The Kells Lane Food Market held its monthly event yesterday (1st July) in Gateshead. I took Dinky along for a wander round the food stalls as I’d heard on the grapevine that a new business was using the market as an unofficial launch. Vegano is, as the name suggests, a vegan street food company set up by partners Russell and Natalie.
I made a beeline for their beautiful re-purposed horse box to have a chat to them about how they came up with the concept of Vegano. “Russell and I have a huge passion for animals and food. Our veganism became an organic joint decision and is for completely ethical reasons.”
“I worked in the farming industry from leaving school and had seen first hand the horrors that are bestowed upon the farmed animals. I found it very distressing. We have rescued a number of animals from slaughter, as you have probably seen from our Instagram account. My family are Italian and as you probably know, Italians are passionate about food! My Mum, Dad and Nonna are my food heroes, having come from quite a poor background, they were able to make food from very basic ingredients that were tasty and just so happened to be almost always vegetarian or vegan.”
It was clear to see how enthusiastic both Russell and Natalie are for the food they’ve produced. “Our inspiration for starting the business was to try and encourage and educate people on plant based foods which taste just as good as ‘the real thing'”. The menu featured No Bull Burgers, Pulled Porklyke – a soya version of this BBQ classic – Hot Dogs and Loaded Nachos.
I was lucky enough to try all of the options, although I couldn’t manage to finish them all and took a doggy bag home for Mr. Canny. The cheese sauce topping the Nachos is made from potatoes and carrots and tasted better than any dairy free version I’ve tried in the 18 months I’ve been flirting with veganism.
The Chilli had a meaty consistency from the soya mince that Vegano use. The Hot Dog was one of the best I’ve had, with a ‘sausage’ used that’s been imported from Germany. Clearly a lot of time and thought has been put in to the food served up.
Russell was handing out samples and some were reticent to try. It is clear once the word ‘vegan’ is used people have negative associations attached to it. The response for many who were ‘brave’ enough to give it a go was hugely positive, with one lady saying she wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. In my own experience I’ve seen a huge shift in the alternatives widely available over the years and I’ve been pleasantly surprised too by how realistic burgers are getting. You can read about the Impossible Burger – currently only available in the US – here.
Mr. Canny said their burger was his favourite on account of the sauces and pickles which accompany it, while the Pulled Porklyke has an excellent BBQ sauce that I need the recipe for. I’m looking forward to seeing Vegano out and about at more events over the summer months. Even if you aren’t vegetarian you should give them a try. Reducing the amount of meat eaten per week has a positive effect on the environment, your health and also the welfare of the animals.
I took the opportunity to also catch up with some familiar faces like Julien from La Petite Creperie and The Lily Tree Bakery, where I picked up a vegan cupcake to have with a cuppa. There were a plethora of new stallholders at the event too, with Mivesi venturing down from Alnwick and The Happy Paella Company visiting from Cramlington. I’ve been told they are working on a veggie version of their authentic paella which I can’t wait to try after sampling a delicious pan while in Spain recently.
I also caught up with Emma from Northern Juice. I was disappointed to hear that the Bridge Street pop up has closed down, but I don’t think this will be the last we’ll be seeing of the brand in the area. For the time being, at least, you’ll be able to pick up their cold pressed juices at the Quayside Market and other events over the summer months.
It was great to see Kells Lane continuing to be successful, with the event popular with locals and those from further afield. I didn’t get a chance to speak to all the traders as I had a fractious toddler who wanted to run around – and I’m especially disappointed to not try out Noshbox Pizza yet – but it means I’ll have to mark the next market in my diary ASAP.
Thanks for reading,
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