Northern Vegan Festival Review

Last weekend, I went to the Northern Vegan festival. I’d never been to any vegetarian or vegan specific event before, so was pretty excited. Manchester is pretty good for vegan food if you know where to go, but this was something else. My sister came up for the weekend, and we spent the night before drinking in Albert’s Schloss (apparently the sweet potato fries are vegan – and I recommend the Elephant gin there, which is not only delicious and served with a strawberry, but a portion of their profits go to African elephants charities. Anyway, I digress).

The event was bursting at the seams with hungry vegans, and food to feed them. Everything from ice cream to donner kebabs, hot dogs, cheesecake. I was full for hours after feeling a TAKE MY MONEY level of urgency and making it rain on everyone I met within the first ten minutes.  Despite being super busy, everyone was lovely and eager to chat. It was really inspiring and exciting to see the sheer volume of people turn up – veganism is truly on the rise! Whether it’s curiosity, plant based diet or hardcore vegan, there was more than enough to keep you busy – we spent a good three hours there and could have spent longer if we were less hungover!

Here’s a round up of how I spoiled my dinner that night:

Temple of Seitan

The day of the festival we were both pretty hungover and desperate for some food. We weren’t disappointed. The first thing I tried was vegan mac n cheese with bacon bits from Temple of Seitan, who not only have a cool name, but make great food. Take this in:

IMG_20160423_134640
Temple of Seitan’s vegan mac n cheese

Temple of Seitan are usually based in London, and I believe only launched this year. I will definitely be looking for them again!

Wanderlust Cafe

Pretty much as soon as I’d swallowed the last spoonful of mac n cheese I was ready for something sweet. And there was so much to choose from – I tried to be scientific about it, what do I miss, what’s hard to get hold of in the “real world”, what would I be crap at baking myself? Our next destination ended up being just metres away as I couldn’t resist the pull of sweet things. Formally known as Pasuptai cafe, now known as Wanderlust Cafe, they were serving savoury food as well as sweet.

I bought two options – the raw vegan and pecan brownie and lemon and coconut cake slice. Wow. Both were really goo-ey and creamy. My eyes were definitely bigger than my belly though, it took me about an hour to eat both of them. I have a special place in my heart for anything pecan and caramelly and this really hit the spot. I’m normally a bit put off by raw things – yes they have their place in the world, but when I want to indulge, I want to indulge. These did not let me down though! Did not feel like a healthy option.

These guys are actually launching a crowdfunding campaign to open premises in Cheshire, check out the event details here.

Here is an awkward picture of me desperate to start eating, and a close up shot of that pecan goodness.

Nature’s Kitchen

The next thing that caught our eye was an incredible wedding cake. And then all the goodies that sat next to it. This was Nature’s Kitchen from Shrewsbury. I managed to find room in my handbag if not my stomach and took home a caramel sea salt square and a peanut butter flapjack for the hub. As before, the caramel sea salt square was deliciously squishy (after carrying it round the hot hall I had to reset it in the fridge for a bit to resolidify the coconut oil in it -mmm).

Blondes of Cottingham

At this point I was honestly stuffed, but I have to give an honourable mention to Blondes of Cottingham. I think they probably had the best looking stall and if I had a spare inch of space in me or my handbag I would have devoured most of the stand. I’ve since been on their Facebook page and seen their vegan milkshakes and oh my god. They’re based in Hull and now I need to go there. Apparently the cafe is dog friendly too.

 

Health and Wellbeing

Besides the food, there were cosmetics and bodycare stalls and animal welfare stalls including Viva! who support the whole event. I tried out a new face moisturiser – will do another health and beauty update soon. There were also wellbeing stands such as LVC Holistics doing massages and selling essential oils, and yoga sessions from the dreamy Loveday yoga. Although I didn’t participate on the day, I can definitely recommend both of these to give your body a well deserved treat.

 

The only slight negative of the event would be the queues. The whole event is run and organised by just two people, with any profits going to animal charities. When an event is a labour of love like this, it’s obviously not going to be a slick corporate event, and that’s what happened. Queues were really long and there was a lot of confusion as to where you queued to buy a ticket, where you queued to enter once you had your ticket, and generally which entrances were available for use. There was a lot of misinformation and confused people and at one point the queues were crazy. But in many ways it’s a positive that there are so many vegans! Check out this video from Veopolis of the queues:

A video posted by Veopolis (@veopolis) on Apr 23, 2016 at 5:22am PDT

 

However, I would still definitely go again, without hesitation.

The next event takes place in October, and there are rumours of looking for a bigger venue. Whatever happens, if you’re interested in vegan food, give it a go!

Were you at the event? What did you try?

Love, Kayley x

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