Marchpane and Medlar
I don't remember how I came across Marchpane and Medlar now, but putting this post together has moved me heaps!
Jenny explains why the company was created, she talks about her 'mission', her passion, her activities, how she's changed for the better and how aligned and established her beliefs are! I am so chuffed that Plant Shift is able to feature this post and share Jenny's journey.
What does Marchpane and Medlar specialise in selling?
Vegan delights! We specialise in sweet vegan treats, especially bespoke wedding cakes, but also other celebration cakes, favours and personalised sweet buffets which include yummy desserts and handmade chocolates. In addition, we offer a catering service with a range of internationally inspired canapés, artisan breads and fresh seasonal salads. We don’t want anyone to be left out of the party and can cater for special dietary requirements such as food allergies and intolerances.
All our products are made using only plant-based ingredients, so they are totally animal free. Our concern for issues around food production extends to sustainable and fair practice. Therefore we use fairtrade, organic, seasonal and locally grown produce wherever possible. T
his is a great opportunity for us to support grassroots fairtrade projects such as Café Rebelde coffee grown by Zapatista communities in Mexico and Zaytoun Palestinian olive oil. This follows on from solidarity work we’ve done with such communities in the past.
Where is Marchpane and Medlar based?
We're in Bristol and the South-West.
Do you focus on catering large events or can individuals order from you for smaller affairs?
We mainly focus on events such as weddings but any size event is great!
Do Marchpane and Medlar serve locally or can others who are further away access your products too? If so, how?
At the moment we’re just serving locally, although we’re considering using mail order for chocolates and maybe cupcakes.
What inspired you to create a business that mainly focuses on vegan cakes, desserts and other treats?
We have to admit to being shamefully sweet toothed and we've always been a bit dotty about cakes! We love designing them, baking them, decorating them, eating them or just drooling over them! Cake is one of the best ways to express the loveliest of sentiments – whether as a way to celebrate a special occasion, to say thank you or to show someone you love them.
As the centerpiece of a celebration, they’re a great way to promote veganism by showcasing something extra special.
We aim to make an impact, turn heads and provide a talking point!
It’s possible to express a lot of creativity and artistic flair in cakes and we particularly love the modeling, sculpting and handpainting aspects of our work.
We don’t want anyone to miss out on having their dream cake just because they’re vegan. That’s what we’re here for. You can quite literally have your cake and eat it! On top of that, it’s always a bonus when non-vegan guests genuinely enjoy our food and don’t even realise it didn’t contain animal products!
A couple of vegan heroes whose work has definitely given us an inspirational boost along the way are the massively talented Toni Rodríguez at Lujuria Vegana (vegan pâtisserie at its very best!) and of course, the diva herself, Isa Chandra Moskowitz at the Post Punk Kitchen.
How easy is it for Marchpane and Medlar to source cruelty free ingredients for your products?
We source our ingredients from excellent suppliers such as Essential Trading, so it’s really easy! They’re a worker co-operative based in Bristol specialising in sustainable and ethical wholefoods, and cruelty free and ecological products.
Do these ingredients affect the outcome in comparison with non plant-based cakes and desserts?
In our opinion, plant-based cakes and desserts are every bit as delicious as those based on animal ingredients – they’re often even better! Not to mention generally being better for your health. Rather than veganism being a limiting factor, we find it generates greater ingenuity and originality. You never know what new recipe it will lead to you develop next!
For someone who hasn't tasted any of your items before, and is indecisive about what to buy; is there a popular one you can name?
Everyone loves cupcakes! They are very popular.
Is Marchpane and Medlar owned by, or in partnership with, another company that tests on animals or sell non-vegan products?
No way! Marchpane & Medlar is totally independent and veganism is at the very core of our ethos. Benefiting from animal suffering is something we’re simply not prepared to be involved in.
Tell me a bit about yourself before you launched this company?
I became a vegan 23 years ago after reading about intensive factory farming for a school project. I’m sure at the time my family thought it was some kind of phase I was going through! However, I knew this would be my way of life for the rest of my life and I’ve never looked back. I absolutely love being vegan!
Cooking and baking are amongst my greatest passions and being vegan is definitely responsible for making me more creative with food, explore further and generally push the boundaries. I’ve built up experience working in some great veggie/vegan restaurants over the years, the most recent being the Treetop Café at the Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall in 2012 and 2013.
I have a background in animal rights activism but have also campaigned on environmental and social justice issues. I love growing my own organic vegetables and foraging wild plants.
What is your vision for the future of this company?
We’re still just starting out, but when we’re a little more established it would be great to join forces with other vegan bakers and cake artists and form a small worker co-operative.
Our ultimate vision is to show the world the delights of vegan cuisine. We hope this will promote the concept of a cruelty free lifestyle from a positive approach – the carrot rather than the stick! We aim to be ambassadors for food produced ethically and sustainably. We believe one of the best ways to do this is to allow the food to speak for itself by showcasing striking, vibrant and stylish creations. The mission is simple: banish the myth that vegan food is dull!