Vegfest London 2013: I came, I saw…

Five hours, £110, and many many samples and snacks later, I am no longer a VegFest UK virgin!

What a good day it has been. I was both excited and nervous – excited for obvious reasons, but also nervous that the crowds would be too big, that the choice would be too varied, and that with too limited a budget to stretch across everything I would want, I would end up with nothing. But I have come away with a huge haul of good deals, interesting and useful goodies, and plenty of smiles.

You’ve probably noticed I’m a bit of a blow-by-blow kind of writer, but as I truly took advantage of all the available samples and managed to get a bunch of photos, I’ll try to keep it brief and keep to the highlights. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a round-up of the goodies we came home with, with a bit more detail on those products.

Health(y) foods

Vegfest: fruitIt took me a while to get my camera out – we had already weaved our way around the entire ground floor before this pretty array of exotic fruit stirred me to get my camera out. Not sure what this stall was, but they also had some nice-looking cakes, and samples of some sort of delicious chocolate-chip cookie (the soft and moist kind).

Vegfest: GovindasOne of the many stalls offering some form of raw fruit-and-nut-and-superfood snacks. Chia and baobab and coconut is all I remember.

Vegfest: Active Greens barAnother selection of mushed fruit-nut-greens-“superfood” bar from Active Greens, which I don’t believe I had seen around before.

I had, however, seen the Amazing Grass Green Superfood powders but never tried them. Tried a couple of samples, but they were mixed with apple juice and all I could taste was apple juice. I guess, at least, the greens taste can clearly be effectively masked.Vegfest: Amazing Grass

Vegfest: Arbonne

Tried some Arbonne Essentials chocolate-flavoured protein – the only protein shake I could see at the show besides Good Hemp, which I thought was strange.

It was tasty and creamy, but I have an extra sample to try at home, as I have found that often protein shakes tasted at expos (usually mixed with some form of non-dairy milk) taste much better than they do when you mix them at home in a shaker with water. Once tested properly, I’ll update my Protein and Recovery Shakes page and the Vegan Protein Leader Board.

DSCN1877Lots of semi-crunchy raw stuff from Rawlicious. Tasty, but not the best I’ve tasted of their kind. I’ve seen these around a lot and always toyed with the idea of buying them – now I know it’s not quite my kinda thing. Those Double Pepper kale chips in the front were my favourite thing on their whole stall.

Vegfest: Rawlicious

Vegfest: InspiralFinally got to try Inspiral kale chips (and crackers, below) – still not as good as Happy Kale chips.DSCN1893Starting to get a big raw-crackered out…

Baked goods

Vegfest: JP TurnerThe JP Turner Food Service display literally drew gasps. People actually stopped in their tracks as they turned the corner to lay eyes on this. Fingers were pointed and cameras were flashed.Vegfest: JP TurnerAnd just a few hours later…Vegfest: JP TurnerAs Ben put it; “Wow… vegans really do like cake!”

We didn’t get any of the above baked goods, but I did finally get a little treat from Four Girls and a Cupcake, after missing out at V Delicious.

Vegfest: Four Girls and a CupcakeVegfest: Four Girls and a Cupcake

I got a pear frangipane tart, which was lovely. For some absurd reason, I still didn’t buy a madeleine.

Vegfest: Vegan Tuck Box

Super excited about Vegan Tuck Box! I recently found out about Vegan Cuts in the USA, and searched for a UK equivalent – so either this is brand new or I am terrible at using search engines (it’s OK, I can take it). I haven’t signed up as it’s not a sensible place to put my money right now, and I have the UK Vegan Food Swap, but I’m so excited it exists.

Of course, there was no way we could come and not get something from Ms Cupcake.Vegfest: Ms Cupcake Vegfest: Ms Cupcake

This peach and raspberry cupcake was so perfectly flavoured and textured, but nearly killed us both (I had to help Ben out after I had eaten my entire Four Girls and a Cupcake tart).Vagfest: Cakes n TreatsImpressive cakes from Cakes n Treats, whom I’d never heard of. I need to catch up!

Savoury snacks

I was so happy to see The Mighty Fork killing it all day with ridiculous queues for hours – the queue only died down when they had sold out! So no hot dogs for me or Ben, as the Vegusto hot dog stand was equally busy.

Vegfest: Maki Matcha

So I had a yummy crispy tofu sushi wrap from Maki Matcha instead – I’ll catch up on my hot dogs at Venn St Market I’m sure!

Vegfest: Maki Matcha

Vegfest: Maki Matcha
Vegfest: Maki MatchaBen had spicy noodles with soy chunks from Burppot. He got only a tiny amount of food for a fiver, and although it was tasty it really wasn’t anything special. Maki Matcha wins the lunchtime (or random 3.30pm more-substantial-snack-than-samples meal) rounds.Vegfest: Fry'sI tasted some Fry’s products, which I am not much familiar with, but most of their samples had disappeared by the time I got there. Sampled a bunch of Wheaty products too – their chorizo-style snacks and sausages are all my favourites. Ben bought some Vegusto wieners so we’ll be sampling those too.

Surprised to see a new non-seitan non-soy product from Italy, Muscolo di Grano, which I’d never heard of:Vegfest: Muscolo di Grano

Drinks

I finally tried Koko coconut-based non-dairy milks – I was really shocked to find that they don’t taste of coconut! I wasn’t a big fan of the plain flavour, and the chocolate was a bit odd, but the strawberry was really creamy and tasted of childhood. Well, that’s what it tasted like to me.

I also finally got to try the Omega 3 Flax Seed milk which I have seen pop up in health food stores, but which I can’t seem to find online – unfortunately it wasn’t very tasty, being quite watery and tasting distinctly of flax seed. I’ll continue adding my flax seed to solid food and smoothies to get my Omegas I think!

Vegfest: Orzo coffeeI loved the Orzo Coffee stall!

Sweet things

After a bit of loitering around the stand, I finally plucked up the courage to introduce myself to the guys (well, girl and guy/lady and gent) at Coconom since you may remember me using their gorgeous golden sugar to make healthy treats. It was so good to meet them in person, and to see how much they radiate warmth and belief in their values (they would probably appreciate me adding that they were not thrilled about me taking a photo at the end of the day, so should you think they look anything less than lovely please cut them a little slack).Vegfest: CoconomI wasn’t planning on buying anything, but when I tasted their new ginger-spiced version I found myself reaching for my wallet. I am so excited about cooking with it! Steve uses it in his coffee… I’m thinking hot chocolate.

Had to pay a visit to Ombar, who appear to have had a discreet makeover:

Vegfest: OmbarMeanwhile, Ben was stocking up on Goody Good Stuff sweets.

Although my ridiculous memory is full of stalls to mention, people to shout-out to, and vague musings to expand upon, I will keep it confined within the limits of my camera’s memory – but come back tomorrow to see what we bought, and hear about some other highlights!