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Veganuary 2020: How to live the plant life locally

From beauty to beer, we've hunted out the best vegan-friendly places across Leics and Rutland.

If you’re tucking into your chicken and pine nut pesto wrap for lunch, you clearly missed the memo.

January just got a little more…vegan well for me anyway. I’m taking the plunge and going vegan for the month. I’m half way there as I’m a veggie (okay, well technically I’m a pescatarian) so it can’t be that difficult right? We’ll soon find out.

A whopping 250,000 people signed up to last year’s campaign and this year, Veganuary, the non profit charity is aiming for 350,000!

From beer to beauty, we’ve hunted out the best vegan-friendly places to live the plant life during Veganuary across Leicestershire and Rutland.

Vegan lifestyle store: Nada, Leicester

Leicester’s first and only zero waste, plastic-free bulk store, Nada also stocks a tonne of vegan-friendly products – everything from soap to toothpaste as well as vegan choc and jelly sweets! If that wasn’t enough owner Lauren, also encourages customers to take their own jars and bags to refill them directly from a bulk supply of dry goods – seeds, flours, pasta, nuts, cereals and spices to liquids as well as household products. So bring your reusable  shopping bags and shop till you drop at this brilliant local lifestyle store.

Vegan food producer, FarrinHeight Foods, Market Harborough

Nathan Farrington and Kerry Height have been making delicious vegan goodies for the past four years. You can find them at Market Harborough’s Farmers Market where they pretty much sell out of their lemon and herb stuffed nut loaf. There’s also sausage rolls (it’s trumps Greggs), seitan bacon, almond cheese and sweet treats too. They also host monthly pop-up dining events if you’re interested.

Vegan ice cream: Ferneleys, Melton Mowbray 

Is there such a thing? Well not entirely, but Ferneleys, Melton Mowbray do produce an amazing selection of vegan sorbets. Served in The Dairy Barn Cafe, you’ll always find two vegan sorbets on offer – anything from dark chocolate to elderflower and lemon plus, they were trained by former pastry and sous-chef at The Fat Duck, Michele Stanco so you know the quality will be good enough to serve in a Michelin-starred restaurant. One to remember when the sun comes out!

Vegan cheese: Vegan Cheese Shop, Loughborough 

Pic Credit: Violife

Violife is the award-winning vegan alternative to cheese – it’s free from dairy, gluten, soya, preservatives and nuts and you can find it in this local cheese shop. There’s cheddar, mozzarella, feta and so much more – 99% of the cheese in the shop is also vegan (well of course, hence the name) so you’ll never ever miss cheese again!

Vegan bread: Bisbrooke Artisan, Leicestershire
Ami and Lance are sharing heir love of sourdough with the world. Their passion project runs from their mini micro bakery in Bisbrooke, Rutland where they make amazing flavoured vegan loafs – think turmeric and fennel, ginger and sesame, lavender and honey, charcoal and carraway and so many more. Find them in local bakeries, cafes and restaurants including The Tiny Bakery, Fika Okaham, The Falcon Hotel and Leicester Coffee House to name a few.
Vegan wine: Duncan Murray 

Muddy Award winner two years on the trot, Duncan Murray Wines is the place to go for a tipple or two of vegan wines. They currently have 17 vegan wines in the shop which have come as a direct result of enquires from customers. The majority of their vegan wines tend to be red, but they do have white wines and even a dry, refreshing, aromatic Riesling fizz. As with the beer above, these wines use alternative agents in order to make them vegan-friendly. Fancy a red? I’ll have the Borgo Selene – velvety and rounded with lots of lush dark berries.

Vegan afternoon tea: Kavanagh’s Tea Room, Rutland

Clare and Martyn run this lovely tea room together and their passion really shines through plus, they’ve also recently turned vegan so it would only be fair to launch a fab afternoon tea that they would be happy to dive into too! Their vegan/plant-based afternoon tea can include anything from roasted vegetable sandwiches with pesto, sweet potato pakora and hummus sandwiches, fruit and plain scones, chocolate or apple cake, jam tarts and more.  £15.95 per person.

Vegan beer: Framework Brewery, Leicester 

Ehh, how is beer not vegetarian? While beer doesn’t use meat, the fermenting process uses fish guts to make the beer clear but the clever guys down at the Framework Brewery use a barley based fining (a substance used to clarify the beer) and don’t use any lactose either. So boozers rejoice, you can enjoy your orange and apricot hazy pale, strawberry and blackberry hazy pale or centennial amber guilt-free.

Vegan Beauty Salon: ORB, Rutland

This wonderful little salon on Uppingham’s High Street is a real gem of a find. It’s while not entirely vegan, it does use vegan and organic beauty products and offers a range of natural skincare and wellbeing treatments. They also try to keep things as natural and organic inside so flowers are recycled to make decorations and paper has been reused as paper mache to create the gold ORB initials that hang on the wall. Read our full review here.

Vegan beauty brand: Botanicals, Melton Mowbray

Free from all those chemical nasties that can irritate the skin, this brilliant beauty brand from Melton Mowbray has no artificial colours, fragrances or harmful preservatives and is 100% vegan – all created using the power of plants! If that wasn’t enough goodness, they’re also good for the environment because they use minimalist recycled or recyclable packaging so whichever way you look at it, you’re onto a winner!

Vegan restaurant: Sanctua, Oadby 

Moroccan inspired Harira soup with crispy golden fried onions, a herb and lime chutney with fluffy basmati rice. Yum!

When Leicester’s first vegan restaurant opened earlier this year, people couldn’t get enough of it. Run by vegan chef, Bindu Patel, the idea behind Sanctua is to make you feel like you’re in the middle of a garden, eating fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her menu is exotic, adventurous and delicious – think tahini and Ras el Hanout winter vegetables on radicchio with a dill and lemon za’atar vegannaise polenta fritter and her desserts are worth waiting for – spiced salted caramel cake with an orange blossom and black pepper creme. Everything in the restaurant is vegan inc the furniture and even the wine plus, she’s big on protecting the environment, moving towards zero waste and reducing plastic pollution – talk about inspiring!

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