“You’re vegan? But… what about Christmas?”
The classic question! Personally, I don’t miss any of the traditional festive dinners half as much as I expected to. I do however feel a bit left out when it comes to all of the festive sweet treats that get passed around. Whether it’s after dinner chocolates, a festive tipple or a selection box of chocolates, I usually have to politely decline.
Luckily the high street is starting to get on board with the growing demand for vegan friendly sweets, chocolates and edible gifts. I attended a Christmas taster evening at Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough last week and was absolutely chuffed at how much they had to show me. I even got to have not one, but TWO festive meals, all entirely vegan.
With that in mind, I’ve rounded up some of the best vegan friendly christmas treats and gifts available on the high street this year and where to buy them.
Vegan marshmallows! My goodness how I’ve craved a super indulgent hot chocolate since going vegan, but until now I haven’t found a high street retailer that stocks vegan marshmallows. Finding these in Lakeland made my day!
Still in Lakeland, I found these chocolate covered cherries which really are the perfect after dinner christmas treat. They are slightly sour with a dark chocolate coating and a lovely chewy inside. They come gift wrapped in cellophane so would make a nice gift to take round if you’re visiting someone else for Christmas.
Growing up, we always had a box of After Eight at Christmas. Sadly I checked and they aren’t vegan, but I discovered that Lakeland stock Beech’s After Dinner Mints which are a conscience free alternative and delicious in their own right.
It’s almost time to start opening our advent calendars, but to be honest I have found the vegan chocolate ones I’ve tried hugely disappointing. For a fun alternative, Popaball have a ‘Pimp Your Prosecco‘ 12 day advent calendar containing 11 bubbles of different flavours and one shimmer.
I’ve always loved using Hotel Chocolat for gifts as everything is so beautifully packaged. Now I love them even more, because this year they have a huge vegan friendly selection that non vegans should adore just as much. You need to avoid the milk chocolate (obviously!) but as well as their dark chocolate range, many of their alcohols are also vegan (oh hello Salted Caramel Cocoa Vodka Liqueur).
Some of their Christmas sweets such as their Rose & Lemon Turkish Delight are vegan too – it’s worth checking the label or asking a member of staff for help if you’re not sure.
View the full vegan range here: Hotel Chocolat Vegan Range
Once finished shopping for vegan friendly Christmas treats and gifts I also headed to Turtle Bay, Peterborough’s fun and lively Caribbean restaurant where the atmosphere is always buzzing. If you’re sick of Christmas music and want somewhere a little different for a festive get together, this place is a winner.
I tried the Spiced Chickpea Ital and Sweetcorn Fritters. Both were super tasty but be warned these are SPICY dishes that build heat over time. If you’re sensitive to spices, you might want to ask your waiter for guidance on how hot the dish is before you choose!
If you have a Christmas party to organise, two courses from the Christmas Lunch menu are £14.95 and two courses from the Christmas Anytime menu are £19.95. You get a £20 gift card as a thank you for booking a table of 10 people or more (£50 gift card for tables over 30).
I have to thank Queensgate and their stores for once again being wonderful hosts and showing me that there are plenty of vegan friendly Christmas treats and gifts to enjoy this year!
*Disclaimer: All food and drink consumed on the night was complimentary thanks to Queensgate Shopping Centre and the participating retailers. I have shared my personal highlights from the evening to share with you here.