Four Reasons Why You Should Visit Paisley Food & Drink Festival

04 June, 2019
Paisley Food & Drinks Festival 2019

Disclaimer: This post is part of a collaboration with Paisley.is and my trip was covered by them in return for this blog post.

Last month, thousands descended upon a humble, cobble-stoned Scottish town named Paisley to celebrate everything food and drink as part of the annual Paisley Food & Drink Festival and I was one of them.  In case you didn't know, Paisley is a relatively large town located just a 15 minute drive outside of Glasgow and is steeped in history, which is rather telling from its rich, beautiful architecture. The most striking of Paisley's architectural legacy is the grandeur Paisley Abbey, which stands prominently over the town and acts as the centrepiece of the food and drink festival, which takes place in the grounds of the Abbey.

This year, Paisley Food & Drink Festival had a huge emphasis on their brand new vegetarian and vegan zone that championed entirely veggie & vegan food vendors. Paisley's neighbouring city of Glasgow is well renowned for being one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the UK, so I was pretty excited to see what the festival had to offer.  Not only did they invite a plethora of new vegan vendors to the festival, but they also hosted a live cooking demo with Matt Pritchard, host of the BBC's first ever vegan cooking show, "Dirty Vegan".

Vegan haggis from Paisley Food & Drink Festival

The sheer amount of vegan food.

It goes without saying that you should definitely head to Paisley Food & Drink Festival for the food that's on offer, especially with their new dedicated veggie & vegan zone. As you can imagine, with a glut of plant-based street food at my fingertips and a VIP pass that allowed me to taste as much as I could physically consume, I feasted to my stomach's content – and boy oh boy, did I feast! Without further ado, here is the extremely excessive amount of food I managed to gorge on.

First thing's first, I wasn't going to travel to Scotland and not try out a vegan haggis (pictured above), was I? In fact, this vegan haggis was actually my first ever 'haggis experience'. Back before I quit meat, I never tried it – but then again, the thought of eating a minced sheep organs never really appealed to me, even back then. This plant-based version, that was made mainly from lentils, imitated the mince was slathered on top of chips and topped with vegan cheese. Having never tried haggis before, I wasn't too sure what to expect but really enjoyed it and devoured the lot. Unfortunately, the vendor didn't have a name or any social handles listed on their van, so I can't share their details.

Vegan hotdog from Paisley Food & Drink Festival

Despite there being a dedicated veggie & vegan zone at the festival, we soon realised that it was worth checking out the rest of the vendors as pretty much most of them had at least one vegan option on the menu. That was the case for Brigston & Co., who usually specialise in hotdogs of the meatier variety but also offer a vegan dog layered with onions, oozing vegan cheese and tomato ketchup.

Vegan southern fried cauliflower from Paisley Food & Drink Festival

Hygge Food is an entirely vegan-based catering company based in Glasgow and the creation of owner, Bex, whose aim is to provide affordable, delicious, cruelty-free and creative food for vegans and non-vegans alike. As per its name, Hygge offers warming, wholesome, plant-based food, including a multitude of vegan options. The Hygge stall at the Paisley Food & Drink Festival offered a blowout of hearty vegan food, including these amazing crispy southern fried cauliflower "weengs" with a homemade 3-smoke BBQ sauce and garnished with chopped spring onions.

Also on the menu at Hygge Food was the "KFSee" burger with a crispy, seitan mock chicken fillet, cheeze and homemade slaw slapped between a vegan broiche, sesame bun and a vegan take on a Scottish favourite, haggis & tatties. Just guess I'll have to come back next year, eh?

Vegan satay 'chicken' from Paisley Food & Drink Festival

There's No Catch! offer vegan fish and chips, but as I'm not a fan of mock seafood, I opted for their soy "chicken" satay and chips instead, and BOY, OH BOY, were there moreish and left me hungry for more despite having eaten my bodyweight and more in food at this point.


On the sweeter side of things, Porrelli's churros van twas offering up vegan-friendly churros and a dairy free chocolate dip. Porrelli's are actually a family-run gelato business based in Paisley, and don't necessary specialise in vegan options. However, during the festival they were serving up strictly churros, which I can confirm were bloomin' delicious!


My final course of the day was a sweet chilli, vegan cheese, tomato and coriander crepe from Flip 'n' Fast crepes – an entirely vegan-friendly, homemade crepe van that travels across the country and offers a variety of both sweet and savoury crepes. It was the perfect end to a truly gluttonous day of nothing more than feasting.

Gin 71 bar at Paisley Food & Drink Festival

The drinks
 
There were a decent number of bars dotted around the festival, including a quirky teepee style bar by Platform Glasgow, a tent filled to the brim with craft beers, the Prosecco FizzBuz serving up bubbly on tap, the Dispensary Bar who were serving up the most magical, handmade cocktails shrouded in dry ice and smoke, and finally the Gin 71 bar, who kept us suitably hydrated throughout the day with their artisan G&Ts. We definitely left the festival feeling appropriately merry when the evening came around thanks to the substantial alcohol on offer.

Meeting Dirty Vegan's Matt Pritchard at Paisley Food & Drink Festival

The live cooking demonstrations

The Paisley Food & Drink festival also hosts live cooking demonstrations with some well-known personalities in the food industry. It goes without saying that the demonstration that I was most excited for was a cooking demonstration led by Matt Pritchard, former star of Dirty Sanchez and now the face of the BBC's first vegan cookery show, Dirty Vegan. I was a big fan of Dirty Sanchez back in the day and I've loved following Matt's journey to becoming a vegan advocate. In fact, I was so eager that I made sure that I nabbed myself a place in the front row!

Matt took the audience through a relatively simple chilli tofu stir fry recipe that was created with the intention of it being a dish that's accessible and appealing to everyone, whether you're vegan or not. At the end of the demonstration, Matt invited the audience for a Q&A, and then for a meet 'n' greet and the opportunity to purchase his cookbook.

Matt Pritchard (Dirty Vegan) at Paisley Food & Drink Festival
Paisley Town Hall in the spring time

The city itself.

Before the my trip, I knew Paisley as nothing more than a pattern that I have an abundance of in my wardrobe. It turns out that pattern, although it is originally of Persian origin, made its way to Europe in the 18th century. Paisley, which was the centre of the weaving industry at the time, began weaving imitation Kashmir shawls and gave its name to the teardrop pattern that I love so much. Makes sense, right? Another Paisley fun fact is that it's actually the hometown of Paolo Nutini and his family own a chippie in the town centre named Castelvecchi!

Paisley truly is a picture perfect city and doesn't have a bad angle, especially when we visited as the charming little cobble-stoned street were adorned with gorgeous pink blossoms and beautiful architecture. We found ourselves wandering the streets and gazing up in wonder. Unfortunately, an afternoon wasn't long enough to explore properly but we did manage to pop into a few charity shops and grab some bargains. Next time, I'm in Glasgow, I'll definitely be venturing out to spend another day in Paisley.

Paisley in the spring with blossoms.

Hopefully see you next year, Paisley Food & Drink Festival!

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8 comments

  1. Oh I do love a good food festival and this one sounds perfect! I'm a vegetarian, so hearing it has a designated zone is particularly exciting :)

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  2. It looks a beautiful place to visit even without the food festival! The soy "chicken" satay looks delicious!

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  3. Scotland is such a beautiful place to visit, I've not been to Paisley before but love the look and sound of the food and drink festival - those churros 😍

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  4. Wow that's so much amazing looking for. I think it's great that there are more vegan and veggie choices and it goes to show how amazing meat free food can be x

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  5. This looks like a great day out. Vegan options are more and more available these days, which is a good thing. I have never been to Paisley before but would love to visit there one day.

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  6. I like the thought of the vegan haggis. Being a meat eater I have tried normal haggis but it's not something I would rush to eat again. This food festival does look really good. Matt Pritchard would be interesting to see. I don't know anything about Paisley so it would be fun to explore the area too

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  7. Oh wow what a great festival! All of the food looks so delicious and it looks like there was SO much to try! I love the live cooking demo idea too.

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  8. This looks like fab festival to get out too with your friends. The food all looked simply amazing.

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