Saturday, 11 April 2009

S1E4: UK 2009 - Brighton Vegan Fayre!

The day had arrived! Vegan Fayre day - hurrah! We headed in early and went for a walk along the seafront. I find it amusing what the English consider a beach and beach weather. Where are the golden sands, I ask? Where is the crashing surf? I guess you make do with what you have, and not everyone can have the awesome beaches that are Australian, so very well Brighton. Enjoy your seafront. ;)

We headed over the Fayre at opening time, to find a MASSIVE line of people waiting. We had pre-ordered out tickets, so once the line started moving we were told to go to a special ticket entrance. With no one there! And then there were people there who had no concept of what they were doing. But never fear, because it takes more than that to keep a hoard of hungry vegans away from this...

The hall! The hall of products and, most importantly... FREE SAMPLES! Hurrah! I made a beeline for...

The stall of the SHEESE! In theory, I loved Sheese. I loved it because although I had never tasted it (though I had a block of Blue in my fridge I was carefully hoarding away for future use), I just knew in my heart of hearts that it would be the saviour of all my vegan cheese needs. And oh, how I was not disappointed. I know this for a fact as I tasted all of the samples many, many times. Oh, beloved Sheese. And so cheap! There is only one place to my knowledge that you can get it in Australia, and they charge through the nose for it. They put up their prices even further when they realised that people were so keen on it. Evil consumerism! Or something like that.

OK, but there was more than Sheese there. Even though it was a bit of a highlight - even non-vegan-tendency Cath who was more than a little suspicious of vegan cheese at the outset has spoken of it in hushed and reverent tones since then. But there was also Redwood (oh Cheezly, you have forever been replaced in my heart by SHEESE), Fry's, Amy's, Plamil, Montezuma's Chocolates, Rice Cream... so many more too. I know I should be giving you links to all these places, bad Susan.

Our next stop was down to the cooking demonstrations, to meet up with my lovely vegan Browncoat formerly-from-Brisbane friend Nicole. Her and my other lovely vegan Browncoat currently-from-Sydney friend Leigh have just been lights in my vegan life. It's good to have fellow vegans! But Nicole ran away to England! Alas, the cooking demonstration was not going very well, as the very expensive twice paid for induction stove they had bought for it (because you can't have gas in the hall... evil fire) refused to work. But on the plus side there was a cute vegan chef who seemed to make some eyes at Cath!

Nicole filled us in on the existence of another magical room. And so we went up yet more stairs, for this was a Fayre of many levels. And there we found the second room! And while it is true there were many things in the second room, we barely had time for them because we were so busy feasting out eyes and our bellies on this beautiful site...

Pop My Cherry had the most incredible and beautiful display of mouthwatering treats. Check out the gorgeous Brighton Vegan Fayre cupcake stand there! I enjoyed an apple cider cupcake, while Jen tucked into Tiramisu - both inspired by that tome of tomes VCTOTW. Nic's heart marched to a different beat - the beat of jam tarts. It was incredible! Choosing was a struggle, let me tell you.

We headed back down to the main hall for more sampling - hello Sheese! Nic and I may have had our photo taken in front of the Sheese fridge. Just maybe. But not too much, there were still more delights to be had!

Such as vegan trifle, topped with Soyatoo Whipped Cream from a can and vegan sprinkles. I was a bit suspicious of the cream, because any sort of dairy cream or high fat dairy item has always made me ill from a young age. Turns out when you get rid of all that icky dairy stuff, cream is fantastic! We then took another turn around the hall for more samples and more spending, before I tucked into a strawberry rice cream (sorry, no photo). And oh, I just realised I forgot to mention this fabulous catering company was there. Sadly I can't remember their name, but they had fabulous mini flans and amazing chocolate orange truffles!

There were food outlets at the Fayre, but we decided that we were all stuffed to the brim from samples and various purchased sweets, and the thing to fix it would be a brisk stroll down to the pier. So we bid adieu to the Vegan Fayre. I wish we had something like that there! The only sad thing about the Fayre was that I had intended to have a meet up with Jenni from Heathen Vegan, but alas the telephone communications systems were against us and contact could not be made. Woe! And in case Jen is wondering, I never did receive any of your messages, even when I made it back to Australia! *glare at phone companies*

Here is a photo of my vegan haul. It was a bit of a sad haul, because I was restricted by customs. Anything vaguely liquid was more or less out because I couldn't have them in my carry on (international flights only let you carry on a maximum of 1L total and nothing may be more than 100mL) and I didn't want any glass to smash in my suitcase in the hold. Even cream Sheese would class as a liquid! Thankfully, that is encased in flexible plastic. So, let's see - Sheese (Smoked Cheddar, Strong Cheddar and Chive Cream Sheese), Montezuma's orange and cinnamon chocolate truffles, various little snacky things. And my Saving The Unicorns shirt from Secret Society of Vegans. Such a Susan shirt, though if only it were pink! I am still not entirely sure that Saving The Unicorns isn't some sort of vegan code I am not away of, and that I am not giving out secret messages unwittingly when I wear it. But whatever - pretty, sparkling pony!

Our stroll down the pier would not be complete without a ride. We selected the House of Horror on the basis that it looked lame and also did not involve twirling round in a fast circle - something that should never be attempted post Vegan Fayre indulging! The ride unfortunately far exceeded the lameness it promised. It was not the funny lame we had been hoping. It was just lame lame.

Next stop was an early vegan dinner, at The George vegetarian pub! Unfortunately by this stage I was suffering severely from my earlier sample craze. Too much swapping between sweet and savoury, and I was turning an odd shade of green. I had to lie down on the bench at the pub, then take a short walk outside in the cool air, and finally indulge in a big mug of mint and nettle tea. However, my salvation was at hand.

Wedges from The George. They are half eaten in this photo because Jen had already munched down on half the bowl while I was trying to resist the urge to be quite violently ill. But once the tea had settled it down I felt well enough to nibble some potato. And that potato soaked up all the ookey making things in my stomach, and then I felt strong and hungry again. See - potato is good!

So good that I decided to have it again for my main - Bangers and Mash with Red Wine Gravy. Nom! The sausages seemed to be some sort of slightly nutmeat concoction, which I am a huge fan of. This was one of the few days of the whole trip that I couldn't actually finish it all though. I wrapped up the last sausage in some napkins to put in my pocket and take home for breakfast (no pig grease soaking through into you clothes with these babies!), and can I say it was excellent the following morning, cold with a bit of ketchup. Nom! I left a bit of the mash too. But if I had had a snaplock back on me, I totally would have taken that too! Oh, you know I would. I dreamed about them a little the following morning at breakfast, thinking how nice the would have been with the sausage. *sigh*

And there ends the magical day of the Vegan Fayre. A magical place where Sheese is freely available, and you can choose between 27 varieties of cupcakes.

Tomorrow, we leave our scungy Alfriston hotel and head off for some castling!

And just so you know, the Sheese survived the 24 hour trip in my checked in baggage just perfectly, and is now safely in my fridge awaiting its tasty fate.


  1. So much fun! You scored with all those samples! It sucks that you have to pay so much for Sheese at home. Evil consumerism! :-)

    The table with the sweet treats looks marvelous! If the table had been on wheels (and I had been there), I think I would have grabbed it and ran for the door with all the goodies!

    That trifle looks sinful! And check out all the awesome vegan goodies you got to take home with you! Score again!

    Sorry you were turning green at one point, but I'm glad you recovered and got to enjoy all that Bangers and Mash deliciousness! Potato is good! :-D

  2. Maybe one day our Vegan Expo/Cruelty Free Festival will be as big as the fayres they have in the UK!

    And you poor thing getting so sick off all that vegan yummyness, I am glad you found a cure in the form of potato!

  3. I stocked up on Sheese as well...and Redwoods....I bought sooooo many goodies and it was only the thought of hauling them all back on the train journey that stopped me from buying more (I had three big bags full as it was!!).
    And yes....I did scan the crowd shot to see if I could spot myself. So gutted we didn't get to meet up but so happy you had as amazing a day as me.