these drinks is as pleasing for the eye as it is for the palate!
Donna is originally Persian, but grew up in Denmark, while Alejandro is from Tenerife. They both worked in hospitality – Alejandro in fine dining and Donna in street food. Over time they came up with the concept that combines those two somewhat distinct backgrounds and decided to open their own place in Mallorca in 2019. Everything at Donna Vegana is not only vegan, but organic and gluten free. The only refined sugar they use is the one that sweetens their coffee.
Donna tells me that they have never advertised anywhere; all their customers come through the “word of mouth”. And they come from all over the island, from Andratx to Alcudia and anywhere in between. The place has over time evolved into a kind of a community. They know many of their customers by name, they listen to their background stories and they treat everyone like family. Interestingly, kids are often the ones dragging their parents to Donna Vegana, even asking to have birthday parties here rather than at some fast food chains. So, Dona, Alejandro and their team are clearly doing something right and making a positive change in their neighbourhood.
Before corona they used to do yoga and breakfast and they are hoping to start that again soon. Despite the challenges of this past year and a half, their business has grown steadily. The couple started alone and now they are a team of six, plus they are looking for another chef. So, if you are reading this, looking for work, and are intrigued – do reach out. They are also expanding upwards, opening a restaurant for dinner, probably at some point next year. Meanwhile, their terrace has grown from just a few tables to filling up a large part of the square.
I ask about their best sellers, and they tell me that its impossible to single out any particular dish. When they look at their statistics “its almost as if the dishes are competing with each other for attention”, all are loved equally and ordered in similar quantities. Alejandro thinks that the reason for this is the fact that they take a very long time in developing each dish, sometimes even a few years. Then they offer it as a “dish of the day”, listen to the customers´ feedback and monitor the sales, and only when they are sure that the dish will be a success, it makes its way onto the menu.
I was, as usual, particularly interested in the sweets and Alejandro brought out two of his signature cakes to try. They both had a similar base of hazelnuts, raw cacao, ginger, turmeric, a little bit of cinnamon and a coconut mouse. One was finished with nuts, giving it a crunchy texture and a smoky taste. The other had a bit of orange juice and orange zest in the base and was decorated with orange zest and cut up segments of the fruit, making it smell and taste super fresh.
This last cake could put any fine dining restaurants desert to shame in terms of both the taste and the presentation, yet it was vegan, organic, gluten free, without any refined sugar – so, all around good for you!
Wherever I go when doing research for these columns I find one or two sweet things I really like and I often go back for them, but this chocolate orange cake has probably been the best desert I have tried on this island so far! Thank you, Donna and Alejandro, for your incredibly warm hospitality and for teaching me that chocolate cake can be healthy too! I will definitely be back!
Till next month…
Photos: Sandra Puric
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