On Sunday, my friend and I headed to our second veggie event of the year – V Delicious show in Kensington Olympia.
The “vegetarian, vegan and meat reducer food and living show” was held together with the Allergy & Free-From show, making it the UK’s largest specialist food show.
After nearly entering the Antiques Roadshow by mistake, we found the right festival hall and began wandering the busy aisles. Naturally, we started with the vegetarian side of the hall. All the favourites were there – The Vegetarian Society, The Vegan Society, Ms Cupcake, Goody Good Stuff, Alpro, Redwood… (I had so many delicious samples!)
But in amongst these guys were some new (to me) brands, which is what I find most exciting about these events. We sampled sausages from the Secret Sausages van and they were so tasty that we both ended up taking home a bag! They had a great range of flavours (Cumberland, Chilli & Coriander, Rosemary & Garlic to name a few) but instead of selling them in their regular packs, they were sold as any 8 for £3.50. A pretty good deal! I got a mix of all but the cheese flavour.
We had some for dinner that night (apparently three sausages = 1 of your 5 a day) but the only bad thing about having a mix of flavours in unmarked packaging is we’re not 100% sure which ones were our favourites!
I almost fell over myself in excitement when I came across the nákd stand. No, it’s wasn’t a bunch of naked people, it was the stand for the raw food snack bars that are one of my favourite food items in the world.
One of my first ever posts on this blog was a review of the bars. Back then, I’d only tried a few flavours and even now, most supermarkets only stock two to three varieties but at the show, they had their whole range! Heaven!
I tried a few I hadn’t had before such as the Caffe Mocha, which I thought I may not like due to the chocolate flavour but it was amazing! nákd bars aren’t exactly cheap in-store (usually around 75p each) but they had deals going at the stand: 2 bars for £1 or 18 bars for £8! Needless to say, I went big. And when I told the guy that I really liked the new ‘Crunch’ range, he threw in one of each Crunch flavour for me! Legend.
The Vegan Society stall was selling some great sign-up packs and had a table of drool-worthy vegan cookbooks at great prices! I was drawn to the adorable cover of Betty Goes Vegan but in the end, I couldn’t go past The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen by Carolyn Scott-Hamilton and nabbed it for just £10! As a fellow traveller, I love the idea of a cookbook focused around food from the different countries that she’s visited.
The book design and photography are gorgeous and I can’t wait to start cooking from this one. As an added bonus, I got free vegan oat biscuits and an awesome hot pink tote bag with my purchase!
My friend bought some pies from Vegetarian bakery Clive’s Pies and some sweet chilli sauce from Sweet Mandarin and we both bought some tasty Goody Good Stuff sweets.
We did also look around the Allergy and Free-From section which had stalls about everything allergy-related from Asthma and hay fever to Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free.
There was a great kids’ section here (that I didn’t take a photo of because it’s probably illegal) and a ‘Learning Zone’ with free seminars.
It was a bit odd, though to go from stalls that were 100% vegetarian or vegan to those selling (gluten-free) pork sausages or advising you which of their dips contained meat. I much preferred walking around the exclusively vegan Vegfest where I could eat anything and everything!
The event also featured seminars and demos. We did watch a little of the Sainsbury’s Free-From demo but we’d come in half-way through and didn’t know what they were cooking (some sort of pie or tart) so lost interest pretty quickly. Sorry, Sainsbury’s!
One major disappointment with the show was that there were no actual food stalls where you could buy a meal. The food vendors were selling packaged goods and some were offering cooked samples but it wasn’t like Vegfest where there was a whole room dedicated selling amazing fresh food, plus other food vendors dotted throughout the halls!
Neither of us had eaten before we went, wanting to save room for a tasty food show lunch but alas, it was not to be. I suspect it may have been something to do with venue licensing seeing as there are actual restaurants on site (Pizza Express and the like) that are part of the exhibition centre, though it was still a bit of a let-down.
We also found the show incredibly cramped and crowded at times. I think they could have done with a bigger venue, or having just the one show under that roof. Some aisles were near impossible to get down and let’s just say that in general, Londoners are not as friendly as Brightonites…
Aside from than those slight grievances, I really enjoyed the show and there were some great vendors both tried-and-tested and new to me. I came away pretty happy with my haul, just a little hungry!