The Hamilton Spectator
“Oh, I don’t have to eat vegan — I’m normal.” That’s one of the responses Barbara Maccaroni gets when diners realize her Dundas restaurant has a raw vegan slant.
“There’s a lot of education on multiple levels,” she says with a laugh.
A certified nutritionist, Maccaroni was eating a plant-based, mostly raw diet in 2008. That’s the same year she started selling raw treats to local grocers and cafés, including Picone Fine Foods and Homegrown Hamilton.
She says Hamilton was lacking raw vegan options. Kindfood eventually opened in Burlington but, between the two of them, there was still a large gap in supply, despite the demand. “At that time, of course, I couldn’t keep up to the demand, hence the growth,” says Maccaroni.
She opened B.Love in April 2014. The café offers takeout meals, eat-in options and treats. There’s everything from zucchini-noodle pasta and mango slaw to almond burger patties and chocolate macaroons.
This year, she wants to offer raw cooking classes, something people email her about on a weekly basis.
Maccaroni says the response has been great so far. Many of her longtime customers have followed her — “People just love knowing that ‘I can order anything and I don’t have to worry’” — but she gets new visitors every month too.
Their reasons vary for trying B.Love. Some are concerned about animal cruelty or environmental impact. Others want to lose weight or know people who have gone raw and enjoyed it.
Finally, yes, there are those who wander in accidentally and freeze once they realize the food is raw. But that’s part of what Maccaroni loves — introducing people to the idea of something new.
“This is not that health food store food of years gone by where it tastes like cardboard. It doesn’t. It tastes good. I liken it to what you know, just made in a different way.”
905-526-2458 | @Amyatthespec
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