The Free From Festival at The Passenger Shed, Bristol, Nov 2019
#ad - I received tickets to the Free From Festival event so I could share all about it with you here on the blog. We thank them for their support.
This was the second year in a row that I'd been to the Free From Festival here, and it's the third Free From Festival I've been to altogether (the other one was Oxford). I loved both events, but the Bristol one somehow excites me the most. My kids love the Tofish at Shakey Shakey Vegan's pop up stall, so there is that, but I love the atmosphere at Bristol - it's lively, friendly and everyone walks around just so excited about the food. It's seeing a hall packed full of people enjoying themselves, taking selfies in front of brownies and being super enthusiastic about good, nourishing food. I love it.
On arrival I was given a gluten free Daura Damm beer and the girls were passed chocolate milks from Rebel Kitchen.
The last time we came, the queue at vegan fish and chip shop Shakey Shakey was HUGE, so we headed there first. The girls shared a Tofish, chips and vegan tartare sauce - the chips come with their own special seasoning and I did pinch a few.
We wandered around the fairy-lit hall, looking at stalls stacked with brownies, macarons, fudge - all vegan and dairy-free. The Greek Vegan Deli looked gorgeous - with tarts, falafels, cakes - it was a really popular stall, and all gluten free of course and vegan.
We watched a demo by Vicki at Free From Fairy, about cooking gluten free for kids this Christmas - and then went on to check out the other stalls. A pop up stall - Good Food and Co - ladling out Slow Roast Lamb Shawarma, Jerk Kid Goat Shoulder and Moroccan Chermoula Chicken - as well as Pumpkin, Chickpea, Spinach and Coconut Curry for veggies and vegans - also seemed in high demand, and the smells coming from it were amazing.
Having walked off our Tofish by now, we started on the lookout for something light that we could eat before the 2-hour journey home, and a couple of guys making arepas at Cardiff-based The Queen Pepiada caught our eye. I LOVE arepas. So youngest daughter and I decided to share an arepa. Oh my gosh it was insane. I bought a chicken and cheese arepa and we hungrily went off to stuff it into our faces. The chicken was a little spicy, beautifully tender and shredded and so full-flavoured, we loved it. Now I'm home I've been pinning how to make arepas at home, it's definitely ignited my love for them. Or maybe I'll just move to Cardiff.
We had a last minute look around, but with our tummies full and the hall getting ever fuller too - we decided to take the tiny walk back to the station and make our way home.
Honestly, if you're into gluten free, vegan, dairy-free food (quite a lot of the foods there were nut-free too), make the Free From Festival one of the events you book in your diary to get to. They are held at Manchester, Oxford and London too. Follow them on Instagram @freefromevents to stay tuned for all the updates, or follow them on Eventbrite. You'll discover so many new foods you love. And you might get addicted to Tofish and end up coming back again the next year, like we do.
Have you been to any of the Free From Festivals? Let me know what you think in the comments below!