Veganuary: the annual tradition of shunning all meat, fish, dairy and other animal products. The reasons for taking part in Veganuary are varied, but broadly fall into four camps:
- To remove any essence of happiness from life and forgo something else intrinsically joyful, despite January being thankless enough
- To try out all the new vegan products keeno brand managers have decided to churn out
- To pause and reflect on the inherent brokenness of our food system, engaging in issues of animal welfare, sustainable farming, and the magnitude of environmental damage caused by over-consumption of meat
- To give the insufferable foodie something else to bang on about
With lots of brands engaging even more with the vegan trend, I thought I’d do a round up of the great and the good this time round:
Lots of restaurants have upped their game this year, with more vegan choices than ever. Some have been less good, including the one that will remain nameless, who shoved an allergen handbook in my face when I inquired what vegan options they had (turns out nothing was). Shout out to Wagamama for championing an entirely vegetarian /vegan menu as standard this year. Having one vegan main meal option is normally good going, but nine? Now you’re talking.
Leon’s menu has always been inclusive, but they really went all in this year. Their LOVE burger, a beetroot soya patty topped with burger sauce, Carolina mustard mayo, tomatoes, pickles and a slice of smoked gouda-style vegan cheese was knock-out. An entirely delicious and indulgent work lunch. Small request: can someone next year get some savoury breakfast options onto the high street (I’m looking at you Pret).
Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen has been a savour for the mid-week can’t-be-bothered-to-cook mealtime. Tasty highlights included the cauliflower and mushroom pie, along with the Boom’n butternut squash curry.
I missed dairy a lot this year, but the obligatory milk in the cappuccino was replaced with Oatly oat milk. It was a complete revelation and entirely unsurprising there were shortages of it throughout London this month. The big winner for me though was the Oatly crème fraiche, which even found its way into an entirely passable mash potato.
I did my best to love Violife cheese, really I did. It’s just not happening; a block of vegan parmesan isn’t really what the doctor ordered. Sorry.
And so ends another Veganuary. I look to February with baited breath: a month of cheese, eggs, burgers and inordinate amounts of mayonnaise. Can’t wait.