North East Vegan Festival, Stadium of Light
Mr. Canny was interested in attending NEVFEST this weekend, a celebration of all things vegan held at the Stadium of Light and organised by Farplace Animal Rescue. We were looking forward to being further enlightened on the array of vegan products the North East (and further afield) had to offer. By the time we arrived we really didn’t have time to attend any of the talks or cookery demonstrations, so got stuck in straight away with sampling food and talking to stallholders.
One of the first tables we visited was that of Mamma Mia’s, an Italian restaurant situated in Newcastle’s Pudding Chare. Not strictly catering for just vegan diners, the owners do have a commitment to sourcing great quality wines and produce for their vegetarian and vegan diners. They even have a specific menu which features dishes that would even be suitable for those with lactose intolerance. Having presumed eating Italian food out and about could be difficult we were very encouraged during our conversations with the chef and owner, a mother and son team. Jnr picked up a brownie sample, and when he was told it included cherries he put it down in disgust. We finally managed to convince him to try it, and he loved it so much I had to buy some to take home. The cherry, I think, was more for texture than taste. I’m looking forward to trying out their risottos, made with soy milk, and Sticky Toffee Pudding. They also serve steak, so you needn’t worry that omnivorous friends wouldn’t be catered for.
Our appetites were really whetted by this point, and visited the Fallain Food Company for some vegan lasagne. It was so good we purchased some to take away for lunches later in the week. Packed with veggies, I certainly didn’t miss the meat of the regular version.
The star of the show seemed to be the hot dogs *everyone* seemed to be eating, which were served up by the volunteers of Farplace Animal Rescue. £6 for 2 was good value for money, so the boys decided to get one each. They were eaten so quickly I wasn’t even offered a taste. Cheeky! The adjacent stall featured the most scrumptious looking selection of pastries I’ve seen, which I was surprised could be vegan. At £5 for 3 I couldn’t resist, and I can report back that the Chocolate Swirl was delicious. These were also being sold with the proceeds going to the animal rescue charity, but I’m hoping to find out these are on sale somewhere local as they were really good. Products like this make me think veganism is easy, then I remember how much I love cheese!
Speaking of which, Tyne Chease was many exhibitors with vegan cheese on sale. I’m going to have to be very honest and say it wasn’t for me, but Mr. Canny is keen on their Smoked Paprika variety.
It was good to catch up with the lovely ladies from The Bohemian in Newcastle, a cafe/restaurant I have featured twice on the blog in as many weeks (see here for a mention of their delicious vegan cakes and here for a full post about the evening menu when we visited). I’m looking forward to giving their ‘Cheeseburger’ a try very soon! There were lots of other companies attending, such as Koko, Consider It, and Wheatberry. Mr. Canny bought some Samuel Smith’s from The Pipstop, an organic ale brewed in North Yorkshire. It’s one of his absolute favourites, so he was relieved to learn it was vegan so he could still enjoy a tipple on occasion. Here’s some more pictures from the day.
Special mention goes to Grumpy Panda for their amazing mushroom burger. Apparently they do a sandwich called the Beefball Sub, which sounds like my Subway Meatball Marinara may have found a suitable vegetarian replacement. I would love to see these guys at more pop-up events as I think even the omnivores would approve.
We had a lovely afternoon wandering round the stalls, reading up on some of the information provided, and trying the samples. It was also super busy, which was great to see. There was a craft fair upstairs and some music in the bar area, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to enjoy this. The £4 entry (for me and Mr. Canny, Jnr was free) was well worth it.
Thanks for reading,