I did something very very exciting last weekend: I packed my bags and off I went to Glasgow, to spend all my hard-earned money on vegan cheese and chocolates at VegFest Scotland.
Actually, I did another very exciting thing: I made this vegan Pumpkin Spiced French Toast for brunch, but more on that later.
We’ve been waiting about a year for VegFest to come to Scotland, and finally the weekend happened. I went up to Glasgow on Sunday 6 (St Nicholas Day! Sampling all the chocolate to honour that tradition, eh), as I sadly couldn’t make it on the Saturday. I came prepared with a wee plan of talks I wanted to attend and stalls I wanted to visit. First up on my list: The Vegan Kind stall.
You guys know I’m a big fan of this Glasgow-born and based company. Karris has done a fabulous job starting this business from the ground up, with the intention of making vegan brands more accessible to the general public and simultaneously supporting animal charities. I can’t think of a better business model than that. The reason I made their stall my first pit stop is because I knew they were fast selling out of their chocolate-filled Christmas selection box. It was filled (emphasis on was because I’ve nearly eaten the whole thing already) with chocolate bars from Vego, iChoc, Almighty Foods and Sarelle, all quality vegan chocolates that taste like milk chocolate – only £8!
Next I hurried to Patrik Baboumian‘s talk on veganism and weightlifting. Having recently started lifting weights myself, I’m interested in finding out more about the proper plant-based nutrition to help my performance, so I was hoping to get some insights from Germany’s Strongest Man, but mostly I was charmed by his cheerful, endearing personality. He’s just adorable! His story is one of compassion and determination; he went vegan for the animals, and to his surprise found that his new diet was not only helping the world but also his performance. He got me thinking about how plant power can enhance my performance at the gym, and I’m considering buying his book to find out more now.
The talk ended and I was free to roam and sample. I spent at least twenty minutes by the Almighty Foods stand, sampling the wonderful results of their superfood chocolate alchemy (THAT SPROUTED CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT FUJ, THO)(and the coffee chocolate bar!!) and emptying the contents of my wallet into their till. Tyne Chease was another must-have on my list. I missed these guys at the Edinburgh Vegan Festival in August but this time, I got my wish: a pretty little wheel of 100% organic smokey paprika “cheese”. It’s so moreish, but I have to make it last considering the price!
I then wandered around, wondering what to spend the meager remains of my budget on. I debated between all the takeaway food stalls but ended up going for an old favourite, Henderson’s of Edinburgh (loyal to the core, what can I say), who served a mean Buddha Box and mince pies. I sipped on my Pink Russian cold-pressed raw drink from Glasgow-based (but hopefully coming soon to Edinburgh!) Juice Warrior, from whom I also bought a tote bag to carry around my purchases.
I have to say I was disappointed by one thing: there was no recycling bin to throw away my cardboard food box in once I was done with my lunch. Bit of a bummer, SECC.
I concluded the afternoon with Fat Gay Vegan’s talk for bloggers. I can’t say that I learned anything new there (I have been blogging for five years now) but I’d never met him in person, and just kind of wanted to bask in his positive presence. He’s a funny guy, and has some strong opinions that he stands by in a civil, sort of typically British way. Can’t help but like him for that.
There was so much more to see and do and buy, but I just didn’t have the time. I’m surprised I didn’t get whiplashing from turning my head left and right all day, trying to decide which stall to visit next. From clothing to artisan chocolates to handmade cleaning products to kitchen utensil demos to freshly made food – there was just. so. much.
I’m really excited about next year – hopefully it’ll be even bigger and better! It was definitely worth a trip to Glasgow to see my favourite vegan brands and discover new ones. I was there mostly for the food (I’m not even going to pretend otherwise) but there were also lots of talks and workshops, and extensive list of which you’ll find on the website. It’s best to show up with an idea of what you want to see so you don’t get overwhelmed. Or just turn up and go with the flow. Whatever floats your eco-friendly bamboo-made boat, I guess.
My final recommendation: though you’ll eat plenty at VegFest, make sure you get in a hearty breakfast like this vegan Pumpkin Spiced French Toast.
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Love and cookies,