Another year, another Vegan Christmas!
Last year, I attended the Vegan Christmas Market in Leeds and it was absolutely fantastic. I did intend to re-attend this year but I was unfortunately poorly on the day. So, I did a bit of research and found the next nearest vegan Christmas market. And that was in… Lincoln! Held in the County Assembly Rooms.
First things first. What hot meal did I buy? It did take a lot of umming and ahhing because there was so much fantastic choice! From pizza to olive breads to falafel kebabs to meatball sandwiches to Indian… I spent a good while circling the room trying to decide. Eventually, I stopped at the No Baloney UK stall. Sausage and mash – but not as you know it! The dog bite wraps were marinated veggie sausages wrapped in bread and grilled, and the mash was a bubble and squeak made from sweet potato, broccoli and more. It was one of those times where I couldn’t stop audibly moaning with every bite.
Next stop – vegan cheese! I don’t eat vegan cheese too often but it definitely features in my dinners from time to time. I generally tend to use Sainsbury’s or Tesco’s free-from cheeses because that’s the vegan cheese accessible to me and I love the taste and texture. Sheese was featured at Lincoln market though with lots of samples to try, and it was my first time trying this brand. I went straight for the “smoked cheddar” as smoked cheese was definitely one of my favourites back in the day. I was very pleasantly surprised – Sheese has a much less offensive taste than the Sainsbury’s/Tesco cheeses, so if the strength of those puts you off… definitely go for Sheese. I bought a pack of Smoked Cheddar within 5 seconds of putting the sample in my mouth!
A definite highlight of the festival was the sight of these vegan cupcakes by Filthy Rich! There were so many different flavours to choose from, from white chocolate and raspberry to salted caramel! There’s something so special about cupcakes, especially since they are presented so beautifully. If I need cupcakes catered for an event any time soon, I’ll definitely be getting in touch with Filthy Rich! I wish stuff like this was available in coffee shops and cafes.
More naughty treats on offer came from Vegan Junk (Nottingham). Sausage rolls, donuts and brownies… I didn’t know where to look! I bought a sausage roll to eat later on and it was very delicious. At £2 as well, I don’t think that was bad at all. I’ve been kicking myself ever since for not buying a donut or brownie as well, though. Look at those “cream egg” brownies! And those smores donuts! Yum yum YUM.
Something that I think confuses people about vegan festivals are the non-edible items. What could be vegan about jewellery? Well, for instance, these beautiful necklaces by Amillia Designs are made in harmony with nature. For instance, the shells are imitation – not real! It would not be considered vegan to take and use real shells, perhaps, because they are part of the eco system of the beach and are often used by sea critters for shelter. I also love the unicorn-horn esque necklaces! So beautiful.
Herbs and spices were available too, thanks to Clean and Natural, as well as several beauty products and fermented coconut oil! I was interested as to why this coconut oil was fermented and how it was different from ordinary coconut oil and was kindly explained to how, normally, the farmers will cut down the coconuts and use them as and when they see fit, whereas this coconut oil comes from coconuts allowed to fall freely and so the scent and flavour is much more intense. And, as I found out for myself, that much is true!
These brownie-style bars were actually too good to be true. Made by (Je Suis) Vegetalien, these bars were £2.50 or 2 for £4. Vegetalien stuff is both gluten-free and sugar-free, if that’s of interest to anybody. And they really are delicious products. I sampled the salted caramel slabs and was extremely impressed. The kind of thing I need in my life, I would love another opportunity to buy some of these treats!
Something interesting that I’ve never come across before is the concept of seed butters. I’ve had nut butters before, obviously (we love you peanut butter) but I’d never seen it done with seeds so I was really intrigued by the Seed Folke stall. There were 3 different types… sesame cacao, vibrant spice, and goldenseed meets goldenberry. I think these would make a really nice gift for people with nut allergies since they can’t have nut spreads. These seed butters would be great on toast, rice cakes, pancakes, anything!
Deb’s Pantry was next and boy oh boy was there a lot of choice here! Bakewell slices (my personal favourite), carrot cake, banoffee, sticky toffee, and more more more. The item that caught my eye here, though, was the lemon curd! Growing up, lemon curd sandwiches were a favourite of mine, and I also like cooking faux meats in lemon curd to create a Chinese-style dish. So, when I found out that lemon curd contained eggs, I was equal parts disappointed and disgusted. So, yes, finding lemon curd at Deb’s Pantry was a treat indeed! I bought a pot for £5.50 and will be using it for all sorts. I’m planning on hosting a vegan afternoon tea party at some point in the near future, so lemon curd sandwiches will definitely be on the menu!
I saw on Facebook prior to the event that these cards would be on sale at the fair and I was looking out for them as I walked around. The business is called Plant Based Cards, and they are designed by Daniel, and they are so funny and cute. I bought 3 – they were only 3 for £3(!!!) – and I chose the Christmas designs. I’m still deciding who I love enough to gift my special vegan Christmas cards…
Shea Me was another beauty stall at the event and I was able to try a sample of the shea butter on my hands. It was so soft and nourishing! The brand is dedicated to ethically sourced, organic, and pure ingredients that are then 100% hand made into the final product. And of course – it is also 100% vegan!
Now, unfortunately, the Pie Parlour and Bakery is not a vegan business as they do sell meat (obviously they did not bring meat to this event). However, the company does specialise in dietary requirements like veganism – as well as gluten intolerance – and so their heart is in the right place for sure! The lady I spoke to on the stall was also super nice and informative. They had so many different pies to choose from, I was especially tempted by a potato and spinach one, and their 5 layer cake needs no further comment.
Wear Your Voice clothing was of course present at the event, and I particularly love these products. I have 2 or 3 Wear Your Voice t-shirts myself and I think t-shirt activism is a really great way to put the word out there and get people thinking. The designs are so beautiful as well and of course the cotton is ethically sourced.
My favourite stall of the day was this one: Recycled Vegan. Everything here was made by recycled materials, largely the inner tubes of bicycle tyres! How cool is that?! I wish that I had had more spending money on the day because these would make absolutely beautiful gifts. It blows my mind to discover some of the many ingenious ways in which people think to better our planet!
More foody pics, cause that’s what we all came for! As I listed earlier, here are some of the other hot foods that were available on the day… I was extremely tempted by the moussaka, but I do make a pretty mean moussaka myself.
And finally, some photos of beautiful Lincoln.
It was definitely worth the day out and I really enjoyed myself. I do wish it had been slightly bigger with a little more variety in treats and goods to buy. Maybe that’s because I’m used to the massive one in Leeds. I also think it’s a shame there weren’t more Christmassy themed things, since it is supposed to be a Christmas market and not just a market. I did enjoy it for what it was, but with tree decoration stalls and advent calendars and stockings and nut roasts and candy canes and Christmas jumpers and mince pies and Christmas music, it would have been perfect.
I also especially loved the Magic Ball Man as I could not work out his tricks and it was entirely mesmerising to watch! I also got to catch some of Jas Kalli‘s performance – which was absolutely stunning. Finally, it’s fantastic to know that the event helped 5 different animal causes: Pudz Animal Sanctuary, Rens Rescue, Le Moulin Microsanctuary, Lincoln Animal Rights and the Alternative Animal Sanctuary.
Thank you so much to my parents for driving me there and back on the day – it means a lot! The next vegan festival in Lincoln will be on April 7th 2018 at The Drill Hall.