Bear and I visited our first ever vegan fayre last weekend- the Official Norwich Vegans Summer Fayre 2019 at The Forum. Spoiler alert- we absolutely loved it! I wish we could go to a vegan fayre every week. More than fifty stalls, each one full of tempting products, food and treats. From amazing vegan bakers, to apparel, dog chews, vegan beer, candles, beauty products- you name it – they had it!
Set against the beautiful St Peter Mancroft was a collection of vegan food vans… including offerings from; One Planet Pizza, Bandido, Namaste and many more. The choice was overwhelming and I was a little sad when I realised we could only pick one. Note to self- next time you visit a vegan fayre – don’t eat for a couple of days!
We decided to try something not usually available in Norwich – The Green Grill a company from London.
The Green Grill
We tried their deep fried crispy chk’n chunks with fries. We couldn’t agree on a dip so got two- a garlicky vegan mayo and a cayenne buffalo dip. I don’t usually like vegan food trying to imitate or mimic meat, but these chk’n chunks fell just on the right side of that line for me. They were so crispy and the flavour packed a punch. Completely non greasy, and maintained the consistency of soya over ‘trying too hard’ to be like meat- they were filling and totally delicious.
The Green Grill also have a great choice of burgers and hot dogs. It might be lucky they are based in London and not Norwich, to be honest!
‘’We love junk food. We live by junk food. We believe in making junk food attractive and fun whilst being good for our bodies, the planet and the animals. In December 2017, The Green Grill was born with the intent of making accessible, sensational vegan street food where health and taste collide.
We believe in #brandingbunsnotanimals and that eating kindly can be seriously delicious. Our distinctive coloured buns use only 100% natural ingredients, our products are totally plant powered, crammed with serious goodness and we keep a committed promise to incredible flavours.
The boys started their journey into the vegan lifestyle a few years back; Joel, a seasoned hospitality consultant, worked for well-known high-end steak house and found he was forced to re-evaluate not only the food he ate, but also the food he worked with.
Robbie, a semi-professional footballer, ran a successful meat food preparation business, but after being reminded of how precious life is, he went about educating himself and committed to not profiting from the suffering of animals. He gave away his share in the company and dedicated himself to sharing the benefits of a plant-based diet.’’
I am yet to find a vegan cheese that really works for me, they are all just… OK. Some are better than others, but I haven’t yet tried a cheese alternative that tastes unique and delicious in its own right. Until, that is… I tried Absurd cheese.
They had a range of ‘cheeses’ to try at the fayre:
Onion & Chive
The consistency reminded me of a soft cheese and the flavour was beautiful. The tasters were put on crackers, but I couldn’t help standing in front of their stall, imagining all the different ways you could eat and cook with it. In sauces, jacket potatoes, pizza, pasta or simply on toast. We decided to try the original so we could experiment at home with it.
Absurd Nutrition are a relatively new local company and can be found on Facebook- where you can also order the cheese for delivery. This cheese has to be tasted to really appreciate just how good it is- finding a decent cheese alternative has been driving me a little nuts, so I am thrilled to discover Absurd and can’t wait to get cooking with it.
Vegan Sweet Tooth London
The most eye catching stall at the fayre belonged to Vegan Sweet Tooth London. Their cakes were so impressive, they came armed to the max with sweet treats and savoury bakes too! I really wanted to try it all, but we settled on a brownie with a little shortbread in the shape of a cow on top! We had it the day after the fayre and it was chocolatey and juicy enough to just eat on its own- no ice cream required!
Chef Giancarlo Roncato is the genius behind these amazing creations and his passion is really inspiring. He delivers amazing food without any sacrifice on flavour or look. There was a steady crowd around his stall all day, so I really hope this isn’t the last we see of him in Norwich!
Another vendor from further afield, The Norwegian Baker- not quite as far as you may think… but based in Colchester. It is so hard to choose a favourite from the fayre, but The Norwegian Baker is really up there for me. He had a range of sweet and savoury buns and they all looked so amazing. I must have tasted every bun on offer, but we bought the Olive Bun and the sweet – aptly named Sunshine Bun. The Olive Bun, gloriously green- full of basil, olives and vegan cheese. The Sunshine Bun, had a centre of vanilla cream and was topped with desiccated coconut. I feel a trip to Colchester is on the cards, just so I can eat more! At the next vegan fayre in Norwich – look out for this wonderful baker, and buy one of each! I know I had serious bun regret the day after the fayre!
SOAP at No.29
Stall 29, Norwich Market
The fayre wasn’t just about food- there were an impressive amount of stalls educating people about veganism, selling eco-friendly- vegan championing apparel, and of course lots of vegan beauty stalls too. A little treat and discovery for me was a local company, with a stall on Norwich Market! SOAP at No. 29 had a great range of beautiful smelling soaps, shampoo bars, natural deodorant and other vegan beauty treats; like bamboo toothbrushes, natural loofahs and authentic Aleppo soap. The prices were really good and I was so happy they were so close- right under my nose at the market. I decided to try just one of their soaps and went with the lemongrass scent…. Always a winner and already impressing me- lots of lovely bubbles, smells gorgeous and leaves my skin super soft!
Needless to say, out first ever vegan fayre was a total success. I think as first timers we did OK. I would definitely go hungry before the next one, and buy a whole lot more…. Food regret …. wouldn’t wish it on anyone!
Which just leaves me here, counting down the days until the next one ….