Gloucestershire vegan group celebrated the festive break with a beautiful buffet. Various dishes were created by some fantastic home cooks in our group, who drew inspiriation in food from all around the world. We had towers of sushi, stew-pots of sambar, steamed chinese dumplings, gourmet raw cuisine, satay dips, spiralling jalebis, peach tarts and decadent peppermint cheesecakes.
We had some fun with festive decorations too – specially made vegan crackers, with vegan chocolate coins, lollypops and vegan jokes. My favourite was: Q- How many vegans does it take to change a lightbulb? A- Two, one to change it, the other to check for animal ingredients.
A mouth-watering array of food, and great company made for a fabulous social afternoon on a grey wintery day. We all contributed a small amount of money for our meal, and managed to raise £182 which we chose to donate to Evesham Farm Animal Sanctuary, a charity which gives forever homes to over 550 rescued farm animals.
New year brought a whole new array of Gloucestershire Vegan Group meet-ups/events scheduled for the year ahead – you can have a look at our 2014 program here.
The first of these was a trip to Portivo Lounge in Gloucester, which we’ve been intending to visit ever since word got around that they had a separate vegan menu. Located in an historic warehouse in Gloucester Docks, Portivo Lounge has a unique, quirky interior, with lots of interesting pictures and retro/recycled furnishings, including beautiful clusters of lampshades blooming from the ceiling. Having a separate vegan menu makes life so much easier, no tiresome asking of whether this or that is suitable, and lots of choice on the mains. Between us we tried several of the tapas dishes, and the falafel burger was popular. There was only one vegan dessert, but this was sublime – a ginger chocolate torte, the base loaded with chunks of ginger, the top a dark, rich chocolate ganache. The food was tasty, (although I found the falafel burger in need of a very large squirt of hot-sauce) and fairly reasonably priced, and the atmosphere was relaxing. We ate early, as you’re unable to book tables in advance in Portivo Lounge, and by 8.00pm it was bustling with folks looking for a table. So we headed off to a vegan-friendly pub; Robert Raikes House – a Samuel Smith’s Pub where almost all of the draught beers are vegan. By contrast to Portivo Lounge, Robert Raike’s was quiet. We took over one of the cosy side rooms with a large fireplace to keep the room warm, and enjoyed some vegan stout.
As part of our 2014 schedule we are trying to have a regular meet-up at the same place and time every month. After some persuasion from the falafel-addicts in our group, we’ve decided our venue would be the Funky Falafel shop on London Road in Stroud, on the 1st Saturday of every month at 12.30pm. This recently-opened cafe has the most devine falafel wraps, complete with hummus, tahini sauce, harrisa, mango sauce, pickles and chillis. They are really superb, and jam-packed with flavour and texture from the crumbly falafels and crunchy salad. Best of all almost everything in Funky Falafel is vegan. It’s a great new venture to open up in Stroud, and we are pleased to support it. Please do join us if you’re vegan or interested in veganism, we’d love to meet you.