There are only a few things I love more that food in the world and most of them are people so this is a huge deal for me.
My first vegan festival!
I’ve been planning this trip for months. Stalking their facebook events page and waiting in hope that someone I know is going too so I could hitch a ride. Luckily for me, that’s exactly what happened! Fueling myself with my chia breakfast bowl, topped with banana and honey coffee in hand, I grabbed my camera (and business cards) and set off for this mornings foodie adventure.
Bearing in mind that vegan food is not just for vegans – it’s for anyone who wants to be cruelty-free and animal-friendly! Not to mention it tastes spectacular to encourage others to eat more vegan-friendly. I knew I was in for a great day.
Arriving at the venue was fairly difficult as it wasn’t signposted like I would’ve imagined.
What’s new on the vegan menu?
Nothing is new per-say, vegan food is just fruits and veggies. Natural food a plenty! Not necessarily healthy as most of it was fried and covered in pastry but that’s neither here nor there. There was plenty to choose from, pies, pastries, tarts, quiches, rice dishes, salads, curries and that’s just the savouries!
The first stop on our food tour was the second stall in the hall. Mr Nice Pies.
It took a lot of pushing and shoving to get the front of the trays to see what choices there were. I was surprised to see so many had already gone! We had arrived 40 minutes after the doors had opened and already 30+ pies had been sold! Mr Nice pies sell five different types of pie, all are filled to the brim with different flavoured veggies and sauces. The options were;
- Bountiful butternut curry
- MoorishMoroccann Tagine Pie
- Rendang Pie
- Drunken Mushroom Pie
- Sweedy Todd Pie
They also sell across the country at different markets and events but, if you can’t wait that long, you could order directly from their website and facebook page for £
3 each or 4 for £10 and a surplus shipping fee. Me and my Mr. had four of their delicious pies, the Moroccan, two of the Mushroom pies and a Curry pie too. We’ll update you once we sink our teeth into these bad boys during the week. Hopefully with a big plate of veg and gravy. Yum!
The first section of the hall covered a few sweet treats, chocolate cakes, cupcakes, tray bakes, chocolate brownies, cookies, biscuits (from vieforvegan), breakfast bars and Chelsea buns! There really was plenty to choose from and it was burning a hole in my pocket. I had to pull myself away from the pizza ovens.
Create your own vegan pizza had filled up the hall and it was making me hungry!
Buffet Style eating
My Mr. hadn’t had his breakfast so curry and burgers were on his list when we found the Home Kitchen Vegan. Buffet style, they offered vegan indian food which had really built up a que in the hall. Luckily, it was near the exit so it lead into the corridor. There’s too much to list on their menu but the highlights seemed to be the mixed vegetable and rice dishes and humungous samosas! For a £10 tray you could have a selection of everything they offered. From the que of people with their trays they were certainly making their money today!
The Chaat man had the healthy food, good for you! The room was mostly pastries and starchy meals so it was refreshing to see a healthy and gluten-free version for those who struggle with their dietary needs. I for one was super excited to see a shredded broccoli salad with Mediterranean veggies, something I make for myself on the rare occasion.
Special mentions were to lakeside ethical treats who covered every type of breakfast bar and snack alternative for you to stock up on!
What I learned from my first vegan food festival
The hall was crowded, I mean hold your breath and suck your gut in to move around – kind of crowded. I was honestly really suprised! Gladly so, it wasn’t just trendy teens or activist vegans. There were some young children, new couples and young teens who looked as though they just wanted to see what was going on in there. It seemed to appeal to everyone.
The hall was a fairly large small but with over 40+ vendors and at least 200 people moving through the crowds. It really showed how popular a plant-based lifestyle has become. I’m not going to say I wasn’t nervous walking into such a big crowd of people. Epecially since I’m relatively new, would they be able to tell? Would anyone judge me? Silly little things that made me worry but there was no reason to. The stall holders were all welcoming of my photographing their gorgeous food and all willing to explain their secret ingredients. Cashews in the ‘cheese cake’? Delicious!
The food was flying off the stalls. Even after 40 mins of the doors opening, most stalls had very visible stock already gone! Some had sold out of certain pastries, cakes and pies. Which was gutting but as I over heard from another passer-by. ‘Atleast there are more vegans coming in to the hall , shame there’s no spiced broccoli ones left’ anything? The prices were as expected, a little bit more than the typical but with everything being hand-made and vegan, it’s no surprise that a burger would cost £3.50. Especially when they taste so good and are animal-friendly, what’s £3.50 when you’re saving a life?
I would definitely go to more of these amazing events. I’d take more money and stock my freezer up with pies and savoury meals. Tesco sells similar products for similar prices but supporting local small vegan businesses is far more important to me. I’d definitely recommend any new vegans or anyone transitioning, going to an event near them.
Even if veganism isn’t on the cards for you right now, perhaps a more plant-based diet could be! See what food is available and it helps you to realise what options you can have when making the swap. I wrote a piece about my transition into veganism, and I have covered a step-by-step guide to making the transition easier for anyone interested. I hope you all have a wonderful week,