Summer is Here

Cheese Rolling in Gloucestershire

There are certain high profile events in the UK that make you realise summer is here like the cheese rolling in Gloucestershire, the man powered flying machines at the Birdman of Bognor and the very serious boating event, Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight.   However, not all the boating events during Cowes Week are as prestigious as the class events but with unrivalled enthusiasm, the competitors of the Cowes Cardboard Boat Race take their event very seriously and last year drew a larger crowd than some of the main racing events.  Now in its third year and raising money for UKSA, the Cardboard Boat Race takes place on 7th August at 3pm.  Seemingly, when you register for the race, you are given a free starter pack which according to the instructions “contains everything needed to make a boat.”  Hmmm some duct tape and a cardboard box maybe?  

Cardboard Boat Race (Photography by Dean Wright)

Vegan Festival- First on the Isle of Wight

Ventnor played host to the Isle of Wight’s first ever vegan festival last weekend.  Although I am not vegan, I went along to see what these healthy eaters do for a good night in. Belly dancers were demonstrating their moves next to the Keep Smiling CafĂ© – a brightly painted caravan selling pitta humus, chilli nachos and spicy bean burgers.  A VW campervan by the name of Isle Love Vegan had an appetizing display of sweet potato brownies and chocolate ganoche cake and the South Coast Confectionary had such a deliciously tempting display of vegan delights that they sold out in 3 hours.
A bubbly lady with a dehydrator and a selection of raw food, produced an endless array of culinary options at her raw food stall and in front of our very eyes, prepared a thick creamy curry soup in just a few minutes.  

Fancy a nibble?  Come back in 8 hours?

Impressed though I was with most of the dehydrated treats, they were far from instant.  It takes at least 8 hours in the dehydrator if you fancy a nibble on dried apple, banana or coconut.  It seems the coconut is a well used and extremely versatile ingredient in the vegan diet.  We sampled coconut wraps which definitely had a subtle coconut flavour to them and were as fiddly to eat as a regular wrap.

Raw Food Stand @ Isle of Wight Vegan Festival
However, I have no idea what they did to the poor coconut to make coconut bacon.  Having been lured into the trap of pleasantly tasting raw vegan food, I agreed to try a piece of the coconut bacon which had been dehydrated with liquid hickory smoke. Had it been mixed with some avocado or other salad ingredients, then it may have been a pleasant addition to a meal or a wrap but on its own, it had the strongest and most unpleasant flavour of anything I had tried that day.  I desperately needed to get rid of the after taste and having run out of water I rummaged in my bag for something.  Anything would have done, a mint, a fluff covered jelly baby, an ancient hard sweet with all the plastic wrapping stuck to it but all I had was a strip of indigestion tablets.  Never have I enjoyed the chalky minty taste of an indigestion tablet as much as I did that day.

Well, the starting canon has been fired and the spinnakers are up so I’m off to see how the cardboard boats are getting on.  See you after Cowes Week.

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