Scottish Vegan Festival 2016

Last Saturday I went along to the Scottish Vegan Festival with the lovely Nicole who blogs over at Ginger Kitchen. I've been to a few vegan events before - including the monthly Big Vegan Fest at The Flying Duck and the Edinburgh Vegan Festival earlier this summer - but I was really excited about the Scottish Vegan Festival, especially because it was held in the huge Edinburgh Corn Exchange venue and was organised by Farplace Animal Rescue.





With so many exhibitors at the event, I won't list them all, but personal highlights included:
Tables heaved with chocolate, baking, 'cheese', sauces, bath bombs, skin care, tote bags, dog treats, smoothies, ice cream, artificial meats, hoodies and cider; charities, including Animals Asia, Cat's Protection and League Against Cruel Sports raised awareness, sold branded merchandise and took donations; and local restaurants cooked up lunch, including donor kebabs, sourdough toasties, gourmet hot dogs, Mexican burgers and falafel wraps. 

We spent most of the day wandering between tables, speaking to exhibitors, tasting samples and 'umming and ahing' over what to buy. We actually started by visiting the Go Vegan Scotland stand - I promise that wasn't only because they had the elusive new vegan cheese range from Sainsbury's to try! I haven't been able to track down any of the cheeses - or #VeganGary, if you've been following the social media drama - in any of my local Sainsbury's, so I was really excited to try a few samples. I particuarly liked the soft cheese, which was delicious spread on a cracker and tasted exactly like dairy soft cheese - I can't wait to buy a tub when hopefully a Glasgow Sainsbury's stocks it soon.





As well as more exhibitors than you can shake a Vego Bar at, the programme was crammed full of speakers, demonstrations, workshops and films, including Cowspiracy, Vegucated and Live and Let Live

After a tasty lunch of a doner kebab from Hendersons - my very first kebab ever! - we popped into the Pacari Chocolate chocolate tasting workshop. Juan from Pacari Chocolate spoke passionately about who they are and how their business model is unique: while the overwhelming majority of chocolate is made in Europe and America, using beans bought from elsewhere, which means most of the value is added in developed countries and farmers in developing countries receive almost none of the profits, Pacari is unique as the first 'bean to bar' chocolate company in Ecuador. This means that, as well as farming the beans, Pacari's staff in Ecuador are also responsible for every additional step until the chocolate bars are shipped - giving people the opportunity to do other jobs, generating skills and income for the country. This is only scratching the surface of what Pacari do to help families in Ecuador - I absolutely recommend reading up about this groundbreaking company (as well as buying a few of their creamy and sweet dark chocolate bars!). 

After a few hours of trying to cram everything in, we left full and happy, with our bags straining with goodies. I bought two Considerit Chocolate salted caramel doughnuts (forget vegan doughnuts, these are the best doughnuts I've ever had), a slice of apple and cinnamon bundt cake and a lavender and sea salt chocolate tart from All About Patisserie, a jar of sweet chilli jam from The Spice Witch, a jar of medium chilli sauce from MaRobert's, an Esmeraldas dark chocolate bar from Pacari Chocolate and a couple of charity badges from Farplace Animal Rescue. I honestly would have bought more if I could have squeezed it all into my bag!

If you want to go to the Scottish Vegan Festival next time, they've just announced that they're coming to Edinburgh twice in 2017. After a fantastic day out on Saturday, I know I'll be there next year - and I'll be bringing an extra bag!

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