Anything But Vanilla: Connecting Happiness and Food
Matt Golinski explores the connection between happiness and food and discovers a solution in our backyard.
Denmark is widely considered by ‘happiness experts’ to have one of the most content populations on the planet.
It may be because the society as a whole is committed to good social welfare and gender equality, or it might be the clean air and a good life work balance.
But undoubtedly a major factor contributing to the joyfulness of the nation is their culture of sharing good clean food with friends, and a great pride in the provenance of their produce. Two of my favourite things!
In fact, because of their food philosophies, over the past 10 years or so the Danes have firmly cemented themselves as the international trailblazers of the culinary world.
When a young chef called Pernilla ‘Nilla’ Tomkins arrived in Australia from Copenhagen 24 years ago, she brought with her a piece of that positive food culture, and now she shares it with happy customers across her two venues in Noosa.
In 2014, Vanilla Food began its journey in the Belmondos kitchen in Rene St, Noosaville, surrounded by an organic grocer, butcher, artisan bakery, coffee roaster, Ayurvedic clinic and yoga studio, the perfect fit for a café focussing on wholesome food and sustainability.
Nilla’s constantly changing breakfast and lunch menus incorporate the best organic and locally-sourced produce, with a great selection of gluten free, raw and vegan options.
Everything on offer is made in-house without preservatives, additives, refined sugars, artificial colours or flavours.
She chooses to follow a gluten free diet herself, so she has a good grasp on how to produce great tasting dishes to suit.
The doors opened to Vanilla Food’s beautiful flagship café in Lanyana Way, Noosa Junction 18 months ago, A classy, comfortable fit-out inspired by Nilla’s travels is matched with healthy, unfussy breakfast and lunch menus, sweet and savoury cabinet foods, Clandestino coffee and genuinely warm, friendly service.
Fresh herbs and flowers go straight from the garden to the plate, and local producers including Voodoo Bacon, Coyo Yoghurt, Nurtured Greens and Mighty Bean Tempeh deliver their goods directly to the kitchen.
As well as dine in and take away options at both venues, Vanilla Food offers a pick-up catering service, producing fresh healthy salads, sweet and savoury tarts and cakes for special occasions.
The entire Vanilla Food crew understand the importance of keeping the beautiful place they work and live in pristine, so the business is strongly committed to recycling, composting and minimising waste by limiting single use plastics.
And not satisfied that running two cafes and a catering business while bringing up two beautiful daughters is enough, Nilla is currently working on not just one, but two cookbooks so she can share the recipes she’s developed over a lifetime of thoughtful, healthy cooking.
If lifestyle, community and great food are the currency for happiness, it’s no wonder Nilla chose to call Noosa her new home. We’re sure glad she did!
Vanilla Food | www.vanillafood.com.au