Eating vegan and gluten free is a daunting task even when you’re in your own home. Once you get to a music festival it can be a bit of a nightmare unless you know where to look! Last week I was at the Isle of Wight Festival which is notorious for it’s greasy burger joints and bad food. However, with a bit of searching I found a few hidden gems which meant I could enjoy the festival (and the food) as much as everyone else! This is the first of two blog posts which will tell you about my experience and hopefully give you some tips for if you’re braving the festivals this season.
As I work in the Oxfam shop at the Isle of Wight, I was there long before any of the food stalls were open. On the first night a takeaway was ordered in from the local Pizza Express. I’ve had vegan pizzas from Pizza Express many times and they’ve always been excellent. When I went gluten free I contacted Pizza Express and asked if they had anything on their menu that I could eat. At the time they had a gluten free menu but nothing on it was vegan. Imagine how pleased I was to find that the gluten free menu has been redesigned and that they can make most items on it vegan! Although this information may not help you when you’re at a festival, it’s certainly handy to know!
One of the first stands I noticed that was gluten free was this risotto stand. Mushroom risotto is my ultimate comfort food so I was excited to find out that it was vegan! The risotto had a variety of different types of mushrooms in it and the portion size was huge for £6. The black pepper grinder on the side was a brilliant touch and I thoroughly enjoyed this meal while sat on the grass waiting for The Levellers.
On the way from the campsite to the main arena was an excellent and unique vegetarian cafe. Tansy’s Pantry is a bus that has been converted into a mobile vegetarian cafe selling breakfasts, falafal, hummus and dahl. The best part is that you can eat on the top deck of the bus!
I had two meals from this bus. The first one was a simple hummus salad which they kindly made for me without the pitta bread. This cost £6 and it was really nice. The hummus definitely tasted homemade and it was such a luxury to eat some fresh, crispy vegetables! The second meal I had was a lentil and chickpea dahl. This was £7 and usually comes with a flatbread that they kindly replaced with some salad. Hearty and warming!
That’s it for part 1 of my food experience! Check back soon for part 2 which includes curry, pakoras, free tea and some festival staples.