Whether you’re a long-term committed vegan or if you’re just stepping into it for the first time, Currant Affairs is a Leicester must visit.
As Veganuary rolls around again throughout January there’s never been more demand for tasty vegan options. Currant Affairs is a Leicester institution and way ahead of the curve, they were selling their own vegan sausage roll way before Greggs got a sniff of it.
We caught up with them for this week’s BID Spotlight to find out how you can still enjoy all they have to offer during lockdown.
As lockdown returns, how can customers continue to enjoy everything from Currant Affairs?
Throughout this unusual period of time we have continued to be open as much as possible and we will continue to do so for as long as we can. When the first lockdown was announced we took a step back for a few weeks to reset, with the help of the team and the support of their partners we managed to build a website, some new display shelves for our window and a new counter with a protective screen. So we are now open in our “new normal” way and serve customers their shop items and takeaway from our counter at the front door.
We have also been providing home deliveries and collections throughout Leicester and Leicestershire with all the information on our website www.currantaffairs.co.uk
What are some of your favourite items you sell?
Oooh this is a really hard question to answer as we like all of the things we sell 🙂 On the takeaway savouries the firm favourites with the customers are our handmade sausage rolls, the jackfruit burrito and daily soup as well as the lovely samosas we have made for us. All our cakes and treats are also freshly handmade in our little kitchen and the lemon cake and banana and walnut cake are firm favourites for many.
From the shop shelves I couldn’t be without Marigold Braised Tofu or the Plamil Chocolate Spread, and the current customer favourite is definitely the Love Raw wafer bar (think vegan Kinder Beuno).
We also try to stock and promote a lot of smaller vegan independent companies from across the country and are looking into focusing more on this for the years ahead 🙂
For anyone who’s doing Veganuary and trying a vegan lifestyle for the first time, what tips do you have and what particular items do you recommend?
Veganuary is such a great way to start your vegan journey. For anyone trying to adapt to a more plant based diet, eat more vegan meals or become fully vegan our top tip would be to just start trying, make little changes each day and if you make a mistake or slip a little don’t worry, keep making more conscious choices about the things you buy and work out a way that works best for you long term. Being imperfectly vegan is a great too.
Top products for starting out are Nooch (nutritional yeast with added B12), and a few easy ready meals like Suma’s tinned Ravioli. Having good easy snacks and meals on hand at home really makes it easier when you are starting out. Oh and we all LOVE Oatly Barrista and Minor Figures oat milks for tea and coffee.
The vegan way of life has become so much more mainstream in the last year or 2, why do you think that is?
When we took the shop fully vegan 5 years ago we were a little worried it would be too niche for Leicester so we have been really enjoying watching the journey of veganism into mainstream stores and brands over the last few years. It’s really amazing to have so much choice out there. It’s hard to pinpoint the starting point for this change in attitudes but I’m sure social media has played a part. Lots of people are paying more attention to what they consume and where it comes from for environmental, globalisation and animal welfare reasons and we think that in general people just want to live in a more caring and conscious way, which veganism can be seen to be.
You did the vegan sausage roll a long time before Greggs jumped on board, how does yours compare?
Currant Affairs has been making vegan sausage rolls since it was first founded but it’s great to see vegan sausage available more widely across the country and it’s undeniable that the success of Greggs made the bigger companies out there step up and pay attention to the growing vegan market. BUT they can’t compare to our handmade secret recipe layered with flavour and made with love by people who really care about why we are doing what we do.
For anyone who’s never visited Currant Affairs, how would you describe the shop?
We are an independent community minded shop with our focus being to provide an old school shopping experience, long term stable employment and a welcoming access point to veganism for those who are vegan, veggie or curious. Our customers describe us as cute and friendly!
The last year has been tough, how challenging has it been as a city centre based independent?
It’s been really tough, we are very grateful to be able to be able to be open (as an essential business). We think it’s really important to be here to provide an extra safe space for people to walk to, have a moment of friendly conversation while they shop (or just stop to say hello) and for us as the team it’s been great to have something to focus on.
We wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for the grants, furlough scheme and support of our loyal customer base. All the team have pulled together to adapt what we do and keep each other positive and spread that positivity outwards.
Where can people find out more and order online?
We are on social media and you can follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We also have our website www.currantaffairs.co.uk with all the information about ordering and lists of what we stock. If anyone has any questions we are always happy to try and help and you can email us [email protected], send us a message via social media or phone us on 0116 251 0887.
Our BID Spotlight features are brought to you in collaboration with BID Leicester.