Cardiff Vegetarian Festival

Last night we drifted into Cardiff for the Cardiff Vegetarian Festival. The flyer promised every stand offering Vegan options, so we went and had a nose- it was free entry after all…

The evening got off to a nice start when at the station, a random stranger came over and gave us his girlfriend’s return ticket to Cardiff as she wasn’t going with him. Bonus! That would never have happened in London, and because I spent 10 minutes eyeing the ticket suspiciously and re-reading it, I have to sadly admit that I haven’t quite shed all of that cities influence. However, onto the Festival. We got there about half past seven, half an hour after it opened, and it was packed. It was set out over two rooms, 3 stands in one with 5 and a DJ in the other. There were two outdoor stands and bands playing in the bar. I’m not going to review the music as for us it was background, and we’d gone for the food. So the first room held A Vegan stand with various leaflets on veganity, and handing out little Ritz-type crackers with various Sheeses on (Sheese being a brand of Vegan cheese- in my opinion the best one), as well as little mini-cupcakes and brownies- all were very nice. Also in this room were The Vegetarian Food Studio, who after walking away with a menu , we are definitely going to visit- especially as they are near one of the stations on the route to Cardiff. And lastly, but by no means least were Hipo Munchies, who are 100% Vegan. We weren’t going there straight away, so off to the second room.

We had a quick look at the stands, but most of them were fairly ordinary in their options- stir fries, samosas that sort of thing. Then we saw the bakery from Hungry Planet, who were selling bread and sampling it too. So, we tried their Rye, Ciabatta, Sourdough, and White- all of which are highly recommended. We bought the Sun-dried Tomato Sourdough, Chestnut Sourdough and Walnut Cob. They are even more highly recommended than the ones we sampled!. We’ll certainly be going to their shop for more breads… and to have a look at whatever else they have. We were hungry, and Cafe Atma had just what we wanted- Vegan Quiche and Chapati Wraps. Lovely, filling and full of flavour. I thought the quiche was fantastic, but Rach didn’t like it. All the better for me as I got hers too! It’s not a disparaging review from Rach- she didn’t like quiche before going vegan either! We had a quick drink, then picked up a guide to the Vegan places in South Wales.

Lastly we went to Hipo Munchies (still don’t know if I should pronounce it ‘hippo’ or ‘hypo’!) and tried their home-made Vegan chocolates. The Cardamom and Olive Oil was lovely- just like Booja Booja. Next flavour was Lavender and Chili. Me and Rach disagreed on the lavender- I couldn’t taste it through the chili, but Rach could. We did both agree that the chili was very strong. Coconut was just that-coconutty. If you like coconut you can’t go wrong, if you don’t like coconut or, like me, find coconut easy to over-use- avoid. The Peanut Butter choc had a nice crispy shell, and when you ate it, it tasted really nice and then afterwards you realised it was peanut butter. Brilliant! The last one was a bit controversial- it was nice and not-nice together. It was Cashew, Nutmeg and Praline White Chocolate. The flavour was just right. You could taste the cashew and the praline. The nutmeg just sat underneath hinting at you and all of this was interwoven with the flavour of white chocolate. My problem was that these flavours felt like they were held together in a giant ball of butter. It didn’t taste of butter, but that was the texture. It was the only thing that let it down, however, and it was still better than the coconut! I feel bad about these last comments because the guy was really nice and oviously proud of his white chocolate achievement- he told us it had taken him 4 years to perfect the recipe. However, he was also responsible for the least thought through quote of the night “the down side to raw food is the preparation!”

Definitely glad we went- we got to eat some nice food, found out about loads of places nearby to try out and take people, as well as do some shopping. I want another one now- roll on next year, and who knows, we may even stay for the bands!

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