Afternoon tea for vegan guests staying at Wheatland Farm

Guests coming to Wheatland Farm this summer are asking where they can get a vegan cream tea. So we’ve started the search…

…with limited success for actual scones, sadly. But afternoon tea does seem to be on offer. Here’s what we’ve come up with so far. Please tell us about your experiences, so we can advise other guests at Wheatland Farm and keep up to date ourselves.

Exeter, being a city, probably has the most varied vegan offerings:

The Plant Cafe, 1 Cathedral Yard Exeter. A vegetarian cafe/deli with plenty of vegan options. No vegan cream tea though. They said try:

Hidden Treasure Tea Room, Fore Street, Exeter. The website offers a vegan afternoon tea – not sure if that includes scones and ‘cream’. Slightly more expensive than their standard offering, but this looks like a lovely place. No card payments.

Those familiar with Exeter might expect to see the Real Food Cafe at the library on this list – but sadly it’s closing.

You might also try Rabbit – Vegan Cafe in Exeter, 07754 097026 at 3 Well Street, EX4 6QR. We sent them an email asking about cream tea equivalents, but they’ve not got back to us yet. Think they were on holiday.

Outside Exeter, and sometimes closer to Wheatland Farm

Mooplehog Vegan Cafe, Okehampton, 5 West Street (about 12 miles from Wheatland Farm) EX20 1HQ. Lots of cakes and good things. 07806 770926.

Our own favourite cafe, One Market Street/Cafe du Ville in Hatherleigh, has some vegan dishes, but not cakes yet, sadly.

Griffin’s Yard Health Food Store and Cafe, South Molton (about 15 miles from Wheatland Farm). A small selection of vegan ‘fridge cakes’ formed of fruit and nuts, and a vegan fruit flapjack.

Treat Time,  7, Bridge Buildings, The Square, Barnstaple EX32 8LW offers gluten free scones, but not vegan. They do have vegan Italian style ice cream though. Shuts at 4pm. Barnstaple is about 20 miles from Wheatland Farm and can be part of a big bike day out on the Tarka Trail.

John’s Deli, on the sea front in Instow (about 25 miles from Wheatland Farm) does a a vegan flap jack, a lemon and vanilla cake, but no vegan scones (gluten free though). The Virtuous Vegan Deli Board lunch sounded nice though – a sort of vegan ploughmans. They can make up sandwiches too. Instow is another stop on a Tarka Trail day out.

The Grass Roots Vegetarian Cafe in Ilfracombe could be a useful resource on a possible coastal day out (about 30 miles from Wheatland Farm but Ilfracombe offers beaches and Damien Hirst’s Verity statue – or even a boat trip from the harbour). However, they didn’t answer the phone or respond to our email. 97 High Street, Ilfracombe. 01271867574.

And our own Wheatland Farm vegan offerings?

We usually make vegan chocolate cup cakes for vegan guests (at least if we know your requirements in advance).

It’s an old fashioned recipe that uses oil rather than butter/marg and skips the egg in favour of vinegar and baking powder (don’t worry, it tastes like cake not chips!).

This is our choice because it avoids using margarine, which almost invariably contains palm oil. A few years ago we switched all our Wheatland Farm scones to a full butter recipe, both to avoid cheap overseas cooking fats and their often ignored environmental impacts and to support British farming. And in 2019 we stopped buying palm oil completely within our own household, right down to shampoos.

Yes, we appreciate the argument for sustainable palm oil, but feel much of what is labeled doesn’t really deserve that title. We think the vegan lifestyle is an excellent route to less impact on the planet, and we eat a lot of vegan food, but rather than adopt veganism in total our approach is to keep environmental impacts ‘where we can see them’ and decide case by case. Food ethics are so complicated – but also empowering!