Flashback two years, and veganism was just beginning to make ripples in Colchester. The summer of 2014 saw the very first Colchester Vegan Fair take place at Colchester Arts Centre, and exceeded all expectations with most stall holders selling out before the day was over.
Fast forward to summer 2016, with Colchester’s 3rd Vegan Fair about to take place and it is clear that the times are changing. We’re suddenly living in a very different vegan landscape to that of 2 years ago.
Credit for the rise of the vegan movement in Colchester must, in part, go to the opening of The Den at Twenty Three in March 2015. The Den has managed to seamlessly cross over into the mainstream whilst serving a wealth of hungry customers, from vegans, vegetarians, the v-curious, meat reducing, and omnivores alike; everyone is welcome. All the time using their brand of tasty, regular food (think burgers, paninis, cupcakes, hot chocolates, ice cream, etc.) to show just how indulgent eating vegan can be. Bland rabbit food this most certainly is not.
Whilst The Den shows that veganism doesn’t have to equal healthy; vegan eco-takeaway The Nourish Co. prove that if it’s quick and healthy you’re after, then you’re catered for too.
Stop off on your lunch break to pick up their hearty hot dish of the day, trademark mushroom and lentil ‘sausage’ rolls, ‘smoked aubergine’ BLT, or a plethora of raw, nourishing sweet treats courtesy of local business The Moral Munch.
As if two vegan cafés wasn’t enough, brand new for 2016 is café number three: Découverte. This vintage, tearoom-style eatery serving organic, home-made meals in quaint surroundings has given the vegan community of Colchester another option for when eating out, and shown the growing demand there is for plant-based food.
If you’re only in Colchester for the day, visiting one of the town’s many events throughout the year, whether that be Christmas markets, food fairs or the Colchester Free Festival, then you’ll be likely to see one of Colchester’s vegan catering companies #V Catering Co. or Organic Alex armed with a stall full of vegan treats to fill up on. Each of these local businesses hold a monthly event at The Waiting Room on one Friday of the month, so be sure to head along to support them.
Veganism in Colchester doesn’t stop at food either. The Garden of Eden Beauty parlour at Lucky Rose Tattoo Clinic on Eld Lane has a fully vegan range of beauty products. So if it is cruelty-free manicures, facials or other treatments you are looking for, then Colchester has you covered.
The award-winning lifestyle magazine Vegan Life is also based and run in Colchester by local vegans, becoming so successful nationwide, that it’s now being shipped to the US too! Plus the creators have now started up the brand new Cook Vegan magazine.
Colchester’s speedy rise to ‘vegan force-to-be-reckoned-with’ shows no sign of stopping, Battered is a new vegan ‘fish’ and chips business, further showing that eating vegan doesn’t have to mean missing out. Look out for their trailer serving vegan lard in Colchester and surrounding towns.
There seems to be something about being vegan that brings out the inner entrepreneur in people, and the demand is always increasing, meaning you can expect to see more and more vegan businesses popping up around the town, in addition to more options at other cafes and restaurants too. Plus, what a great thing it is for our town and its tourism industry, encouraging more people from far and wide to visit historic Colchester; due to the fantastic cruelty-free offering we have available.
So if you haven’t already been to check out one of these local businesses, come on down to vegan town!
- Colchester’s 3rd Vegan Fair takes place at The Waiting Room (11am-Late) this Saturday 20th August. There is no entry fee, and everyone, vegan or not, is encouraged to come along to support our local vegan businesses.
Colchester’s growing list of vegan businesses(Click to be taken to their Facebook page)