Samelo Veg, healthy gastronomic destination


An Italian couple triumphs with its philosophy of healthy living in a small restaurant in Abades. Discover with us a vegan referent in Tenerife

Do you believe in fate? Valentina Annibale and Diego Pula do. The two cows that escaped as soon as they reached the family farm gave them a signal that it was time to move from the outskirts of Perugia (Italy). An innocent holiday in Tenerife made them discover an alternative paradise to be happy. And taking a wrong turn off from the island highway, unexpectedly took them to a small town called Abades.

Fate has marked the change of residence of this couple, but also of their philosophy of life. The final push to live vegan came with some health problems. “He loves me so much and started making vegan cheeses”, remembers Valentina. In any case, the idea of living healthier matured long time ago, together with the choice towards a diet, that does not bring harm to animals and to the environment due to industrial production. 

Not only did they care what they ate, but also what others consumed. Diego, who studied Biology, and Valentina, who began studying Advertising and Marketing, already had a restaurant in their native Italy. A project, that they transferred in their new and peaceful place, Abades, with its eco label, Veg label.

As a special birthday present for Diego, on the 28th of November 2015 Samelo Veg was born. A name full of love, because the word Samelo comes from the union of Sandino, Memi (Emiliano) and Lorenzo, the children of the house. For this reason, the slogan that stands out on one of the restaurant walls says: “What is done with love, is done well”.
At the beginning, which is always hard, not all feelings were so positive; more than theirs, it was those of others. Their concept of cooking clashed with the gastronomic tradition of the area, and many gave the restaurant an expiry date of only a few months. “They thought we were crazy,” they say, recalling that time.
However, their “madness” has attracted more and more followers.
Faithful to their thoughts and to the idea of maintaining quality service, Valentina and Diego have only a dozen tables and a capacity to serve between 40 and 45 people a day. Of course they need to remember to stay true to the idea of love, they admit laughing, because if they were arguing with each other, bad energy could cause people not to come to the restaurant … It is clear that this happens very rarely, since utimately it has become obligatory to reserve a seat at their table.

“What you do with love, you do well”

And what is the most attractive menu for such pilgrimage?

The menu is based on traditional Italian dishes, with surprising adaptations. The preparation of homemade pasta, especially ravioli, takes place daily; moreover, the Risotto and the Tortilla of potatoes triumphs … made without eggs, obviously, it is not by chance that it is vegan. Among the tricks is the preparation of potatoes, which are cut and then left in the fridge to soak with water and ice. Also do not miss the delicate and laborious preparation of bread, cheese, sauces … and, especially for sweet toothers, their famous cakes (with chocolate, cheese, dates, soy yogurt, coconut … and other tasty ingredients). To drink, you can find homemade fruit and vegetable smoothies and Canarian craft beers, of which they are supporters.

“Quality is obtained with time”

For all this to be possible, the working day is about 12 hours, even if the opening time is at 5.00 pm
This resumes it: “Quality is obtained with time”. And moreover when, for consistency, they do not use fryers or microwaves. The same consistency that leads them to buy fruit and vegetables from small local producers in the area of Arico, and from a place that is always recommended: the greengrocer Los Agaves, in Costa Adeje.

Valentina and Diego feel satisfied and appreciate the familiarity that is established with customers. In fact, they say that Sundays are the “Family Days” and they like to see the meetings of grandchildren, parents and grandparents that last for hours, between a chat and a bite. Another thing that they find fascinating, compared to Italy, is the habit of sharing dishes and that there is more interaction at the table.

The formula works, but … “we are Sagittarius and staying still is impossible”. So the plans never stop boiling in their heads, with Tenerife and Samelo Veg like planks up their sleeves. And no matter what happens in the future, this experience has already been tattooed in their lives … and on their skin. The spectacular image of the Teide will remain forever on the arm of Valentina.

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