A weekend of beachside adventure, plant-based creations and amazing company.
Last weekend we hosted the very first Coco Retreat in Byron Bay, our spiritual home in Australia. We invited some of our most active community members to be involved in a weekend of adventure and to learn more about Coconut Bowls the brand, and what we value. The weekend was fun, fulfilling and a reminder of how fortunate we are to work with such an inspired community.
The weekend started early on Thursday as we filled 8 seater vans and made our way to BSKT cafe on the sunny Gold Coast. We sat for brunch and enjoyed bowls coco whip topped with medleys of fresh fruit and crunchy veganola, an amazing homemade vegan granola. Coincidentally, coco whip was the first brand we made custom Coconut Bowls for.
Feeling nourished and content, we hit the highway en route to Byron Bay where, on arrival, we checked into the beautifulBower Cottage. Surrounded comfortably by tall, tropical flora we hosted our welcome on the Bower Deck where teams from thePoor Girls PantryandWild Goats Events had prepared an amazing boho themed picnic for us.
Our picnic was scheduled as a meet and greet with many guests meeting for the first time. We introduced ourselves along with the weekend agenda and shared some of the exciting Coconut Bowls have planned for the future - some of which we’ll reveal to you throughout this post. After we‘d made a mess of the once picture-perfect food platters, and sipped enough kombucha to border on tipsy (joking!), we presented our guests with an incredible gift bag - an assortment of items from brands we felt they, and our community, would love.
Our first night finished with a casual, but no less delicious, dinner atOrgasmic Falafel. A feed always on the to-eat list when visiting Byron Bay.
On Friday we woke up to a lighthouse walk at sunrise. We didn’t spot whales or dolphins, but a view of the Pacific ocean from the most easterly point of Australia was as magical as ever.
Having completed one of Australia’s most beautiful trails we made our way toCombi, a must visit for any foodie in Byron, who kindly decorated a Coconut Bowls table for our arrival. While many went for a renowned smoothie bowl, Acai for some and Pitaya for others, the vegan toastie was a big winner! And had some guests returning for seconds over the weekend.
What followed was something the girls had been so excited for, a visit toSpell & The Gypsy Boutique to make use of the voucher they’d been gifted the night before. After shopping, beautiful boho dresses in hand, it was time to try something none of us had done before, electric bikes.
This turned out to be a highlight of the weekend as we rode our bikes up and down a vacated tallows beach. While the beach is walking distance from town, it can feel like a world away from civilisation. A big thanks toVallkree &Sunshine Cycles for the opportunity to ride their electric bikes powered by the sun and built with reused materials.
After a day of activities, it was time for a community dinner where Tanya from Bondi Beach’sConscious Feast cooked up an amazing Mexican themed vegan dinner. Plant Based nachos and tacos, accompanied by a Conscious Feast speciality of tofu filled peppers, made our taste buds dance. As dinner came to a close we turned our attention to our guest speaker, Simon Hill from the popular plant-based blog and podcastPlant Proof. Simon presented his Plant Proof Food Pyramid, a great reference for all people eating, or interested in eating, a plant-based diet.
Saturday called for morning flow at the Byron Yoga Centre where we quietened our minds and connected with our bodies. As practice came to a close with a resounding namaste, we left feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and content in a way that only yoga can evoke.
It was then onto breakfast at the Byron General Store where smoothie bowls and buddha bowls were go-to meals of the morning. Fresh and delicious local produce nourished us for what would be a big day on our inaugural Coco Retreat - an hour creating a dish to feature on film for our new YouTube segment, The Coco Kitchen, with each guest.
Before food prep and bowl building could begin, we split our guests into two groups. Ami, Nina and Moky visited Suffolk Park’s Baz & Shaz for all fresh produce. Tess, Tash, Cherie, Hannah and Jacinta visited The Source Bulk Foods to stock up on everything else we needed for the afternoons filming.
We then allocated two hours for each guest to prepare, cook and assemble their dish of choice for The Coco Kitchen. What started as a new experience, with the bright lights and film crew foreign to many of us, evolved into a fun and rewarding activity. Each guest did what they do best, create beautiful and delicious plant-based recipes. Best of all, we captured everything on camera to showcase the skills and beautiful personalities of our guests.
The goal of the Coco Kitchen is to showcase easy healthy plant-based cooking can be, with each recipe taking no longer than 30 minutes. Each recipe is nourishing and something anyone can create at home, with little to no cooking experience needed. Subscribe to ourYouTube channel and be the first to know as episodes become available.
The rest of Saturday was treated as leisure time, giving everyone the chance to include anything that was not on our Byron itinerary. We overheard there were visits toFolk Cafe,Miss Margarita, local gyms and some of the many local fashion boutiques. On our final morning we opted for a mindfulness discussion and guided meditation before Acai Bros, Sam and Ben, joined us to create smoothie bowls using their fair trade certified açai. We painted the inside of our Jumbo Coconut Bowls purple and topped them with whatever our heart desired. Heaven.
Following breakfast was a fascinating session learning all about mushrooms from Julian and Ryan, founders of innovative Australian mushroom company,Life Cykel. The boys shared some of the incredible medicinal and nutritional benefits of mushrooms which furthered our belief in nature’s healing capabilities.
With a heavy heart, it was time to farewell our stay at The Bower. We gathered on the deck, where it all began a few days earlier, and shared some special news.
At Coconut Bowls we’re determined to change the world, with sustainability a key consideration in everything we do. It has always been, and always will be, important to us. Demonstrating this commitment, it’s with great excitement we announce our new sustainability initiative,Coco Charity. With every purchase on coconutbowls.com we will contribute a percentage of the order to one of three charities. Each charity aligns closely with our values and focuses on a different challenge - planet, people and animals.
Along with this, we expressed our gratitude to everyone for taking part in our retreat and being so supportive of what we do. Community is a major part of what we do, and taking our business offline for a weekend to spend time with our community was the most rewarding experience.
Before the curtains closed we had one last foodie experience, a garden picnic atHarvest Newrybar where platters were again the hero. We grazed until full before saying farewell to the Byron Hinterlands, and a see you soon to our new friends.
Coco Retreat number two can’t come soon enough.
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