VegFest 2018 | My Top 15 Favourite Vegan Brands
Wow. What a day!!
I went to VegFest this year on the Saturday and I don’t think I could have fitted any more in than I somehow managed to. I ate a lot of vegan food (I mean when do I not), spoke to many incredible people, and discovered vegan brands that I’d never heard of before.
One thing that really stood out to me at VegFest this year was the increase in vegan cheese brands in comparison to last year. Vegan cheese is insanely similar to dairy cheese now, and we can get our hands on every style from cheddar, mozzarella, camembert, ricotta and many more. A few of my favourite vegan cheese brands are featured in the list below so be sure to check them out.
A huge highlight of the day was meeting Rebecca (some of you may know her as The Zesty Lime) for the first time! It was quite the scene…. I heard a cheerful voice behind me at the New Roots stand, saying a very excited hello to the founders behind the table of testers. I turned around to check who’s voice it was that I recognised and sure enough it was Rebecca! I added to the burst of happiness and excitement with something along the lines of “oh my gosh!! Rebecca!! Ahhh I’m Ally!!!”. Everyone probably wondered what on earth had happened. Bumping into Rebecca also meant that I then met Zoe and Mia (Vegan Imp) for the first time too, as well as Becca (Verite Vegan), Bekah (Bites by Bekah) and Andre. Everyone was so friendly, so welcoming and so easy to get along with. And as if it couldn’t get any better, I also met up with Romy whilst I was there, who was doing a cooking demo with Oumph!, and I bumped into Ferdinand (Vegainsfood/Vegainstrength) too! This was my first time meeting a blogger from abroad who I’ve only ever known online, and he was so cheerful and welcoming.
I also had the best time doing an Instagram Story takeover with One Planet Pizza - these guys are a family-run business and, in my opinion, do the best vegan pizza hands down. The dough is full of flavour, the sauce is perfect, the cheese melts, they have four varieties of pizza available and yesterday they trialed a potential fifth: the meat feast pizza. My thoughts? Holy freakin’ wow! I was actually a little skeptical after trying a slice because I wasn’t sure if it was vegan or not, haha. It featured Bute Island’s ‘Sheese’ and Love Seitan’s ‘chicken’ which is just a match made in heaven when added to their pizza and served with some Follow Your Heart mayo too.
And that’s only a tiny snippet of the story when it comes to the food I had on Saturday. To save this blog post from being crazily long, I’ve condensed everything I tried into a list of my top 15 favourite brands that I think you should check out and try for yourself.
One Planet Pizza
I’ve already written a bit about these guys above, but they make what is my favourite vegan pizza out there. They were also the UK’s first frozen vegan pizza which is amazing, and won the award at VegFest this year for Best Vegan Ready Meal! This team is full of talent, bursting with happiness and has mastered the art of making vegan pizza that makes you doubt whether or not it is actually vegan. Check them out on Instagram here.
This was my favourite vegan cheese brand. I tried every single one of their vegan cheeses and went home with two whole ones (thank you to the team for giving them to me for free!). I particularly loved how many different types of cheese they had and the different combinations of flavours. Their cheeses are made in exactly the same way that dairy cheese is made, but they use cashew milk instead of dairy milk. That’s the only difference, and yet every cheese tastes very similar to dairy cheese… if not the same in all honesty! You have to check these super humans out - you can find them on Instagram here. P.S. I wasn’t the only one who loved them, their stand was crazily busy with people wanting to try every cheese they had, and then go in for a sneaky second helping.
When I walk into a room full of smiling faces and brands that I recognise or know well, it feels like coming home. Sambazon is one brand that always gives me that feeling. Not only are the people behind it seriously welcoming, cheerful and chatty, but Sambazon also have great brand values and sell the best açai! Most brands sell açai as a powder that has of course been processed, but Sambazon make sure to keep the taste and full nutrient value of the acai berries by pressing them just after they’ve been picked, and freezing the mixture. This is then how it’s sold, and can easily be used to make the most delicious açai bowls. You can find Sambazon on Instagram here.
I first tried a burger from Arancini Brothers at work about half a year ago, when they had a pop-up van just outside the office. It, was, amazing. BEYOND amazing. I think it was a mixture of the texture, flavour and jam-packed-full-ness of the burger that made it the best vegan burger I’ve ever had. They also make risotto balls which is pretty cool! You can find Arancini Brothers on Instagram here.
Follow Your Heart
I have a story to tell you, which will hopefully make you laugh. This is also how I made friends with Sebastian from Follow Your Heart yesterday, after sharing the story with him! So. A few months ago it occurred to me that I’d never bought vegan mayo. I never used to be much of a mayo-eater anyway, but thought it was about time I gave some vegan mayo a try. I had the usual problem: where on earth do I start? Which brand of vegan mayo is the best? I resorted to asking all of you on Instagram, because who better to ask than lots of vegan foodies! I asked you on my Instagram story “what is the best vegan mayo brand?” to which you all replied “follow your heart!”. I was both confused and frustrated for a full two days…. like, don’t tell me to follow my freakin’ heart guys, I want brand names! I need some actual advice here!! I can’t just walk into my health foods store and trust that my heart will find the right mayo. Ugh. Aaaaaand then it clicked… “oh, haha. Follow Your Heart is a brand…”. Of course I then gave their mayo a try and I haven’t stopped buying from them since. I love it! They do a few different flavours of mayo which is awesome, and you can find them on Instagram here.
Black Arts Vegan
Black Arts Vegan makes soy-based vegan cheeses (as opposed to cashew which many other brands base their cheeses on). Their cheeses are handmade which I absolutely love, their ‘moxarella’ melts (really well too!) and The Aphrodite Mediterranean Ricotta which I tried was seriously good, especially because of the mint in it. If you’re searching for a vegan cheese that melts, Black Arts Vegan is the one for you! You can find them over on Instagram here.
BeFries are actually a Belgian Fries Restaurant in Brighton, but sell their own range of vegan mayo and sauces. This is what they were at VegFest for so I gave their Basil Mayo a try - I loved it so much, I wish that I’d come home with some but unfortunately I was already laden down with a million things so I’ll be buying some online. They also have a garlic mayo and a black truffle mayo, which I’ve heard are amazing too! When it comes to sauces, they have their own smoked chilli ketchup, smokey BBQ and samurai which all sound insanely good. Next time I’m down in Brighton this is the first place I’ll be heading to, without a doubt. You can find BeFries on Instagram here.
These guys are always so full of energy and happiness - I think the yellow branding adds to it! They are always so welcoming and easy to talk to. They make everything from ordinary coconut oil to turmeric coconut oil, coconut cream, coconut honey, coconut milk, coconut jam (one of my favourite things), desiccated coconut and more! Whether you’d use their products for hair and skin care or for food, they should be your go-to for all things coconut. You can find them on Instagram here.
Something a little different to food now - Generation Zero is a new, online zero-waste store. They’ve been running for two months and are brilliant for anyone looking for eco-friendly products like hair oil, shaving cream and razors, tooth brushes, and so much more beyond that. I’m thinking of getting a few things over the next week myself! You can find them on Instagram here.
I was so happy to see the Ananda Foods stand when I was working my way through the VegFest halls. Anandas make vegan marshmallows in cube form, bar form, and wagon wheel form! An absolute dream that tastes incredible too. This brand actually has a special place in my heart for a more personal reason; just over two years ago, the super human who is now my boyfriend, Jordan, took me on our first date, which was in Brighton where he took me to a plant-based restaurant and then to the beach where we sat and had a barbecue, and toasted marshmallows. Jordan isn’t and has never been vegan - he’s as far away from being vegan as you can get. So the fact that he took me to a plant-based restaurant was amazing enough, let alone that he then took a box of vegan marshmallows out of his bag for me to toast on the barbecue! These were of course Anandas marshmallows, and I haven’t forgotten them since. You can find Ananda Foods on Instagram here.
Alchemy (Organic Super Blends)
I love superfood mixes that look good and taste amazing, but love them even more so when the person behind their creation is a nutritional therapist and knows their stuff! Karen Newby, the super woman behind Alchemy, has a BSc in Nutritional Medicine and fully believes that food can be medicinal - something that I definitely agree with too. Alchemy has four different blends at the moment, each specifically designed for a different use. There is the Morning Elixir (full of vitamins), Energy Elixir (for an energy boost and to help with stress), Beauty Elixir (for radiance and full of antioxidants) and Sport Elixir (for muscle repair). There is something for everyone! You can find Alchemy on Instagram here.
If you love unicorns and cakes and brownies, then you’ll love Baking Bad. This is a fun brand that’s full of colour and flavour, and they’re perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth. They were at VegFest last year too when I had one of their brownies, and I seem to remember I took a few extras home with me they were so good! You can find them on Instagram here.
I’d had some pizza for lunch, which meant that it was time to follow up with something sweet! I wanted to try something from a brand that was new to me, so I found Norah’s Brownies. I couldn’t resist the table filled with what looked like different dreamy varieties of donuts… but when I reached their stall I realised that they were actually bronuts (brownie donuts)! I asked which one was their most loved, but unfortunately they’d sold out of it (hazelnut). So I went for their toffee and apple bronut instead, and it did not disappoint! The texture really is a cross between brownie and donut. It was a little bit fluffy and round with a small hole in the centre like a donut, but everything else about it was like a fudgy brownie. Yum?! It had the perfect amount of sweetness to it and I’d recommend that you try one if you ever come across Norah’s Brownies. You can find them on Instagram here.
Vegbred is a vegan bread company that makes their bread out of sweet potato! I tried a piece of their bread and it is so delicious and quite different to ordinary bread. I love the fact that it’s full of nutrients and of course that it’s plant-based too. You can find them and their sweet potato bread on Instagram here.
I actually started my day at VegFest with some Kinda Co. cheese! I tried their nacho cheese dip and ohmygosh, it is incredible. This is the best vegan cheese dip I’ve ever tried. I had heard of Kinda Co. before but this was my first time trying their cheese so I’m super happy that I finally have and that it was as amazing as I’ve been told by others. I know where I’ll be buying my cheese dips from in future! You can find Kinda Co. on Instagram here.
Make sure to give each of those brands a try and follow them on their socials for updates. They’re the ones I’ll be remembering from this year’s VegFest and are seriously paving the way in the vegan food industry. It truly amazes me to see and experience just how quickly vegan food is developing when it comes to things like vegan cheese, pizza, ‘meat’, and sweet treats. It’s all just so. damn. delicious.!
Were you at VegFest this year? Who were your favourite brands? Let me know in the comments below or over on Instagram. I hope to see even more of you there next year!
Sending love and light,