Vegfest is one of Europe's biggest vegetarian events, with nearly 200 stalls, talks, demonstrations. It used to be only in Bristol in the UK but has come to London for the first time this year.
Whilst I was not sure what to expect from this, it wasn't quite 'it' (whatever 'it' is). This is probably because the majority of conferences and exhibitions which I go to have some form of corporate sponsorship, glossy stalls or irritating PA system blasting out messages throughout.
Vegfest was far simpler. It had a fantastic range of small and larger healthy foods to try (with various degrees of acceptance to my tastebuds).
In the main, I opted to try sweet products. Finding healthy alternatives to foods which I consider to be my weaknesses is one of my big foodie preoccupations. There was an abundance of vegan chocolate substitutes, the majority of which I found too synthetic - they may be dairy-free but healthy or clean they certainly were not.
There was one exception to this, which was Pudology. These free from desserts were literally a little taste of heaven. At the time when I tried them I did not notice, but as I tried more cake samples or free from chocolate what stuck out about these puddings was the lack of aftertaste which they left.
The current craze for coconut water is not one which I have really embraced. This is mainly because I just don't like coconut. I was therefore cynical about a coconut substitute for milk (especially as I have become such a fan of almond milk). However this coconut milk by Koko really struck a chord. It was smooth, not too sweet. The chocolate version was quite lovely too but the strawberry didn't hit the spot; it was like a watery version of Nesquick.
My mission to try every variety of Nakd Wholefood bars was also aided by this trip... with the discovery of a coffee version (i.e. HEAVEN). I also managed to introduce my friend to the Cashew Cookie version and Cocoa Orange.
My biggest disappointment was the lack of variety of food to buy to have a meal from. You could get a meat-free hotdog or burger (quorn-style) and pad thai. For me, vegetarian food is not about meat substitutes but about experimenting with vegetables. Roasting them, currying them, adding lentils and pulses. More of this would have made for a truly fabulous festival as opposed to one which was good, but could have been better.
I got our tickets via TimeOut offers - £5 each for entry... A real bargain, keep your eyes peeled for next year!