I've been wanting to visit Manchester for far too long and the Northern Vegan Festival seemed like the perfect time to hop on a mega bus and head up the M6!
Upon arrival I made a beeline for two stalls in particular. Cottage Cupcake Co and The Cake Liberation Front. I've known the ladies behind both of these ventures online for a long time and I was super excited to finally meet them in "real life" as it were!
Jenny from Cottage Cupcake Co baked all day on Friday to get everything together for her stall and it looked great.
Due to the crazy volume of cakes and sweet treats on offer at the festival I decided to pace myself. I had two rules - pick only one thing from each stall and no eating stuff I'd tried before. The second rule kept me away from the Fry's and Vegusto samples as well as the Ms Cupcake stall, but I already know that I love those things and I can get them down south!
From Cottage Cupcake Co I picked the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcake which was super delicious, I wish I'd had space for an Oreo brownie too!
I also picked up an apron from Caroline at the Cake Liberation Front pop-up stall.
It was so awesome to finally meet Caroline, we've been reading each others blogs for a long time and after meeting up at the fest' we ended up chatting and drinking tea together at V Revolution and hanging out at the Vegan Festival after party! Hopefully I'll be seeing her again at the Meat Free Monday event at the Lass O' Gowrie pub tomorrow.
Next I spotted a company I'd been looking out for for quite a while, Pudology.
I was lucky enough to get to sample both the Chocolate Pud and the as-yet-unreleased Lemon Pud. I skipped banoffee due to my hatred of anything banana! I really hope that these will pop up in Brighton sometime soon, I think they'd sell really well in either Infinity Foods or Waitrose who are currently selling their products in other parts of the country.
My eyes were soon drawn across the way again to the That Old Chestnut stall. Their cakes were beautifully laid out and they'd clearly paid attention to the visual merchandising aspect of the stall, everything was so beautifully presented that I broke my one thing only rule!
Their cakes made a change from the frosting heavy options you see everywhere else - don't get me wrong I love that cake, I make that cake, but it's nice to have a change and there's definitely a bit of a gap in the market where this kind of cake is concerned.
I picked up a slice of the Pistachio Cardamon cake for breakfast. I really enjoyed the light delicate flavours and the sugary pistachio covered glaze, it was so delicious that I went back and got them to put a piece of their Coffee & Walnut cake into the box.
I was super excited to spot this next stall. I've been following V Revolution on Instagram for a while and they're aways posting the most amazing looking stuff - stay tuned for a whole post about them coming tomorrow.
Their stall had ready made sandwiches which could be served hot or cold. Cold flavours included 'Cheese' Ploughman's made with Vegusto cheese, Spicy Jerk 'Beef' & Coleslaw, Buffalo 'Chicken' & Coleslaw and a classic T.L.T.
As well as a pulled pork creation V Revolution also had a Grilled Cheese which could be pressed either right there at the stall or at home.
Obvioulsy I chose to get it right there and then...
...and it was delightful. I love nothing more than any kind of cheese product sandwiched between toasted bread. The cheese used here is the Vegusto Melty that comes in the tube and, as the name suggests, it's melty - perfect for this kind of sandwich. I almost went back for a second!
Next I swung by the Cat & The Cream stall to grab a Sarah Kramer fundraising cupcake. Technically I broke one of my own rules again as I have tried a Cat & The Cream cupcake before but it was for a good cause!
These chocolate cherry boobie cupcakes were being sold to raise money to support Sarah whilst she closes her shop and recovers from surgery. Such a great idea and the cupcake was lovely, moist and full of real cherries.
Lastly I visited The Kitchen on Great Moor Street to join the queue for an intriguing sounding Gozleme.
This Turkish bread was sprinkled with my chosen Cheezly & Parsley mixture, spread with sunflower margarine and cooked on two different hot plates until the outside was perfectly browned.
For some odd reason my phone has decided to delete the pictures of my cooked Gozleme without me asking it to - how rude. As a lover of any kind of bread product I thoroughly enjoyed this, it was warm and melty and if I'd had room I may well have broken the rule again and gone back for another!
After the festival itself there was an after party at vegan friendly pub The Thirsty Scholar. I was impressed with the vegan labelling of the beer taps, quality of the live entertainment, how busy the event was and the fact that everyone was super friendly. I was there on my own for a bit before anyone I knew arrived and because Manchester is full of lovely friendly people I made new friends in no time at all.
I'm so glad that I finally made the trip up north, there's a really great sense of community in the vegan scene in Manchester and if you haven't already you should get up here asap!