Isn’t it funny about vegan festivals, there isn’t one for ages and then three come along at once. Yesterday (7th May 2016) was the first of three vegan festivals in the north east region this Summer and I was really excited to get along and see what the fuss was all about.
Newcastle Vegan Festival was held at the Assembly Rooms and was ran by Vegan Festival UK. It was a daytime festival and was open between 10.30am-4.30pm. I had classes in the morning so me and Andy headed down for about 2pm.
When we arrived I was surprised at how busy it was, everywhere seemed full of people browsing and sitting on the floor eating and chatting. A friend who I bumped into said that she’d been there all day and at one point it was completely heaving and the queues for the food had only just started to die down.
We dove straight in and started scanning the area for the food we wanted to eat. The choice was great, no dry falafel and hummous here, all different types of food and all vegan, pure heaven.
We had one sweep of the stalls and made a beeline for a curry and samosa stall and bought a plate of samosa chaana.
If this picture doesn’t look very appetising that’s because I was so keen to gobble mine up that I totally forgot to take a picture and this is the display model that had been out all day.
It was very nice, but I have to say that I have probably spoilt myself for samosas as we have so many beautiful ones in the shops around Newcastle. My heart dreams of the ones from the Brighton Grove Foodstores, and just the day before the festival I had bought one from The Grocery on Chillingham Road(the man behind the counter assured me they were vegan). I had meandered slowly home from my Friday morning yoga class pulling peas out of the still warm pie, the batter crunchy on the outside and the filling soft and spicy on the inside. A samosa to me conjours up images of warm summer days in the park with my friends, or a treat lunch grabbed on the way somewhere fun. I have a low tolerance for a bad samosa and this one at the festival was just ok. Too much potato and a pastry that was too soggy for my taste. However the salad and curry it was served with redeemed the dish and I enjoyed sitting on a sofa in the corner of the festival people watching and plotting my next dish.
Next up we had a Seitan BBQ skewer from a stall which really did steal the show. It was amazing. Just the look of the food was enough to blow your mind.
Seitan doner kebab bagels, cheesecakes and rice paper bacon donuts were just some of the things on offer at this stall. I don’t know how they kept it stocked all day as the products were literally flying off the table.
This is what the BBQ skewer looked like.
And this is how happy I looked to be eating it
It tasted just as good as it looked, the texture was exactly like meat and it was seasoned to perfection. I know that some vegans don’t like meat substitutes that are like the real thing but I didn’t give up meat because I don’t like the flavour, and when I did eat meat I was a bit of a fiend for bbq so I was thrilled to find this! I’m even working on a recipe to make it at home.
We then had a cheesecake from the same stall. (Bad form I know but they looked SO GOOD!)
To be perfectly honest Andy got this for himself and I stole ‘a bite’. It was just like the real thing, and the portion was insane. Top marks!
After we filled our bellies we had another look around, lamenting that we were now too full to try all the other stalls. Here are some pics of other things on offer.
We stayed for about two hours, sampling more food and meandering through the stalls. We even discovered a club called Vegan Runners who we think we might join!
It was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon, bumping into friends and eating lots of food, and it was well worth the very modest entry fee of £2.
I can certainly see what all the fuss is about now!