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Five Years Vegan: Happy Veganniversary To Us!

Gemma and Roy the Pig lying in a field at Deans Farm Trust Charity Farm

TL;DR CAPITALIST FRIENDLY VERSION: We went vegan five years ago and still have a business. WOOHOO! Celebrate by exchanging some money for discounted brownies: get 20% off when you order online with offer code VEGANUARY20 til 31st January.

Happy Veganniversary to us!

It’s Dark Matters’ 5th Veganniversary! January 2017 I finally finished the transition from being a milk ‘n’ eggs bakery, to being 100% vegan. I spent almost two years testing, researching and slowly (and secretly) moving more products over to vegan versions. It’s one of the scariest business decisions I’ve ever had to make, but also the easiest Cos if I hadn’t, or it didn’t work out, Dark Matters would be no more.
So here’s to still being here and busier than ever 5 years later!

When we started in 2013, having a business that only sold brownies was uncommon. In fact, I think we were one of the first ‘just brownies’ businesses in the country?? So making the business even more niche just wasn’t on my radar. It was hard enough trying to get people to understand why I was just selling brownies. I remember during my first market someone asking if they were bread-pudding :’)

As our events started picking up and I was baking more and more, I very quickly realised that our consumption of ingredients was quickly increasing. First doubling, then tripling, and it was clear that this was only going to increase. Anybody who watches our Stories has probably picked up on the fact that I’m a bit of an overthinker. So this weighed on my mind – particularly the amount of eggs I was getting through.

I was a meat eater and dairy consumer at the time, and always had been. But something about both industries always sat uncomfortably with me. It left me feeling weird/guilty/icky, but I wasn’t sure why. I figured if I was going on a path where as a business I’d be actively participating in funding these industries, it was my responsibility to know exactly where every single ingredient came from.

I had to ask all the awkward questions so I could look customers in the eye each week at markets and tell them about how ace our products are. So that’s what I did!

AND. IT. WAS. HARD.

Oooooh boy.

Awkward questions are awkward.

Especially when you’re asking them to lovely friendly egg farmers you know from lovely friendly Dorset markets. And they’ve been doing those lovely friendly markets for decades and they’ve only just started accepting me into their crowd, as a young whippersnapper. ‘And now she’s asking WHAT??’

Honestly I’m getting second hand cringe now. But it had to be done.

Without going into the nitty gritty, as soon as I found out…

a) that cows need to be/have been pregnant in order to produce milk, and
b) what happens to male chicks when they’ve been hatched (because they can’t produce eggs)

…that was it.

I went to VegFest Brighton in Spring 2015 and met up with a couple of super people I knew from markets in Bournemouth, and immersed myself in KNOWING ALL THE THINGS. Honestly, if you’ve seen the film A Clockwork Orange you’ll know what I’m talking about. It was painful, and I went in with a logical and rational brain, but I basically went vegan overnight.

It took another 2 years of me figuring out what the eff I was going to feed myself, and what the eff I was going to make my brownies out of. By this point, brownies were my only source of income and the main ingredients were now unavailable to me.

I wanted to finally transition to being a 100% vegan owned, 100% vegan business, and make our dEbUt at Vegan Life Live January 2017. It was tough, but I did it!

There were a lot of mistakes (why does nobody tell you that salt and vinegar crisps have milk in them??). There were some very, VERY dodgy recipes (thank you customers who were kind enough to say you could taste chickpeas when I was testing aquafaba). But I’m pretty bloody pleased with how I did, and today I am so proud to be a part of the small vegan business community.

And look what we’ve done!

It’s mind blowing to see vegan products E V E R Y W H E R E now. Especially in January, and all the Big Boi corporations frothing at the mouth for our ‘green pounds’. And whilst I’m not going to rush to try out whatever vegan menu MaccyDs are churning out, I still think that if they’re making room for vegan products on their menu, then that’s less room for animal products, which hopefully means fewer animals being harmed.

When people seeing vegan food alongside ‘regular’ food, it normalises it. And so those people who always felt ‘a bit icky’ about animal products will find it easier to just decide they don’t want to eat food that makes them feel weird, low-level guilt. So hopefully they’ll make the switch. And this will increase demand. And so on and so forth.

I’m absolutely chuffed to bits that I not only still have a business, but one that is growing exponentially! Which I don’t think would’ve happened if I wasn’t able to stand by my products and feel 100% confident that every single ingredient we buy is the best.

That means every Dark Matters ingredient is the most ethical, environmentally friendly, cruelty free, fairly traded, palm oil free and organic/gmo free ingredient I can source at that time. Everybody makes mistakes, and we aren’t perfect by ANY stretch, but the integrity is there, and we’re totally committed to being the greenest, ethical, vegan business we can be. We are constantly looking at ways to improve the way we operate and minimise our environmental impact, for the sake of our planet and every being on it. Captain Planet OUT.

-Gem



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Sod January, eat brownies. Vegan brownies by post!

Dark Matters Vegan Brownie Gift Box

Use the discount code VEGANUARY20 for 20% off in our online shop for the rest of Veganuary 2022! Just a little Veganuary motivation for you…

To stay up to date with the latest updates, offers and discounts from Dark Matters, sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this post!

Vegan brownies by post

Christmas is over, New Year’s Eve sort of came and went in a weird, semi-locked down kinda way. Maybe you celebrated, maybe you stayed home hiding away from it all. Either way, I’m guessing we could all use a little pick me up right now. Here it is: it’s Veganuary, and the perfect excuse to order vegan brownies by post

Our little bakery (Gemma) is taking a well deserved break after the madness that was Christmas / 2021 / 2020 / life. But she’s preparing the mixer, firing up the oven and getting ready to bake the best vegan brownies in Bristol / the UK / the WORLD.

Order online now

We will be processing orders from 19th January 2022 when we return from a well earned break. However, you can get your orders in now. You can order online for delivery and get to the head of the queue – just take a mooch round our online shop by clicking here.

Vegan brownie delivery doesn’t get much better than this. Check out our Baker’s Choice selection box. ‘Baker’s Choice’ means best sellers! We’ve put together a delicious brownie selection box with our decadent dark delights, certain to woo any recipient.

Vegan gifts under £10

If you’re brownie shopping on a budget this time of year we’ve got some goodies for you. We’ve got lots of yummy goodies for less than £10 so you can still get your choccy fix.

Truffle Balls – Salted Caramel or Raspberry.

We take your fave salted caramel or raspberry brownie, add a bunch more delicious flavour in either raspberry or caramel form. Then we dip it in perfectly tempered chocolate, to give it an irresistible chocolate snap when you bite into it. Et voila! Chunky bites of brownie ball goodness. You can order a bag of five for just £6.

If we’re going to indulge, let’s go all the way here. Why not wash it all down with a rich, dark mug of luxury vegan hot chocolate and marshmallows? A 250g bag is just £7 and comes with a generous helping of Dandies vegan marshmallows.



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Veganuary: 4 reasons to try going vegan

Veganuary Logo

Use the discount code VEGANUARY20 for 20% off in our online shop for the rest of Veganuary 2022! Just a little Veganuary motivation for you…

To stay up to date with the latest updates, offers and discounts from Dark Matters, sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of this post!

What is Veganuary?

Veganuary is an opportunity for anyone and everyone to try out veganism for the month of January. It’s a 31 day challenge that invites people to cut out all animal products for the first month of the year.

That means no meat, dairy, or any product that has been created using animal products for a whole month. Don’t worry, it’s soooo much easier than you might think. And you can still eat brownies.

What’s the point of Veganuary?

You might think go hard or go home – just go vegan and get on with it! But veganism can be a big decision for a lot of people, so Veganuary can give that motivation to give it a go. It’s a great opportunity to get a little push to test the vegan waters.

Hopefully each year more and more people will get involved, learn about the huge impact veganism can have, and stick with the vegan lifestyle.

Why go vegan?

Everyone has their own reasons, but from our perspective there are four main reasons to shout about…

Go vegan for the ENVIRONMENT

Changing your diet can be the easiest and most effective way to combat climate change. Switching to a plant based diet “could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent”.

Go vegan for ANIMALS

Ethically speaking this is a fairly straightforward one, no? Going vegan means your lifestyle won’t be contributing to animal cruelty and the death and torture of animals. Simple.

Animal Aid have got a great article, here, which explains how even “high welfare” farms are part of the problem.

Go vegan for HEALTH

A vegan diet generally includes a lot of fruit and vegetables – this can’t be bad for your health. Foods like red meat and cheese contain a lot of saturated fat. By eliminating these foods, a vegan diet can contribute to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Of course a balanced diet is important no matter whether you’re vegan or not. That’s not to say you can’t treat yourself to the odd  brownie every now and then!

Go vegan for FUN

Finding new products, trying out new recipes, experimenting with ingredients you might not have tried before. It’s fun, it’s delicious and with more and more vegan products on the market every day, it’s actually pretty easy!



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Our vegan brownie web shop is OPEN for orders…

Dark Matters Vegan Brownie Gift Box

…but please be aware that any orders we receive from 22.12.21 will be fulfilled from 19.01.22. We’re taking a well earned break after all the festive madness! But we will process, bake and ship your orders when we return from 19th January 2022.

Order updates

If you’re placing an order you will receive email confirmation that we’ve received your order. We use DHL tracked shipping for our website orders, so when your order has been dispatched in January, you’ll hear from them too.

Once your order has been shipped from 19th January, DHL will send you an email with dispatch and tracking information. Keep your eyes on your inbox for delivery updates.

If you have any queries, please just email and we’ll be happy to help!

Veganuary

If you’re taking part in Veganuary and looking for vegan brownie delivery, you can still get your Dark Matters brownie fix.

Place your order now, and you’ll still get a good week or two to indulge in a selection of our dairy-free vegan friendly treats for the second half of Veganuary.

Order online

Browse our online shop to find all your plant based favourites, and hopefully a few new treats for you to try! If you’re looking for something nutty, fruity, dark, dense, fudgy – I’m pretty sure we’ve got most bases covered. We’ve got brownies, we’ve got brownie truffle balls, we’ve got hot chocolate with marshmallows – and it’s all vegan!

Reviews

If you’re looking for the best plant based brownies, Dark Matters is where it’s at! Then again, we would say that… So don’t just take our word for it. Have a read of some of our customer reviews, like this one:

“These brownies are glorious and absolutely HUGE, even managed to put some in the freezer for later! The best brownies I’ve had since going vegan… and as good (if not better) than their non-vegan counterparts.”

Enough said.



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ROMEO DONE. 2021 Christmas orders: delivered

Gemma eating a Dark Matters Christmas brownie

All 2021 Dark Matters brownies have been delivered! Here’s an end of year message from Brownie Queen, Gemma. I guess it’s a bit like our version of the Queen’s speech, but with more vegan brownies and more swearing…

All orders have shipped!

All orders are on their merry ol’ way and *should* be delivered by now. I just slept for 12 solid hours. Check your email for tracking. If you want to stash goodies away for Christmas POP THEM IN’T FRIDGE M8.

Thank you thank you thank you

Thank you so much everyone who ordered online or popped to our event stall. And thank you if you’ve just been your sexy supportive selves over the last 12 months. It’s honestly been some of the hardest times in my decade+ of attempting to be a business owner. Mainly cos when things got tough before it would be 👋 bye Felicia! 👋 But despite the rollercoaster of chaos we’re still here, and busier (and more stubborn/determined) than ever.

I’ve never been a ‘New Year Fresh Start’ type of person – pessimism FTW. 2022 has the potential to be another sack of sh*t. BUT we’re heading into our ninth year and I got some big planz on the horizon. So if you still want what we do, in the fun/slightly unhinged fashion we do it in, then we’ll still be here to push it 🖤

I swear this was meant to sound positive, but cutesy end of year messages make me want to barf 😌😇

I’m off now for.a bit. I need to re-learn how to be a human and not a brownie android that’s only programmed to say “I’M STRESSED” / “I’M TIRED” in 30 second intervals.

Srsly though, I’ve seen so many amazingly talented friends’ businesses fold in the last two years. So the fact I still have a business to be stressed and tired from is amazing.

So, yeah. I LOVE YOU. THANK U AGAIN. YOU’RE THE ACTUAL BEST. IF ANYONE TELLS U DIFFERENT SEND THEM MY WAY AND I’LL BOFF ‘EM OUT

Merry end of December time 🖤🌲

Gem xxx



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Last minute Christmas shopping? It’s not too late!

Dark Matters Festive Spiced Orange Whisky Christmas Vegan Brownie Next To Holly and Glass of Whisky

Last chance for Christmas delivery

Don’t hang about with your Christmas shopping mind – we only have a handful of boxes left, and our last dispatch day is MONDAY 20th. Get those orders in before we sell out!

Festive Baker’s Choice

It’s your last chance to nab our limited edition Festive Brownies – only made once a year…

  • ‘Everything’ Brownie (Pretzel, Triple Choc & Christmas Cookie)
  • Spiced Orange Whisky
  • Bah Humbug! Mint Choc Chip
  • Strawberry Champagne (Gluten Free recipe)
  • Hazelnut Praline (GF)
  • Chai Latte (GF)

Click here to get your order in and get ’em before they’re gone!

Gift Vouchers

Last minute Christmas shopping? Get a Dark Matters gift voucher emailed to you within 24 hours of your order – ready for you to print and pop in a card or forward electronically.

The easiest gifts are ones they’ve picked themselves. Order your Dark Matters gift voucher HERE, and let them decide!

Classic Baker’s Choice

Can’t decide? We’ll do it! Choose our Classic Baker’s Choice vegan brownie box to receive one of each of the following (two if you choose a box of 12):

  • Salty Dog: Salted Caramel Swirl
  • The Purist: Double Choc Cacao
  • Captain Chunk: Triple Choc Chunk
  • The Prince: Raspberry Double Choc
  • New Yorker: Peanut Butter Swirl
  • Portland: Coffee, Caramel & Pecan

Order your Classic Baker’s Choice vegan brownie box HERE

🖤 THANK YOU! 🖤

Just wanted to take a sec to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! to everyone who has shown support, placed orders (and repeat orders 😍), said Hi at markets, been friendly on social media or just generally been ace in our proximity during another thoroughly chaotic year. 

To us small biz guys support isn’t just nice, it’s the difference between surviving another year or not, and we appreciate every single one of you. There is no Dark Matters without you. So as we head into our ninth year (wait…NINTH YEAR?!? 🤯) we want to say MASSIVE BIG THANK YOU for shopping small, keepin’ it local, shopping indie, and genuinely making a difference with how you choose to splash your hard earned cash.

LOVE YA – G x



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Weston-super-Mare: Rounding off one helluva year

Dark Matters Market Stall at Weston-Super-Mare

Weston-Super-Mare

Eat:Festivals’ next event in Weston-super-Mare will be our last event of the year. Sunday 12th December 2021, Gemma will be wrapping up warm in Weston and topping the year off with one final market. 

Rounding off a chaotic but brilliantly busy year, Gemma will be setting up shop at eat:Weston from 10am-4pm. So come along to eat:Weston for one final chance to grab some festive goodies from Gemma in person.

If you’re looking to reserve boxes or order gift wrapped goodies, just give us a shout beforehand and she’ll do her best to sort you out.

As is the case for most small businesses and market traders this time of year, Gemma’s rushed off her little feet. But she’s a grafter, and will no doubt still be smiling. Go and give her a socially distanced hug, whatever that is.

In return, Gemma will have all sorts of gorgeous vegan brownie treats for you, whether you’re Christmas shopping or just treating yourself. Check out our online shop to get an idea of what’s in store.

Don’t forget, all of our brownies are totally freezer friendly. That means you can buy them now, pop them in the freezer, then defrost them under the Christmas tree in time for Christmas Day. No more last minute Christmas shopping chaos.

Online Christmas orders

For the rest of the month, Gemma will be knuckling down in the kitchen, baking herself silly.

If you’re thinking of ordering some vegan brownies online for some lucky, lucky people, don’t leave it too late. Every order is baked fresh as the orders come in, and the Christmas baking schedule is filling up fast. You can order now to avoid missing out. 

If you would like your order delivered during Christmas week please write ‘PRE-CHRISTMAS’ in the comments box at the checkout and we’ll get that sorted for you.

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Nailsea & Frome: Christmas markets festive duo

Dark Matters Festive Spiced Orange Whisky Christmas Vegan Brownie Next To Holly and Glass of Whisky

The festive season is well and truly upon us. Next weekend you will find us at not one but TWO christmas markets. Saturday 4th December 2021 is eat:Nailsea. Then Sunday 5th December we’re back at the Frome Independent.

It’s going to be a busy weekend. I was going to write something cute and Christmassy about Father Christmas’ elves helping out, allowing Dark Matters to spread so much Christmas cheer. But really it’s basically Gemma pulling out all the stops to get those delightfully fudgy brownies out and about at as many events as possible.

If you’re visiting us at a market any time soon, don’t forget that all of our brownies are totally freezer friendly. You can pick up a present now, defrost in time for Christmas Day.

As always, if you bring your own box or bag, we’ll knock 50p off your order total. Just a little thanks for being such devoted eco warriors.

So, Nailsea: come and find us at eat Festivals’ event, eat:Nailsea, and we’ll get you loaded up with delicious vegan brownies. The event runs in the town centre from 10am until 4pm.

Then on Sunday 5th December, we’ll be in our usual spot for the Frome Independent Market, from 10am to 3pm. This is the last chance to visit the Frome Independent before Christmas, and the perfect opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping!

Can’t make it to these events? No worries. You can order your vegan brownie gifts and treats from our online shop any day, any time. 

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Taunton: Come get some! (Vegan brownies)

Vegan Raspberry and Double Choc Cacao Brownies Displayed Next To Pomegranate and Leaves

Taunton: come get some! Eat Festivals is heading to Taunton, and we’re going with them! Saturday 27th November 2021 you’ll find the Dark Matters stall right there in the thick of it, with vegan brownies piled high.

The market takes place on Hammet Street and at St Mary Magdalene Church, and we’ll be there bringing your vegan chocolate brownie fix.

This market kicks off at 10am, and we’ll be loading up the stall with all your fave fudgy brownies. Eat:Taunton officially ends at 4pm, and we’ll be there until then, or until we sell out – whichever comes first.

Gemma bakes and bakes and bakes in preparation, and stacks up as many brownies as possible for every market. However, chocolate brownies are apparently pretty popular (who knew?!) so they do tend to sell out pretty quickly. So make sure you get down early to avoid missing out!

Eco conscious, sustainable brownies

When buying Dark Matters vegan brownies at a market, you can save money AND help save the planet all in one go! Bring your own bag or box (bonus points for random brownie containers) and we’ll knock 50p off your total. 

Even when ordering your brownies online, we’re committed to being as eco friendly as possible. That’s why we use absolutely zero palm oil in everything we do, and there’s no plastic in any of our packaging either.

What makes our brownies so irresistible?

Aww, thanks for asking. We bake our Dark Matters brownies using organic, fair trade, 70% dark chocolate. That’s what makes them so rich and indulgent.

Why use chocolate instead of cocoa powder when making brownies? Read this blog post to find out why dark chocolate is our magic ingredient. 

So make sure you stop by for a bit of chocolate chat if you’re in Taunton for the market and bag yourself a brownie or two.

Shop online

If you’re not around, you can still get your brownie fix by ordering online whenever the mood takes you. You can order our vegan brownies online any day or night and we’ll deliver them straight to your door!

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Newbury Vegan Market is back – see you there!

Vegan Chocolate Orange Brownies with Orange and Orange Slices

It’s almost time for Newbury Vegan Market 2021! After a couple of years break (we can’t think why… screw you, covid) they’re back and putting on regular markets once more!

The market is happening at Market Place, Newbury on Sunday 21st November, with all things vegan kicking off at 10am. We’ll be bashing out the brownies until 3pm, unless we sell out sooner. This is a real possibility, so make sure you arrive early to avoid missing out!

As well as our banging vegan brownies, there will be other sweet treats, street food, ethical clothing brands, cosmetics, arts and crafts, plus charities and looooads more.

We’re excited to be trading alongside some of the very best vegan companies around. Including (but definitely not limited to):

Mr Nice Pie
Jack Bakes
VQ Country Wines
No Frickin Chicken
Soy Ahoy

Have you got any of your favourite flavours you’d like to see us selling on the day? Get in touch! We’ll have all the usual favourites on offer, but are always open to requests.

Here’s a little selection of flavours which we’ll likely be bringing along…

Brookie: Brownie/Cookie Hybrid
Lady Marmalade: Chocolate Orange
After Dark: Mint Choc Chip
Captain Chunk: Mylk Choc Chunk
Salty Dog: Salted Caramel Swirl
The Prince: Raspberry Double Choc

We’ll also have a stash of merch for you to get your hands on! You can bag a Dark Matters organic cotton tote, plus a range of patches and stickers. So you’ll be able to represent your fave alt vegan brownie company wherever you go!

If you fancy bringing a bag or box to take your brownies away in, we’ll happily knock 50p off your total, for being such a great, eco-conscious, brownie lover.

Buy online

All of these (and a butt load more) are available to buy online whenever the mood takes you. Visit our online store to place your order for vegan brownie delivery.