Fleur De Leigh
*Public Service Announcement* There is a BRAND NEW vegan shop called Fleur De Leigh that is situated in the heart of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Last weekend I made it down to this new vegan shop and I'm so glad I did. This place opened a few weeks ago but already I had seen a lot of positive hype about it on some local vegan pages, so a venture to Leigh was soon on the cards. Fleur De Leigh is a completely vegan wine, beer, cider, cheese, cake and pie shop, including some free coffee with your cake. Now, just take a moment to take all that goodness in because it took me some time. I was really interested to see what the shop was like and of course I was REALLY looking forward to trying the cake!
We walked in to be greeted by Audrey, the lovely lady who owns the newly opened Fleur De Leigh and a very warm welcome it was too. Audrey took us through what was on offer in the shop and she was only too happy to answer any questions I had. To the left we could see a wall of spirits and wines, all vegan (amazing). To the right there was a double fridge full of vegan beers, ales, larger's, ciders and soft drinks including Fentimans (my favourite!). To the right of the wall of alcohol there was a fridge filled with vegan cake, cheese and spread. I was really happy to see they were stocking Nutcrafter Creamery cheese and spread, this is one of my favourite brands of vegan cheese and one of the tastiest out there in my opinion. Fleur De Leigh is also now stocking Ananda's Waggon Wheels and marshmallows which is excellent! If you haven't tried them you HIGHLY recommend it, they are by far some of the yummiest treats I have ever had and the marshmallow blows any gelatine marshmallow out of the water.
When looking from the outside this looks like a fairly small shop, but once you go in there's much more to it, we sat on a little table in the middle section but there is also a big bench and table near the back of the shop. Further to that, there is a lovely cute little garden out the back (please see picture above) which Audrey has big plans for. There is a little fire stove out there too and I definitely heard Audrey say marshmallows, Halloween and Christmas in the same sentence - watch this space!
Cake wise there is a lot on offer, which as you can imagine I was thrilled about. There were various cupcakes and slices available, I went with a chocolate and raspberry cupcake and Dan went for a coffee cupcake. I don't usually go for a chocolatey cake but the buttercream topping looked TOO GOOD to say no to. This cake was delicious, really spongy and most importantly, REALLY chocolatey. It really hit the spot, you don't often find vegan cakes in supermarkets (or if you do, they don't taste amazing), especially at this high standard so it was really nice to have one as luxurious as this one. This all went down nicely with a strong black coffee, Audrey has some soya milk pots available if you prefer a milky coffee too. These coffee's are actually free with a cake purchase and if you want another one the cost is only 50p. Dan told me that his coffee cake was really delicious and the coffee wasn't too overwhelming, just right. So, top marks for the cake all round!
While I was at Fleur De Leigh I had a lovely chat with Audrey, It was really nice to learn why she started this business and her particular choices in what foods and drinks she stocked. Audrey wanted to encompass foods that she really craved living a vegan lifestyle. Audrey also mentioned that she wanted the very BEST of these foods which involved a bit of research to find the real connoisseur's of cheese, cake and pie making. Audrey also pointed out her hopes to stock more organic and sulphate free wines in the future once some old stock is gone which is great. If there is anything that you want specifically why not get in touch with Audrey and see if she can help you.
It really is delightful to see a shop like this pop up, this shop is not just for vegans - it's great for everyone. Most people enjoy cake or alcohol (mostly both), so even if you're not vegan - pop in and see what's on offer. It's really lovely to support a local business too, even though this shop has only been open a few weeks, it has evolved a lot already by adding more vegan goodies to its stock and I know Audrey has some plans up her sleeve. I look forward to seeing this business thrive and indeed, making many more purchases myself in the future.