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Veena Torchia and her husband Maurelio have embarked on a remarkable journey in the culinary world by opening the Arty Vegan cafe in Pushkar, northern India. Positioned as the first vegan cafe in the entire state of Rajasthan, their establishment has been making waves with its unique offerings and commitment to providing a plant-based dining experience.
The story of Arty Vegan begins with Veena and Maurelio’s long-standing love for Pushkar, whom they initially met and fell in love with four decades ago. After years of traveling and exploring various countries, they decided to return to this special place to pursue their dream of opening a vegan cafe. Their journey took an unexpected turn when they found an opportunity to run a cafe in the garden of a local hotel, which they gladly embraced.
At Arty Vegan, Veena and Maurelio cater to a diverse customer base, ranging from curious tourists to local businesses and even yoga retreats. The cafe boasts a versatile menu that changes throughout the week, starting with homemade tofu, soya milk, and dishes crafted from okara (soya pulp). As the weekend approaches, they pivot to offering delectable global cuisines, ensuring that there’s something to please every palate.
What sets Arty Vegan apart is not just its culinary delights, but also its commitment to sustainability and customer convenience. Visitors have the option to bring their own containers and purchase food to take home, reducing waste and promoting eco-friendly practices. This approach resonates with conscious individuals who are passionate about both their own well-being and the planet.
The success of Arty Vegan is a testament to Veena and Maurelio’s resilience and determination. Veena, who had experienced a challenging upbringing marked by feelings of isolation and self-doubt, found solace and healing through her husband’s unwavering love and support. Together, they overcame homelessness and other hardships, which only fueled their desire to create a space where people could come together and savor delicious vegan cuisine.
For Veena, the Arty Vegan cafe represents much more than just a business venture. It symbolizes a newfound sense of freedom and self-acceptance. In the past, she yearned for a sense of belonging and conformity, but now, in the vibrant atmosphere of Pushkar, she has discovered her true identity and is embracing the present moment with joy and contentment.
Arty Vegan continues to thrive, and its reputation has even reached beyond the borders of Pushkar. Previously operating as a food label in Hackney, London, during the lockdown, Veena and Maurelio’s products gained recognition and were stocked in renowned organic and health food stores. Today, their journey has come full circle as visitors to the cafe in Pushkar recognize the Arty Vegan name and indulge in its culinary creations.
Despite the simplicity of their accommodations, Veena expresses utmost happiness and fulfillment. The leaking bathroom, peeling paint, and basic bed fade in comparison to the sense of purpose and satisfaction she finds in her newfound home. Shedding the traumas of the past, Veena and Maurelio are embracing the present, cherishing each day as they make their mark in the world of vegan cuisine.
As the Arty Vegan cafe continues to inspire and delight visitors, it serves as a shining example of the power of passion, resilience, and the pursuit of dreams. Through their culinary creations, Veena and Maurelio have not only carved a place for themselves in the vibrant city of Pushkar but also left an indelible mark on the growing vegan movement in Rajasthan.