It was that time of year again when a truck load of new vegan products hit the halls of Kensington Olympia for all plant lovers to try out. (And boy did I take advantage of all the tasters!)
Saturday’s turn out was as expected; packed full of sweaty ravenous vegans grabbing all the best show price deals they could get their mits on! But why not? It’s the one time of year when you can try before you buy at a discounted price. The exhibition was held in the central area of Olympia this year, slightly smaller turn out than the previous. That doesn’t go to say the quality of the products were any less.
Apon entrance I was welcomed by our much loved global fusion foods, as we all know, provides the best cakes at extremely affordable prices. All homemade and full of flavour. (A tub of apple crumble cake goes down a treat at only £4 for a whole loaf!)
The vegan apparels proved to take this years festival by storm with wicked designs from the likes of Chiaralascura, All glamour no guts, Vegorium and Viva!. Products included cute pin badges, hardcore tees, mugs and totes all demonstrating vegan lifestyle in quirky, original illustrations (without being too intense)!
Chiaralascura was one of the first stalls I headed to. This lovely lady had travelled from Italy, where her business is based (don’t worry she does world wide shipping, horrah!). Her quirky yet hardcore vegan illustrations attracted me on Instagram and I’ve been a keen follower ever since! If you’re anything like me and love a good badge featuring a pink unicorn with ‘Vegan’ tattooed on its ass or ‘SEITANIST’ scrawled across a tshirt then it’s worth having a browse!
Winding through the maze of stalls I came across several new products that intrigued me. Vegan caviar. Oh wow. I’ve always hated the idea of caviar even when I was a pescetarian but this stuff will blow you away. Gourmet pearls made with seaweed – completely vegan, gluten free and 100% Kosher. It has a tapioca/bubble tea like texture with a salty fishy taste that adds a new dimension to any dish! Especially if you are a sushi lover like myself.
Here it was presented in sushi but I found it just as acceptable to just gorge from the tub! A little pricy at £5.99 a jar but a hell of a lot cheaper and environmentally friendly than the real stuff.
Ah Pana Chocolate! We’ve seen this Melbourne based raw chocolate company spread its wings in England, and oh how they’ve flown off the shells! Introducing new flavours this year such as Rose petal, hemp seed and my absolute favourite fig and wild orange! This melt in the mouth treat can be found in almost any health food shop including wholefoods and online. It’s gluten free, vegan and soy free. Made from cold pressed cacao butter from Peru, dark agave nectar from Mexico and a hand picked cacao pod, which is full of antioxidants, from Bolivia. The difference with this chocolate I find is Pana’s intention to bring joy to everyone through luxurious chocolate – and I can tell you, my tummy is most definitely jumping for joy! This has obviously rubbed off onto his partners such as Brenton Coles, who has provided the UK with these rich treats every year – Always greeted with a smile, free chocolate and a selfie! With their new festive box hitting the shelves this Christmas let’s hope Santa passes on the mince pies and takes the skies using and delivering plant power!
Figs. What I call my version of a vegan jammy doughnut – just healthy and sin-free! After visiting countries abroad and eating these jammy bastards straight from the tree it’s pretty hard to beat that toffee like flavour however Fruit Adventures came pretty damn close with these beauties!
“Vegans just live on salads and tofu” how many times have we heard this one? Well I’m sorry to break it to you but it’s not just a lifestyle full of vegetable rainbows and fountains of coconut water (although that does sound appetising). The colour palette extends to cashew and lavender raw cakes and green matcha cupcakes!
Exhibitors with these delights included Ms Cupcake and Paradise Unbakery, both presenting cakes too perfect to eat! (Below is the raw Rum and raisin square topped with pomegranate and star fruit by Paradise Unvakery)
Frys family foods introduced a new nut roast this time around which unfortunately wasn’t up for tasting. But if it’s anything like their current products it’s one with high expectations!
Cooking is most definitely an art form in itself. It requires patience, skill and creativity, and is vegans seem to do it best! (Such artists are we!) Experimenting with new combinations to create new and exciting flavours with super plant power benefits. However a component that most companies lack is passion. Passion for food and nutrition. Having the drive to share the nutritional benefits of a plant based diet to others without having the corruption surrounding this ball of money that so many tend to orientate around.
Fatma and Stephanie from Science Kitchen convey this compassion through their enthusiasm for food and nutrition. Both being trained scientists they are able to deliver super-healthy foods for the whole family. It is clear after speaking to Fatma how much energy she has for life. She glows when she shares her experiences and food knowledge, I was so captivated!
The fruit bar industry is heaving at the moment for vegans, with so many options it’s hard to choose a favourite! Nakd bars are always a safe bet with plenty of flavours to choose from and now the new nakd nibbles you’re just surround by raw nudity! Although I did buy a hefty load of bakewell tart bars and coconut nibbles I was intrigued to find a new bar that had similar qualities but had a different edge to it. Creative Nature introduced three bars that were seriously badass. Tropical treat having a ginger kick definitely sold it for me.
The biggest range offered at one stall I found was at Life Food. Unveiling new raw organic chips, Crawnchies, in several flavours as well as protein powder, raw chocolates, lifebars, crispbreads, cookies, olives (oh my those were good) ..the list goes on!
So many beautiful and inspiring earthlings at VegFest it’s hard to give them all a mention!
I was a little disappointed with the amount of mistakes made by the organisers; letting in stalls that used cows cheese in demonstrations and stalls that promoted meat within diets. I was also faced with a goodie bag containing chocolate with milk powder, which is really disgraceful considering it’s a ‘vegan’ event! However, VegFest organisers have since apologised for these mistakes and stricter conditions are being put in place for next year. I don’t like to dwell on the negatives but it’s just something to watch out for – you can never be safe where ever you are!
So overall the food was incredible, the people were wonderful and the room was just buzzing with good vibes. Bring on Brighton next year!