Travelling to inner city Melbourne to eat vegan gluten-free food at Wholey Day in a not-for-profit arts community setting is a warming way to spend a Sunday morning. Though, getting there early is the key to experiencing this wholefoods, raw, vegan, organic, and gluten-free market.
Schoolhouse Studios, in their words, offers ‘affordable workspaces to for emerging artists and creative businesses in inner city Melbourne’, and this vision extends to the emerging foodies and food-makers around town. This seasonal market is the therefore the result of Melbourne’s increasing demand for locally-sourced wholefood choices. For me, local vegan gluten-free options are the priority.
Thankfully, arriving early was the one of many great choices made on the day. A $2 donation upon entry gave me an open pass to wander inside and discover new foods and treats. I was even handed a cardboard tray so I could wander and buy as I pleased. In hindsight, I should’ve brought along my own container to save on wastage; a mental note for next time.
Once I entered, it was clear that the demand for vegan food is a promising reality. In some spots within the main thoroughfare, it was tricky to manoeuvre around people while viewing and salivating over the food on offer. As a vegan gluten-free traveller, I’m discovering that the food choices are greatly reduced when gluten-free is added into the mix. Decisions thus needed to be made quickly, to beat the crowd (Wholey Day featured a fair bit of lacto-ovo vegetarian options, too, which I didn’t expect). Though sometimes, reduced choices allows for the cream of the crop to emerge resulting in decision-making made easier. It meant that on Wholey Day my scrumptious choices were narrowed down to two favoured vendors.
Good Freakin Food were able to provide my lunch choices easily. As much as it was fun to wander past each food stall, it was a relief knowing I could purchase my wholesome lunch in the one spot (potentially reducing my chances of cross-contamination in the process). Good Freakin Food proved to be a one-stop shop of sorts when selling me their plant-based ‘lunchbox’ items. A wholesome vegetable egg-free and dairy-free frittata loaded with tomato, mushroom and spinach, standing tall in its baking paper casing caught my eye. It was a delight to peel back the paper and chew into this spongy, easy to eat lunch item to relieve the mid-afternoon hunger pains.
Alongside it, purchasing Good Freakin Food’s spiced veggie samosa was an obvious choice – chickpeas and diced vegetable samosa filling cocooned in its crispy and flaky pastry, all delicately warmed and ready to eat as is. As their postcard flyer suggested, this is definitely eating and giving a damn. (As an aside, Good Freakin Food also runs a lunchtime delivery service for inner city Melbourne vegans, too. If only I lived and worked a little more closely to the city!)
Nine Bakery & Patisserie were next on my wandering radar, ready for me to choose and purchase one of their gorgeous cupcakes for dessert. The baking expertise of this local business spans over 50 years across three generations and it’s incredible to see bakers with such long-standing experience mastering the art of vegan gluten-free baking for the current demands in Melbourne cuisine. Their vegan gluten-free maple syrup cupcake confirmed this. A moist sponge cupcake base flavoured by a maple syrup topping sliding down the creases of a rich, creamy cinnamon-spiced icing patiently piped atop; adding a little scrumptious luxury to this day of whole-liness.
Together with a sweet and peppery turmeric latte purchased nearby, while sitting in the cosy courtyard with friends, I couldn’t help but whisper an ‘amen’ to the spoils found and bought at Wholey Day. Bring on the next event and the next coming of vegan gluten-free goodness, I say!
Wholey Day was held at Schoolhouse Studios, 81 Rupert Street Collingwood Victoria 3066 on Sunday April 2 from 10am until all food items sold.
All food items purchased and entry fee were paid for in full by me.
Vendors accepted a mix of card and cash payment options so it’s best to take both with you.
For full updates on future Wholey Day events, you can visit the Wholey Day Facebook page.