Yesterday I decided to pop up to London to have a look around the VDelicious and Allergy and Free From shows at London Olympia. As I was in California when Veg Fest London was on last year it was the first time I'd ever visited Olympia and I was amazed at how huge it was, I'm even more excited about this year's London Veg Fest now! I was also excited about how easy it was to get there from Brighton, you just need to change to the overground at Clapham Junction and you're there in 10 minutes. Olympia is literally right outside the station and you don't have to deal with the tube at all which on a busy Saturday in summer is definitely a bonus!
After swinging by to say hi to my buddies at the Ms Cupcake stall and checking out Mell's amazing new hat my first stop was Ruby's of London. I'd heard a lot about their delicious sweet treats but I hadn't managed to make it over to Greenwich Market to try them.
Everything looked super delicious but I'm trying to save for tattoos and travel right now (as always right?!) so I just picked one thing, a Chocolate Rainbow Sprinkle doughnut and brought it home to share with Nick. It was super tasty, I haven't had a baked doughnut quite like this one since Mighty O in Seattle and that's some high praise!
I was lucky enough to have the stall next to this next company when I was working on my Operation Icing stall at Veg Fest Brighton. Smooze are a godsend when you're working hard or exploring a hot venue! Their super refreshing coconut based frut ices are my fave' despite having never been the biggest coconut fan. Their Coconut and Pink Guava flavour are the best in my opinion and I snapped up a box of 10 for £4.
Whilst we're on the subject of coconut I was amazed by this next company, as well as being dubious about coconut I hate pretty much all yoghurt! I know, ridiculous right but I was drawn in by The Coconut Collaborative's packaging and I'm always on the look out for a yoghurt that I'll love so I braved my fear and went in for a sample.
I was totally blown away! To say that I loved it would be an understatement. The natural yoghurt itself is unsweetened making it the perfect vessel for fruit toppings at breakfast or alongside savoury foods and they have fruity options for those looking for a more sugary fix. You can find The Coconut Collaborative in selected Waitrose stores and at Itsu, we're getting a Brighton branch soon peep's!
The Allergy & Free From Show section of the show is a minefield for vegans, for example I really wanted to sample Tesco's dairy free cheeses but they were all on bread or accompanied by breadsticks containing egg! Luckily there are many hidden gems including Amy's Kitchen. I knew they'd hook me up and they didn't disappoint, I sampled their new breakfast sandwich which'll be hitting stores in the not too distant future.
They'll be sold in individual packs and are gluten free as well as vegan.
I also tried a sample of their new cashew cream noodle ready meal and I cannot wait to get my hands on a box when they come out, yum!!
The pink carpeted VDelicious area wasn't just all about the food and free samples though there were also stalls from charities and I stumbled across Better Living Books who I was excited to see had Terry's latest book, Salad Samurai, in stock already.
I'll definitely be checking these guys out next time a cookbook I need to get my paws on is being released especially if they can make their website a little more user friendly.
I was super excited to spot this next stall, Dee's Wholefoods are a new vegan company selling quinoa pots, vegetable pots and, the things I was most focussed on, sausages and burgers.
Dee was great and we chatted about when these products would be hitting the shelves in Brighton. (Hint, it's now. Go to Waitrose!) and she let me take these products for review purposes. Obviously I haven't had a chance to try them yet but I see a fry up with Infinity Foods bread, baked beans, Dee's traditional sausages and mushrooms coming up in the not too distant future.
Another company generous enough to give me some free products to try were Ten Acre Crisps who furnished me with a huge mixed bag of crisps.
Ten Acre are the people behind the vegan cheese and onion crisps I'm sure you've all been hearing about as well as my favourite flavour so far, sweet and sour. Ten Acre are hoping to get into Infinity Foods soon and I totally want to help them make that happen! I think Brighton vegans will go crazy for cheese and onion crisps and I'll be reviewing the other flavours soon so stay tuned!
My next spot was the green koala covered beacon that is the Goody Good Stuff Stall, I wanted to see what the deal was with their flavours all becoming vegan and it's totally happening! The koala gummy bears should be appearing in stores now. Sour's my thang when it comes to gummies though so I stocked up on this huge party bag for £5.
It's choc full of mini portion sized bags of sour cherries, cola bottles, summer peaches and gummy bears. This'll last me a while!
I was getting hot and thirsty by this point so I had a little sit down in the coolest place I could find, by the freezers, and it was a good thing I did because I spotted a guy from Mozzarisella emerging from a giant fridge with his arms full of dairy free cheese. Mozzarisela weren't listed in the official show guide because they were sharing a stand with Venice Bakery, purveyors of gluten, egg and dairy free pizza bases. I followed him home as it were and grabbed myself a pizza the action for five pounds.
Now I'm no gluten free grrl, if I had to pick one carb to be my bff for lyfe it would most probably be bread, delicious gluten full bread, but I'll eat anything if it has vegan cheese and this was a decent pizza. Mozzarisella's wheat, soy and palm oil free cheeses melt beautifully and whilst they're not my favourite vegan cheese to eat on a cracker (holler at Vegusto) it's downright delicious on pizza. A fiver was a total bargain for a whole pizza too and aside from samples and Vegusto's cheese sandwiches there weren't a tonne of vegan savoury options at the show. I enjoyed eating this sitting on the floor with some lovely Vegan Society volunteers, such a fun lunch!
I was excited to see London restaurant Itadaki Zen tucked away near the back of VDelicious' pink carpeted area. I've only visited once and it was years ago but I'm dying to go back.
They had bento boxes, sushi and huge deep fried spring rolls which I tried a sample of and it was delicious. A great reminder to get over to that part of London sooner rather than later.
I had a little time left before the Vegan Society's tea party so I had one more wander around the VDelicious area and I was so glad I did because the first time around I'd missed Sweet Virtues, a new company making superfood truffles. Now usually this wouldn't be my thing, I often find mentions of super foods a little off putting, but there were samples and I was totally won over. I'm a big fan of fancy chocolates, Booja Booja and Montezuma's make some of my current favourites, and Sweet Virtues easily slides into the top spot with them.
Chia Seeds and Lime was my favourite flavour and a bought a little box of two home with me, I wish I could have justified buying a bigger bag or a mix & match of flavours but I'm still rich in birthday chocolate and at £2.20 for two these are on the pricier side.
The Vegan Society tea party was lovely but I was too excited chatting to new friends and sampling some delicious bakewell tart that I didn't snap a single decent photograph! I'm sure there are some on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages though so you can check out the fun there if you'd like to.
On my way out of the door I was distracted by pesto and couldn't resist having a quick peek at the Free From Italy stand.
They had an amazing deal going on, three for £3 and I picked up two pestos and a veggie filled marinara. Such a bargain!
Between shopping, products I'd picked up to review, and the Vegan Society's tea party goody bag I came home with one of the most ridiculous show hauls ever! Obviously that means it's time for a giveaway so that you too can share in the joy.
If you enter you'll win everything in the picture above;
A bumper pack of Goody Good Stuff's Cola Breeze sweets
A bar of Cornish Sea Salt Chocolate by Seed & Bean
A Sweet Freedom Choc Shot
A bar of Lovechock's 100% raw Pineapple and Inca Berry chocolate
Green People SPF 15 sun lotion