It seems to get earlier every year, but last Friday saw the annual Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations kick off once again, marking six weeks of celebration and festive cheer in the Capital. With charming markets, tempting street food and thrilling fairground rides, it’s a great opportunity to meet up and get merry with family, friends and colleagues. But you want to know that you’re not going to go hungry – right?
Don’t worry, friends, I’ve got your back. Today I went on a wee factfinding mission to uncover what vegan treats are on offer at this year’s festivities – so read on to discover the good, the bad and the ugly of the vegan offering at Edinburgh’s Christmas.
Vegan pretzels at Kassler
Enter Edinburgh’s Christmas on the Mound from Princes Street, to the left-hand side of the Royal Scottish Academy, and in front you will see a big German-style stall selling street food. Don’t worry – it’s not all pork sausages and cheese. They have a small range of pretzels which are made from a dairy-free dough, making them suitable for vegans. They’re hardly cheap, but they are a decent size and it’s worth it to enjoy and soak in the Christmas spirit.
You’ll be pleased to know that the lovely vegan galettes are back this year. Similar to crêpes in look and texture, galettes are made from buckwheat flour, carbonated water and soy milk. Technically these wee beauties are gluten-free too, but they do use the same griddle for their crêpes so be wary of cross-contamination.
These galettes can come with a range of sweet and savoury toppings, including fried mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, fresh strawberries, banana, cinnamon, flaked almonds, sugar, maple syrup and dark chocolate sauce (the ingredients of which are vegan, but it does come with a standard “may contain traces” warning).
The kind people at this stall rustled up a glorious chocolate strawberry beauty for me, and I can confirm it tastes as good as it looks.
You’ll find another galette stalls down towards Santa Land.
Chip on a Stick
Head down towards Santa Land and you’ll spot a large stall that specialises in everything fried potato, from chips to twirly potatoes on a stick. Seen as these are fried in vegetable oil, they are suitable for vegans. The piri piri and salt & vinegar seasonings are good for vegans too.
At £5 a pop, they don’t offer the best value for money, but might be worth it for the novelty Instagram factor.
New for 2018! Next door to the Chip Stick stall you will find Pizza Pitch, which sells whole pizzas with the option of vegan cheese. As the base and tomato sauce is already safe for vegans in any case, this is a good option if you are feeling VERY hungry!
The pizzas look quite big, which make them perfect for sharing (or for keeping to yourself, if you are absolutely ravenous).
If you fancy something sweet this year, you’ll need to head to near the West End. You can find Mimi’s at a new location on Castle Street this year, offering vegan coffees, hot chocolate, cakes and brownies. For a horrible minute I thought that Mimi’s weren’t taking part this year, but thankfully they are just at a different location, which is about a five minute’s walk from East Princes Street Gardens. Phew!
Still, it seems like the vegan offering at Edinburgh’s Christmas 2018 has shrunk from previous years, which is really disappointing. The lack of curry options from Babu have left a gaping hole in East Princes Street Gardens market, meaning that people who steer clear of meat and dairy have less to choose from.
In the meantime, I’ll still hold out hope for that vegan bratwurst…