Since beginning my journey as The Gluten Free Suitcase in March, my discoveries have not only included the ever-expanding variety of gluten free options on offer to us today, but the widening choices for those who follow a dairy free, vegetarian or vegan diet too. As most of you will have noticed, a lot of brands now create gluten, dairy and egg free products, including Schar and large UK supermarkets such as Sainsburys and Tesco, thus making it easier to source products friendly and fit for everyone, no matter what their diet.
However, having spoken to a number of vegans based in London and beyond, there are still limits when it comes to eating out and sourcing food “to go” or food to eat in restaurants and markets – the latter of which seem to have taken over the capital in the last two years. Imagine my excitement, therefore, when I stumbled across an entirely gluten free and vegan Italian hot food stall at this month’s Feast Market in South London.
When I had finally pulled myself together, I approached to find out what Vegan for Non Vegan was offering. I was met by Luca and his wife Sarita who created this business together just this year. Since starting to exhibit at West Norwood Feast, the couple always offer a selection of pastas, including the ever-popular gnocchi, which are cooked up fresh in front of you, and topped with fresh homemade sauces of your choosing. The team also go the extra mile to make sure that patrons can enjoy a fresh side salad, bursting with leaves and freshly steamed vegetables and all topped with freshly made salad dressing, usually with a vegan mayonnaise base. The team plan to create a gluten free and vegan lasagne for future Feast and local South London markets. I opted for the fresh gnocchi and requested a mixture of sauces, which I would highly recommend to anyone visiting in future.
Vegan for Non Vegan may be a very young business, but this does not stop the duo from having high hopes and aspirations. “The reason I started this business is my wife, and my love for her,” Luca, who is gluten intolerant himself, told me. “Every time we would be invited out with friends or go to a restaurant, the only options available were salads, rice or a simple pasta al pomodoro,” he said. The couple were also shocked at the limited offering at street markets, where vegan-friendly food often lacking in flavour was on the menu. It was then that Luca decided to put his background as a chef back into use and start offering delicious yet simple Italian vegan food for local Londoners. “I want people to understand that veganism doesn’t have to be boring and that it’s not all about salad and falafel,” he said.
Since starting up, Luca and Sarita, who are kept busy by their day jobs, have worked hard to bring fresh flavours to local South London street markets in their spare time. “We also are expanding to cater weddings and parties,” he confirmed, which will be good news for anyone looking to meet all these dietary requisites on their big day.
I advise you to all keep your eyes peeled for this fabulous duo who make vegan, gluten free food with love and care not only for flavour and freshness, but for each other.
Vegan for Non Vegan will appear at West Norwood Feast on the first Sunday of each month. Follow them on Facebook for further announcements and scheduled Pop-Ups.