Jess writes: Last year, mum, dad, and Robert visited London VegFest, a vegan event in Olympia with loads of different vegan companies selling and giving out tasters of their products. Naturally, after reading the post that mum wrote about it and seeing the bags and bags of delicious vegan food that they brought back, I knew that I wanted to go.
Our family has a strange relationship with food. While mum, dad, and I love cheese, butter, and soya sauce, my brother Robert is allergic to dairy, soya, and eggs. This means that our house is full of vegan cookbooks, and we often have trouble trying to find places to eat when we are out on public. Therefore, VegFest is like heaven to Robert – it is the one place in London where he can eat almost everything, and there is a lot to eat!
VegFest takes part in different venues across the UK, with Scotland next to host in December this year. It is held over two floors in Olympia London, and is absolutely massive. There are companies selling things from vegan steaks to delicious chocolate, and we absolutely gorged ourselves on tasters of vegan chocolate, cupcakes, sausages, cheesecakes and puddings. Even though we eat meat and I definitely do not want to go vegan, the fact that the products didn’t contain dairy, meat, or eggs didn’t faze me – it was all delicious and a lot of things were free.
As soon as we stepped out of the lift, we were greeted with the stall from Moo Free Chocolates. Moo Free makes vegan, gluten free, wheat free, and soya free chocolates that taste exactly like milk chocolate. Many products were soya free and gluten free at VegFest. After taking a lot (and I mean a lot) of tasters, we ended up buying enough chocolate to fill up half of a paper bag – quite an impressive feat when you consider the fact that they were only intended for one person…
My favourite stall in the entire festival was Nosteagia, incredible bubble tea based in Shoreditch. I tried peach and green tea flavour and Robert had blackcurrant, and both were utterly delicious. We had lychee flavoured balls inside called “poppings”, and they explode on your tongue when you bit into them. I’m going to have to go to their stall in East London with my friends now!
Although there were loads of delicious cakes and puddings (such as a cookie from Ms Cupcake and puddings from Pudology), there was also loads of savoury food to try. We bought pizza slices from the Venice Bakery, tried delectable falafel and spicy bites from Great Food and Robert had a spring roll from Loving Hut.
We also loved the chocolate and strawberry milk from Koko, salted caramel ice cream from The Nude Spoon, pecan ice cream from Jollyum, peanut butter cups from eat chic, and rose lemonade and cherry cola from Fentimans. However, a particular highlight of the day was the different scented candles from Harper’s Bizarre Candles. We ended up buying four: Jaffa Cake, Black Vanilla, Pear Drops, and Fresh Air. Everything smelt incredible, and there were some funny names (I Love You But You Smell was a particular favourite of ours).
Aside from the scrumptious food, there were lots of other types of stalls at VegFest. There were ethically made shoes, essential oils, lots of make up, very soft bamboo pillows and some petitions to sign.
There were some demonstrations, debates, and talks to go and see, and we ended up going to a demonstration of how to make vegan sweets. However, it was really busy and noisy, and you couldn’t hear much of what she was saying. It seemed as though most people were just there to get a seat. Mum and dad say that it was much busier than last year.
Apart from the queues, I had a really great time at VegFest. We left with full stomachs and bags full of goodies, and had a really nice time. There was a lot to do, and we spent about three hours walking around. I definitely recommend visiting next year!
Tickets to VegFest are £10 for adults and £6 for concessions in advance, and £12 and £8 on the door. Kids under 16 are free. There was a long queue of people waiting outside, so we recommend getting there early. There was a section for smaller children and a place for teenagers, but we didn’t go to either of these. If you are bringing young children, be aware that it was very busy.