Get it straight

An article by Rosamund Urwin for the Evening Standard titled ‘Green is the new black: how veganism became sexy in London‘ is problematic for many reasons (for starters, stop reducing compassionate people and decisions to sexiness), but one glaring omission stands out above the rest of the article’s faults.

I feel Urwin has invisibilised the real, everyday people who have helped drag veganism into the London mainstream.

Urwin attempts to unpack the reasons behind the explosion of plant-based food options in London and comes up with what I view as the typical and shallow reasoning of ‘it’s now sexy’ and ‘ because Beyonce’. She has omitted to name some of the groundbreaking people and events that have massively contributed to the widespread acceptance of veganism in London and the UK.

These people are not pushing plant food choices as a sexualised commodity (most of the time!). They are instead working themselves to the bone to put compassion front and centre. These people are a huge part of the reason why vegansim is a force to be reckoned with in the UK.

I present to you my list of people and organisations I feel were erroneously left out of the Evening Standard article. Read more ›

Posted in Haus of FGV, London can you wait?, Vegan Tagged with: , ,

New vegan burger

Have you heard of Tunbridge Wells? Do you know where it is?

If you answered ‘no’, I suggest you get very familiar with the town’s location before Saturday rolls around as it is set to be the scene of a vegan burger launch of epic proportions.

What can I say about this impressive-looking vegan burger that isn’t already on the flyer? Not much, except I want to eat one of these More Than Meat constructions right now.

Check it out. Read more ›

Posted in I'll pay you to cook for me, Provincial towns you jog round, Vegan Tagged with: , ,

Vegan meats

I love a guest post. Not only do I get the day off (blogging is tiring), but I get to read about something fabulous I haven’t tried.

A regular reader named Malcolm reached out to me with this amazing post about a vegetarian butcher in Amsterdam. Thanks, Malcolm!

Read all about this unique business below: Read more ›

Posted in Taking the long way around, Vegan Tagged with: , ,

Eat an egg

Have you got £15 burning a hole in your pocket? Get into your nearest Hotel Chocolat for this gourmet vegan Easter egg.

Made with almond powder, this decadent dairy-free egg is accompanied by chocolate bites packed with fruit and nuts. I was tempted, but just couldn’t bring myself to part with that sort of cash for an Easter egg.

What do you think? Is that crossing a price line you would never step over?

egg vegan easterYou can see the egg via the online Hotel Chocolat shop.

If you do take the plunge and shell out for this vegan egg, please let me know how if it is fabulous. I could still be swayed!


abruzzo bottom banner

Posted in I love sugar, Vegan Tagged with: , , , ,

Vegan cooking holiday

This is probably the most thrilling, exciting and wonderful event I have organised in the history of being Fat Gay Vegan. I am beyond proud to announce Cucina Abruzzo, a week-long vegan cooking adventure in the stunning Italian countryside.

cucina abruzzo

Join vegan chef Sara Mittersteiner (Facebook and Twitter) for an entire week of exquisite plant-based cooking instruction, sumptuous communal eating and fascinating day trips through Abruzzo, one of the most beautiful regions in Italy.

Cucina Abruzzo runs between 14 and 21 June, 2015 and guests will be left wanting for nothing. The price for the week-long vacation includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation in gorgeous villa or converted barn
  • 100% vegan meals crafted by Chef Sara
  • Daily cooking classes (Monday to Friday – see below for more info)
  • Day trip to nearby Abruzzo landmarks
  • Wine sampling from local producers
  • On site swimming pool
  • Airport transfer to and from Pescara airport (Ryanair flies daily to/from Stansted) – flights not included

Our stunning accommodation is set on a 1000 tree olive grove, home to Mirabilia Organic Olive Leaf Tea. Mirabilia owners Bimbi and Spencer will be on hand, ensuring all guests have a truly unparalleled experience. They will escort our group on a tour of their olive grove and afford us a behind the scenes look at the fascinating process employed to create their organic olive leaf tea. You can follow Mirabilia on Twitter.

poolSituated on the plateau ‘Piano La Roma’ in the middle of the important archaeological site of ‘Cluviae’ between the hilltop towns of Guardiagrele and Casoli, the property has panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Being situated on the edge of an escarpment affords guests views to the south over the village of Palombaro, the lake and 12th century tower of Casoli, and on to the mountains of Roccaraso. To the east, a sea view, to the west, the majestic Maiella mountain and the Parco Nazionale, and behind the house, its own grove of olive trees. It is in a tiny hamlet of farm dwellings and barns, and the immediate area is completely agricultural and unspoilt.

This is the Italy many tourists have never experienced. Simply beautiful.

About the cooking classes:

A week in the Italian natural kitchen with Sara

Experience Italian food in its pure essence with Sara, a native Italian foodie who moved to London a few years ago to share her passion and love for the genuine comfort Italian food of her homeland.

Sara will transport you to the culinary beauty of Abruzzo where you’ll use the freshest seasonal herbs and ingredients to cook the tastiest Italian dishes. You will learn to make very simple (but mouthwatering) Italian recipes without using any animal ingredients, only what nature seasonally offers. This will include handcrafted pastas, freshly baked goods, vegetable main dishes and irresistible staples such as dips, sauces and sides to enjoy with your favourite dishes. Desserts are never missing when Sara’s wearing her apron and you’ll get your hands covered in flour between tales of her new London adventures and the funniest anecdotes from growing up in an Italian family.

About Abruzzo:

The unknown ‘green heart of Italy’ where one can still live the genuine Italian lifestyle

Abruzzo is one of the most historically fascinating areas of Italy, with much archaeological evidence dating back to pre-Roman times. Its earliest inhabitants were the Picenians, who along with the Sanitti, the Vestinians, the Marsians, Equians and Praetutions were ruthlessly overcome by the might of the Roman invaders and forced into submission in 90BC. Their hilltop settlements are still to be seen in Abruzzo’s many villages and towns, from L’Aquila and Sulmona in the Abruzzan uplands to Guardiagrele, Casoli and Roccascalegna facing the Adriatic sea over the littoral plains. The poet Ovid and Historian Sallust were both Abruzzan, as was, much later, Gabriele d’Annunzio, poet, playwright and hero of the Italian Risorgimento.

abruzzooct05_520 panoramaThe countryside is stunning in its magnificence – on the west the Apennines and the huge National Parks of the Gran Sasso, the Maiella and the Sirente Velino. Here are vast tracts of forest (oak, beech and chestnut) populated with golden eagles, chamois, lynxes, deer and wild boar. There are wolves and even bears to be found in these silent glades. Above them the mountains, almost lunar in their bare splendour. There is much here for the keen hiker or climber, with huts and refuges for overnight use. Skiing has also developed into a major sport, with over 22 resorts round Aquila in the north alone, and also Roccaraso, the southernmost resort of the Apennines, much favoured by Neapolitans and Romans alike. To the east, miles of fabulous beaches on the Adriatic, ranging from the sophistication of Pescara to the untamed Vasto peninsula, reminiscent of the wilder reaches of the North Cornish coast.

Cucina Abruzzo is set to be a vegan adventure like no other. Food, sunshine, fresh air and stunning countryside.

Be quick to secure your place.

Email sean@fgvpr.co.uk to reserve one of the following options:

Main villa

  • Room 1: reserved for your hosts Bimbi and Spencer
  • Room 2: double bed, en suite shower room, access to balcony with views to the south and mountains £1950
  • Room 3: two single antique beds, en suite shower room, direct access to massive balcony with view over olive groves £1925
  • Room 4: double four poster bed, shared (with room 5) bathroom with tub and shower, view over balcony and olive groves £1725
  • Room 5: two single beds, shared (with room 4) bathroom with tub and shower, view of mountains £1725

Adjoining barn

  • Room 6: double bed, shared (with room 7) bathroom with large shower, ground floor with swimming pool view £1725
  • Room 7: two single beds, shared (with room 6) bathroom with large shower, ground floor with swimming pool view £1725
  • Room 8: double bed, copper bath with hand held shower in bedroom, upstairs with balcony £1875

All prices are per-room for the entire week regardless of one- or two-person occupancy.

Extra notes:

  • You have the option of being collected from the airport, but we strongly recommend you hire your own vehicle from the airport to take full advantage of the stunning surroundings during your stay. The accommodation is extremely close to the breathtaking national park and glistening coastal beaches are just half an hour away. The cooking classes will be structured to allow you plenty of time to explore the countryside. A suggestion could be to team up with people in another room to share a car.
  • Of course weather is unpredictable. We encourage you to bring clothing suitable for sunshine and rain, however our experience shows we should experience mostly sunshine with temperatures in the low to mid 20s during the day.
  • The nearest airport is Pescara (40 minutes by car), but it is also possible to drive from Rome in just over two hours. Ryanair has the best prices with daily flights from the UK.
  • Once you book, we require a £150 non-refundable deposit to hold your choice of room. The remaining fee needs to be paid in full by the end of April 2015 via bank transfer. Any booking not settled by April 30, 2015 will result in cancellation and loss of deposit.

Email Sean at sean@fgvpr.co.uk if you have any questions.

Posted in Haus of FGV, Taking the long way around, Vegan Tagged with: , , ,

Still vegan?

Do you ever buy the Dairy Free Sunflower Spread from Marks and Spencer? I wrote about the awesome vegan labelling of this product a year ago, but things seem to have changed since then.

It is no longer labelled as vegan. What gives?

My partner Josh reached out to the company via Twitter to see if he could get some answers. This is what he was told: Read more ›

Posted in Supermarket Bombscare, Vegan Tagged with: , , ,

In a can

Your life just got better, UK vegans.

I was stumbling through Sainsbury’s, desperate for instant gratification, when my beady eyes spotted the word ‘vegan’ printed plainly on a can. I could suddenly and inexplicably move quickly.

Look what I picked up. Read more ›

Posted in I love sugar, Supermarket Bombscare, Vegan Tagged with: , ,

Drink beer today

Are you up early on this fine Saturday morning with no idea how you can get the most out of life?

I have the answer. Read more ›

Posted in I'm getting drunk for you, Leeds side streets, Vegan Tagged with: , , ,

Save owls

The story of a pop-up owl cafe in London’s Soho has been everywhere this past week.

More than 60 000 people have apparently registered for one of the limited spaces during the temporary venue’s week-long run and a huge number of concerned individuals have voiced their concern for the welfare of the birds involved via social media, newspaper editorials and an online petition with 5000 signatures. Even I got in on the act with a blog post.

One of the more surprising parts of this drama was the statement by the organiser that they had the support of registered charity and bird rehabilitation organisation, The Barn Owl Centre. I was not alone in being shocked that a bird protection group would give their blessing to, and agree to receive proceeds from, an event that is far from being in the best interest of owls.

Here is where the story starts to unravel.

The Twitter account for The Barn Owl Centre was inundated by countless tweets ranging from surprise to condemnation. Their response to this onslaught was at first confusing, muddled and aggressive. It didn’t make sense or clear up if they were involved or not.

Fast forward a few days and you’ll find the founder of The Barn Owl Centre featured in an interview with the Gloucester Citizen, the local paper for the area.

In the article, founder Vincent Jones states he wants nothing to do with the pop-up event and feels persecuted by social media activists. You can read the full article here.

Curiously, the Annie the Owl pop-up cafe website still lists The Barn Owl Centre as a partner and fund recipient. This goes against what Vincent stated in his newspaper interview.

I wanted to set the record straight about where the birds for the event are coming from and if the owl centre was still involved. I just ended a 45-minute phone conversation with The Barn Owl Centre founder Vincent and following is some of the information I discovered. Read more ›

Posted in Haus of FGV

Vegan night in Edinburgh

Here is some exciting news for our northern neighbours.

A classy restaurant in Edinburgh is offering a three-course vegan menu tonight and then once a month going forward. How fabulous!

Check out the menu from last month below: Read more ›

Posted in I'll pay you to cook for me, Provincial towns you jog round, Vegan Tagged with: , , , ,