VegFest London 2016

I should probably start by saying… I’m not a vegan (despite having been to two vegan festivals in different countries in October!) I do have a few close friends/flatmates that adhere to that lifestyle and I’m quite health-conscious and sustainability-minded. But my favourite thing about the vegan community is their innovative and inventive spirit. Plenty of small business owners I met today said, “no one was meeting my needs, so I decided to make it for myself and others.” Who knew you could make blue cheese from cashew nuts? Or filling tacos using jack fruit?

Here are my top discoveries from today’s adventure:

1 . Black Seaweed Pearls (aka Vegan Beluga Caviar) from Cavia.

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2. Hazelnut & Carob Spread (tastes exactly like Nutella, but has only 3 ingredients) from Nutural World. 

3. Organic Chufa de Valencia Tiger Nuts from The Tigernut Company . What on earth is a tiger nut? That was my question as well! It’s not actually a nut, it’s a small root vegetable, grown in a field and harvested in pretty much the same way as a potato. Known in Spain as the ‘Chufa, it’s a super little tuber, nutrient dense and packed with superfood qualities.

4. Soap Nuts by Living Naturally. It’s the 100% natural hypoallergenic alternative to laundry detergent. Clothes also come out soft and fresh, so no need for scent boosters or fabric softeners!

And for the branding – I’ve added:

5. Pepo Papa Pumpkin Seed Oil. This product screams ‘OCTOBER!’ and Autumn. A Hungarian-founded company just starting to get distribution in the UK.

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Latest Shoreditch Discovery – SLATE coffee shop

This afternoon I re-visited Slate – probably one of the smallest coffee shops in East London.

The address: 96 Curtain Road, London EC2 
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The menu includes everything for a green power smoothies to salmon/avocado muffins… easy to see why I love this place! I had a flat white (which they call a flattie), but with coconut soy milk since today is one of my vegan-inspired days.
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My rating of Slate (1-5 scale):
Prices – 3 (a bit pricy – 2.80 for a latte – but absolutely delicious and the food is well priced)
Customer Service – 5 (the baristas behind the counter are absolutely lovely)
Wifi – YES
Ability to Work: 1 (there are only 8-10 small seats inside)
Charm: 4 (the decorations and graffiti on the wall provides a lovely shoreditch atmosphere)
Overall: 4 
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And my favourite thing about Slate is it’s genius business strategy with card payments. YES, there is a 5 pound card minimum. BUT, you can buy a coffee for yourself in advance to make the card minimum. So last weekend, I paid for 2 coffees… and got to drink one of them today! I think it’s a brilliant coffee shop model and the names on the wall also add to it’s cozy atmosphere.
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Some Allpress coffee and chilled time to brainstorm on Sunday? YES PLEASE.

My love of food as demonstrated by a GIF #poundcake #theimagemoves #gif #foodaddict #sweets

My love of food as demonstrated by a GIF #poundcake #toppings #itmoves #gif #foodaddict #sweets

What is it about food that invites us to photograph it with cool angles and lighting? Surveying Instagram and Pinterest demonstrates this rise of food photography by average people. Would baristas even create little foam hearts in your soy latte if there was no chance it would end up on the newsfeed of a social media site? I’m not sure if it’s for the better or worse that our society is becoming obsessed with ‘pretty hipster food’. All these pictures of delicious looking food (ex. chickpea avocado burger with blue cheese dressing) does not mean that I’m actually eating these cool foods. There might be a recipe attached, but let’s be honest? How many of those Pinterest pins turned into a Friday afternoon of cooking? My pinning of vegan food has not directly led to more vegan cupcakes in my apartment. Nevertheless, I feel more artsy and creative with my food habits …

Also, how cool are gifs? I’m a huge fan! (pst….. it’s like a little animated film of sequential images)

What’s better than the original? Actually, a lot of things!

What's better than the original? Actually, a lot of things!

1. Seedless Watermelon is better than original watermelon.
2. Lychee Juice is better than Lychee Fruit on its own.
3. Frozen Grapes are better than room-temperature grapes.
4. Dried Mango Slices are better than Ripe Mango.
5. Strawberries sprinkled with a little bit of sugar to balance the acidity.

P.S. I’m a fruit lover… can you tell?

And full disclaimer, this is just my personal taste and preference. Feel free to tell me your eating habits and preferences! There’s no reason why you have to like the original more than variations of it… even if a crunchy red apple is the best taste in the world.