School's out, summer's here, and there is nothing better than dining al fresco in the sun. But for those of us who don't have a garden, a picnic is often the best way to enjoy the best of Britain's outdoor season.
For those of us who can't, or don't want to, tuck into the normal fayre of sausage rolls, scotch eggs and egg sandwiches, I've rounded up the best vegan options from savoury to sweet for picnickers this summer.
Okay, let's start with the bits that will fill you up – pasties from Chunk of Devon (yes, Devon, not Cornwall). Being from Devon hasn't stopped them from becoming two-time champions of the UK's best pasty, which makes them good in my books.
What's more, they have a fabulous vegan range (and veg too if you don't mind a bit of cheese in your life). Options include Cheatin' Cheeze Pasties, Ploughman's Pasties, Spicy Jack pies and Chunki Roast Veg Pasties. Not a bad selection for a product that is traditionally meant to include meat!
The perfect pairing to a tasty pasty – a dollop of relish. And it doesn't get much better than Tracklements Sweet Pepper Relish. A tangy, sweet and sour relish, you can genuinely taste the chopped peppers and cucumber and hint of mustard seed and chilli. What I love about Tracklements is, as well as being vegan and gluten-free, they use the best produce they can and British whenever possible. They only use 100% sustainable, environmentally friendly electricity, and their packaging is 100% recyclable. And it tastes great. What could be better?
Snacks are a must on any picnic, and the new Snack Bites from Gosh! should be top of the list. Perfect for a picnic, these individual packs of mini-bites are available in two flavours – Moroccan Spiced Veg and Smokey BBQ Sweet Potato. Both flavours are packed full of delicious veggies, herbs, and spices and ready to eat straight from the pack. No fear about the waste either, as the bags are 100% recyclable too.
For me, it's all about olives that have been perfectly warmed by the sun. But – as a lover who seems to attract the naysayers, I'm often left with too many to manage. No longer will that be a problem thanks to OLOVES - packed in individual packets, these little bags of olives are crisp, flavoursome, and delicious and perfect for one on a picnic. Available in four flavours – Lemon & Raspberry, Basil & Garlic, Chilli & Oregano, and Chilli & Garlic.
Another crunchy classic – crisps. Fairfields is an old family favourite brand – some of their potatoes are grown in my parent's village, so I thought I'd tried every flavour. However, these vegan crisps have some tricks up their sleeves; vegan Rib of Beef or Bacon & Tomato Crisps for a meaty flavour without the meat. What's more, all of the crisps are made on their farm using renewable energy, are gluten-free and using natural flavours.
Finally, for the health-conscious, BitesWeLove is a deliciously tasty new crunchy pea snack recently launched in the UK in three delicious flavours. High in fibre, they contain 60% less fat than comparable vegetable snacks and crisps, making them perfect for on-the-go picnic snacking. The three new flavours include Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Smoked Paprika and Sour Cream & Jalapeño, so something for everyone to tuck into and enjoy.
Chunk of Devon, RRP, £35 for the full veggie-vegan picnic selection, including 6 x vegan pasties and four veggie options. https://www.chunkofdevon.co.uk/
Tracklements, RRP, £3.75 for 220g, https://www.tracklements.co.uk/
Gosh!, RRP, £1 per pack, https://www.goshfood.com/
OLOVES, RRP, £8 for ten packs, https://www.oloves.com/
Fairfields Farm Crisps, RRP, £18 for 24 x 40g bags, £18 for 12 x 150g bags, https://fairfieldsfarmcrisps.co.uk/
BitesWeLove, RRP, £2.25 per pack, https://www.biteswelove.com/
What is life without a sweet treat? Sad…! But thanks to Crosstown Doughnuts, it doesn't have to be as they have an incredible selection of vegan options they claim are every bit as delicious as our original selection, made with 100% plant-based ingredients. And I can't say I disagree.
Crosstown use chia seeds and coconut butter in our dough and a varying combination of oat milk, coconut butter, dairy-free dark chocolate, and silken tofu to make the fillings and glazes. While you can't choose what you receive, I can promise you won't be disappointed by the mixed box as every one of the doughnuts we tried (and we tried 6) were delicious.
Or, head to the cookie aisle with Floozie Stuffed Cookies. The signature stuffed cookies come in six flavours, the brainchild of Pastry Chef Kimberly Lin – formerly of Claridge's, The Savoy and Dominique Ansel Bakery. Five classics include Cinnamon Crunch, Chocolate C