Although afternoon teas are popping up in many eateries across the country to celebrate Veganuary and as a permanent feature on the menu, it’s not often you hear of garden centres serving up plant based high teas.
This is exactly why I was so eager to sample the new vegan delights at Dobbies Garden Centre at Altrincham on Friday.
I was accompanied by my parents who aren’t plant-based as I was interested to find out how non-vegans would react to eating a totally meat and dairy free lunch.
The afternoon tea began with freshly prepared falafel wraps and vegan sausage rolls as the base layer, which made a welcome change to sandwiches.
My parents both agreed that you couldn’t tell the difference between the vegan and a meat-based sausage roll and I am of the same opinion. The pastry was flaky, the sausage was moist and they were served warm as they were straight out the oven- the only way a sausage roll should be eaten in my opinion.
The falafel wraps offered a welcome alternative to bread, as sandwiches can sometimes leave you feeling too full for the second layer. These were just enough to get your savoury fix before moving on to the star of the show- the scones!
Again, if the fruit and plain scones had been featured in a blind taste test, there was no difference between these and a dairy based scone in texture and taste, even when topped with vegan margarine and fruit jam. Scone connoisseurs can breathe a sigh of relief- vegan scones are just as good as the original recipe!
The selection of vegan cakes at the top included a brownie, orange and apricot slice, banana and berry slice and a carrot and pistachio slice, all of which were perfectly proportioned so you weren’t uncomfortably full at the end.
Anything made from fruit is usually a winning combination when it comes to vegan baking- so the two slices were the perfect combination of fruit, batter and topping. A resounding success for all three of us.
It’s often the imitation bakes that are more challenging to pull off.
It was evident that the brownie was vegan as it was more strodgy than a milk chocolate bake, however it was only small so a bite or two was sufficient anyway. The final layer served as more of a tasting platter of vegan cakes so you could pick and choose your favourites.
We enjoyed two teas between three adults and one toddler, and there were leftovers so be sure to share if you go!
All of this vegan loveliness was washed down with tea and soya milk and served by the new manager Jane. She shared with us that she is keen to roll out more vegan offerings at the till-point in the cafe to cater for the this widening demographic.
If you are a regular visitor of Dobbies Garden Centres, I would encourage you to try the new vegan afternoon tea. It doesn’t disappoint and you will be amazed at what little difference removing meat and dairy makes to this quintessentially British experience. And of course if you’re already vegan- you now have another eatery that caters for your lifestyle choice, so pop along and tick it off the list.
At £12.50 per person, advanced booking is recommended. Find your local Dobbies store and book online at Dobbies.com
tagged in Vegan