New pop-up highlights Swindon's thriving vegan community

By Claire Dukes - 24 January 2019

HealthBusinessArts and CultureFood & Drink
  • Julie Waldron, Sarah Relph and Maisey Relph

    Julie Waldron, Sarah Relph and Maisey Relph

It turns out you can have your cake and eat it too - a cake with no eggs, or milk, and still tastes delicious.

V-Cuisine co-founders Julie Waldron and Sarah Relph

Swindon's latest pop-up, V-Cuisine, is on a mission to educate the town on veganism, demonstrating that food can still taste good and have a positive impact on people's health and the environment.

After meeting via a vegan community Facebook page vegan co-founders, Julie Waldron and Sarah Relph, decided to branch out with their love of homemade vegan cakes and savoury bakes. Last month saw the duo host V-Cuisine's first pop-up stall at The Rolleston Arms, Commercial Road.

Sarah Relph said: "I’ve always wanted to run a coffee shop, and we thought ‘vegan coffee shop’ – there isn’t anything like that in Swindon.

"There are a few coffee shops you can go to and there may be one option for a vegan cake, but there’s no choice – there’s no specific vegan coffee shops. This is really homemade, whereas things you get in a coffee shop tend to be brought in from elsewhere."

To appeal to the masses Julie and Sarah have tailored their products to align with the "usual suspects" often found in regular cafés including Victoria sponge, carrot cake, ginger cake and sausage rolls.

Julie said: "We’re trying to go for very familiar and very traditional cakes – nothing really fancy, just what you would see in any cake shop."

Despite its popularity veganism still sparks much debate, but Sarah and Julie hope their trial stall will help break down misconceptions, often associated with 'aggressive' marketing tactics, about the lifestyle choice.

Sarah said: "I do find aggressive campaigns quite disappointing, because I think it gives us a bad name – that’s why people get so aggressive with us because of that minority out there. This is the same thing we saw with Greggs' vegan sausage roll, – there were riots, and people hating the vegans – and you just think ‘why?’ But some vegans are so up on their high horse with the morals of it all that they’re missing the bigger picture.

"All the vegans in Swindon are very supportive of each other and if somebody’s trying to do something, we do go all out to support them.

"I think this is an education actually – there’s quite a few people here already, but half of them aren’t even vegans they just enjoy our cakes."

Julie added: "Most vegans promote compassion, health, and looking after the future of the planet. This is a gateway into hopefully showing a few people what veganism is all about – you’ve got to start with food with a lot of people, and then they’ll learn more about the compassionate side of it."

The next V-Cuisine pop-up will take place Saturday 2 February at The Rolleston Arms.

Visit Facebook for further information: @vcuisine18

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