• Brighton Vegfest 2016

    After years of hard work and anticipation, we were finally ready to take to the road and launch our tofu press to the world. So what better place to start than at our favourite food fair in UK’s vegan capital, Brighton Vegfest?

    Sunny, bright and cold, it had the makings of the perfect out-of-season break; walks along the seafront, chipping around the lanes and eating our body weight in vegan food. I also badly needed to visit Vegetarian Shoes as I’ve been wearing the same pair of their ‘Uggs’ for 3 Winters now. (note: that’s a good quality boot).

    But none of that was on the agenda. I didn’t even get to walk along the beach. This trip we were going to Brighton in a van filled with tofu presses and home-made tofu products; quiches, ‘sausage’ rolls and pasties. The organisers of Vegfest were helpful and efficient throughout the run up and on the day, but we really had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Were we dressed right? Will the other stall holders talk to us? Did we remember the tablecloth? Why doesn’t an adult turn up and tell us what to do?

    We got there, early. There was some minor nervous squabbling when we got stuck in the service lift but we managed to hold it together and get set up. We were ready to meet the 10 thousand people waiting patiently outside with 2 clear hours’ to spare. Lots of time for nervous anticipation.

    Was anyone even going to stop and say ‘hi’? What would they be like? Would they like our food? In the end, it felt like everyone stopped to say hi and all of them were nice to us. Every single one. From the moment the doors opened we were inundated with friendly, interested people who had lots of questions about tofu. Mel of Toxicvegan fame and my awesome kid sister helped us out thank goodness as we couldn’t have done it without them.


    The Joy of demonstrating

    The other, sympathetic, stall holders made us feel like part of a community. We were offered discounted puddings, free coconut water and friendly advice. And on the Sunday, the Hemp people next door kept me going with a constant supply of free hemp tea.

    Amongst the many inspiration people we met were Chantal from Vegan Lifestyle Association – a vegan directory with vegan ideas and contacts for people wanting to live a healthier life and Ashley from The Vegan Apprentice – a new vegan blog and website with links, articles and reviews. Both are doing a great job supporting vegans all over the country.

    We encountered a whole range of attitudes towards tofu, from people who admitted to buying it, not really knowing what to do with it and throwing it away to those who had used it for years but never pressed it. There were those who were suspicious after a bad experience but mostly there were those who loved tofu but pressed it under chopping boards and bowls of fruit. We amassed countless tales of sodden books and wasteful quantities of kitchen roll for our #howdoyoupressyours competition.

    All in all, there was so much positivity about the press and encouraging reactions from people keen to gain some confidence in what to do with their tofu when they’d pressed it. And the free tofu jerky samples all got gobbled up. Watch this space for the recipe.

    All set

    Raring to go


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