|Best served chilled before positioning yourself in front of the fire!|
It's not often you are delighted to see such a queue to get into an event, but that is what greeted us on Sunday, as we arrived at the opening time of 11am for the Gloucester Vegan Christmas Market. It added to the anticipation, and what vegan is not delighted about the ever growing interest in the world of vegan? It didn't take long for us to drop our entry fee and donation for Dean Farm Trust into the buckets at the entrance and get at the vegan goodies inside. Having foregone breakfast in anticipation of the vegan food offerings inside, we started early and headed straight for Seitan's Grill. Let's just say it was worth the early morning abstinence and lived up to the catch line of 'tasty as hell'! We had hoped that starting early we would have had sufficient time (and tummy space) later on to sample more of the many food options on offer from the other food stalls, but sadly the wonderful seitan burger filled the gap more than sufficiently (seitan truly at work there?!). The queues for food later on however, made us realise we had indeed made the right decision on getting in there early.
The multiple rooms of stalls inside meanwhile were a feast for our eyes in themselves. It was difficult to know which way to turn such was the choice and variety of vegan delights. You had to fight your way in order to get a glimpse, which as frustrating as it was, is also a thing of wonder in a vegan world.
One such stall with a constant crowd of people in front of it was Cool Grapes. With the stall dominated by a display of Vegan Baileys bottles, shining almost like the gates of heaven, it was no wonder. Alan Clement, owner of Cool Grapes, gave up his career in IT to specialize in his passion for wines; more specifically organic and bio-dynamic wines (all vegetarian and vegan too). I would have liked more time to have talked to Alan, as Phil and I do like our wine, but such was the demand on their stall, it was quite a whirlwind. On returning home I took the chance to visit the Cool Grapes website and find out more about what they have to offer so do check them out if you are partial to a tipple or two of good quality vegan reds, whites, champers, sparkles, and even orange wine (read about this new fashion in the wine world on the website).
We had been fortunate enough to have also been visiting the Cool Grapes stall to claim the prize of a bottle of Prosecco, after I had entered and won the draw on the Gloucester Vegan Christmas Market Facebook page. Alan gave us a wonderful description of what to expect from this bottle of sparkly vegan wonder, and we assured him it would very much be savored over the Christmas period.
We also had a chance to sample one of the glasses of Vegan Baileys being sold on the stall. I hadn't had Baileys since before I was vegan 30 years ago. I had fond memories of it and had wondered whether I would still like it. As Phil and I shared the glass we both confirmed that indeed it was creamy nectar of naughtiness and we simply had to purchase some. We were extremely fortunate enough to be one of the lucky few who were able to purchase one of the bottles that were being sold off at the end of the day.
All in all, it was a wonderfully successful and tasty weekend away and certainly, with two bottles of Cool Grapes goodies now safely back in Cornwall with us, it will continue to be enjoyed into the Christmas break!