A friend and work colleague has her 50th birthday and so we wanted to buy her something special from the whole team. Jane has been vegetarian for most of her life but has become vegan in the past year so I thought it would be a nice idea to make her a special vegan hamper so I started shopping around.
I really struggled to find a ready made vegan hamper that I was happy with. They were mostly made up of well known, everyday vegan items that were pretty much available down the local health food store or even supermarket. Coupled with this they seemed more expensive just for the privilege of these items being available as a hamper, which most of the time turned out to be just a cardboard box.
The obvious answer was to make one up myself so I started shopping around for unusual vegan items on-line. That didn't really sort the issue out either as I couldn't source all the items I had in mind from one store so the price was ramping up with postage costs along with complexity. Then I had another obvious thought - a trip to Ethica in Plymouth would sort it out! So that is exactly what we did on the spur of the moment one Saturday afternoon; after all it was a good excuse for us to take a trip there for ourselves too!
The shelves at Ethica are so stocked full of the less available vegan supplies and treats that it took very little time to get a basketful. It was actually hard choosing between some things. In the end I chose Teese Creamy Cheddar Cheese Sauce, a packet each of ravioli and gnocchi, a packet of vital wheat gluten (so she can experiment with making seitan) and a jar of ready made seitan (so she knows what it can taste like!), a couple of cartons of Rebel Mylk, 3 Primal Strips and a vegan snack sausage, a bottle of Really Chilli Mayo, a Thumbs Up bar and a Buccaneer bar, a Round Up Waggon Wheel and a lovely bar of Matcha Green Tea White Chocolate. The latter I had to prevent Phil on several occasions from nicking from the basket as he loves it so much!
I had a basket already I could use as well as cellophane and a ribbon - all up-cycled basically and I knew that Jane would appreciate that too. All in the whole hamper cost just over £35 and every single item was new to Jane. Ethica certainly came to the rescue and all was assembled in one single afternoon in the end.
Vegan hamper makers take note - sometimes it is easier, cheaper and a whole lot more exciting to make up your own vegan hamper offering. If you aren't fortunate enough to live within a reasonable distance of an exciting vegan retailer then you could even take things a step further by actually making the food within the hamper (although that might be a bit of a mission but would be full of even more vegan love and inspiration!).