Tuesday, 24 March 2009
The Brighton Vegan Fayre - Saturday 21st March 2009
Last Saturday I went to the Brighton Vegan Fayre and had a fantastic day out. Tickets were £8 on the door and £6 in advance, not too pricey but still a lot more than the £2 the London Vegan Festival charges.
We arrived in Brighton at around 8.30am and decided to find somewhere for breakfast. It’s amazing how many veggie restaurants Brighton has to offer and I only wish we could have found an all veg place to eat. We ended up in Puccino’s though and had a really good vegan fry up. I chose mushrooms, hash browns tomatoes and toast with a vegan hot chocolate. Unfortunately I ate everything before I could remember to take a photo, but here are our empty plates...
Empty Breakfast Plates
The doors opened at 11am and the queue moved pretty quickly. I was surprised to see how spacious the Brighton Centre was! At the London Festival it can be almost impossible to move, but here there was plenty of room to get around. I enjoyed most of the stalls, with the exception of two. One of them was the first stall I went to, where some guy was showing off a blender or something. Anyway, on his table there was a sign of a McDonalds McFlurry. I asked him why he had it up and he said because McDonalds uses the blender. Fair enough, but it was very inappropriate to have a McDonalds sign up at a Vegan Fayre and really unnecessary too. He also acted like I was being a bit fussy by pointing it out and complained that I wasn’t the first person to say it. I don’t think he understood that for a lot of people the Vegan Fayres and Festivals are so much fun because you get to escape from the real world for a while and be in your own little vegan bubble...and my little vegan bubble doesn’t want to know about McDonalds!
The other stall that bothered me was a stall that had lots of marinades on it. I can’t remember the name but it wasn’t the Jethro stall which I bought a lovely ginger, soy and molasses marinade from. Anyway, my friend asked if the woman had any water because she had tasters of spicy sauces out, and she replied snottily saying ‘Well that won’t help anyway, what you really need is cow’s milk’...yeah, I’m not sure she really knew where she was... and my friend didn’t appreciate being told that her plant based milks don’t work as well.
There were a crazy amount of hemp stalls that I felt could have been more interesting stuff, there’s only so much hemp vegans want! I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a vegan store stall as I wanted to get some seitan mix and other random food bits I can't usually find. I loved the Secret Society of Vegans stall, the Sheese stall and talking to people about all the different campaigns going on. I managed to get a signed copy of From Dusk Till Dawn by Keith Mann and a signed copy of Vegan a go-go by Sarah Kramer. The Vegan Society were extremely helpful and the last ten minutes of their talk that I caught was very interesting.
Unfortunately Keith Mann was unable to make it to give a talk, but in the end the film ‘Behind the Mask’ was put on and we managed to watch a good 45 minutes of that. The other entertainment looked good but we didn’t manage to catch any of it. I would have liked some more animal rights based talks as there didn’t seem to be as many as London has.
Me and my friend decided to go to the Skyline Restaurant for lunch, we decided that after all the free chocolate and Sheese that we needed a more healthy option and everything else was burgers and hot dogs. Healthy came at a price as the meal was £15 for two courses. It turned out to be well worth it in the end though! The service was awful; we ended up waiting over 10 minutes for a menu and were asked our order on five separate occasions. The staff really didn’t seem to know what was going on, but they were generally helpful and polite. I decided to order a vegan steak and my friend chose fish and chips. Although the service was bad our meal turned up extremely quickly...and it was delicious! The steak didn’t taste like steak at all, but like roast chicken. It was lovely and crispy and reminded me of the bits of skin on chicken that I used to love as a kid. I would have been more suspicious of its vegan-ness if it had tasted like the meat it was supposed to be!
Vegan Peppered Steak
I tried a bit of my friends fish and that was scarily like the real thing, amazing. I am not a fan of fake meats at all, but I loved these. We both had the sorbet for afters and that was as equally as delicious as the main course, I definitely felt that it was money well spent. It’s a shame it wasn’t a little cheaper, so many people left after seeing the prices and hardly anyone ate there at all.
Vegan Fish n Chips
We looked around the stalls one last time before leaving to spend some time at Brighton Pier. Overall I thought it was a great festival, I had a really good day out. Although it was a far more spacious building, I felt that the London Vegan Festival has more to offer and at a cheaper entrance price. The highlights of the day were definitely the free food (which was ace), The Skyline Restaurant, the campaigns and the signed books at the stalls. I’m just looking forward to the next Vegan Festival now, bring on September!