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Food & Drink interview: Sam Musson, Liberty Loves

PUBLISHED: 11:09 27 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:09 27 June 2017

'You can have your cake and eat it' (c) Verity Hesketh

'You can have your cake and eat it' (c) Verity Hesketh

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Verity Hesketh talks to creative genius Sam Musson, who makes comfort food suitable for vegans and those pursuing gluten-free, nut-free and dairy free diets

Cake and happiness; two of the most intrinsically linked components to a happy state of being, because let’s face it, sometimes you just need a bit of cake-shaped comfort. This is the basic philosophy of Sam Musson, the passionate creative behind Liberty Loves, a food business specialising in tarts, flapjacks, brownies and nut butters where just about everyone can indulge. Everyone.

Sam is helped along by a very small and particular tasting executive in the form of her six-year-old daughter, Liberty.

I first became aware of Sam Musson’s delicious products at a local farmers’ market, where her chocolatey tarts, drool-worthy nut butters and protein energy balls made such a hit with me that I couldn’t resist filling my bags to brimming with her wares and spending some glorious hours guzzling it all.

The only unusual thing about Sam’s raw, natural products is that they are entirely suitable for vegans and those pursuing gluten-free, nut-free and dairy free diets, whilst retaining a taste that doesn’t even think about resembling cardboard.

“Products shouldn’t be disguised, flavours should be distinct and able to stand on their own without rubbishy additives and an overload of sugar,” says Sam.

The products are gluten, dairy, egg and soya free and Sam is happy to accept those with allergies and particular requirements as an opportune challenge.

(c) Verity Hesketh(c) Verity Hesketh

Sam first found cooking as a stress-free outlet from stressful jobs. Moving to Somerset from Australia, she was encouraged by friends and family to use this outlet to her advantage. Sam and her business have been through an extraordinary trajectory since her life almost suffered dire consequences in 2016 when doctors discovered a dangerous blood clot at the top of her left arm, close to her heart.

Sam, with a rare blood type, was in danger and during the months of treatment she realised her health and her business were going to get to the next level, i.e. going one hundred per cent vegan.

Sam believes that going vegan is responsible largely for her miraculous second chance at life; not many survive serious blood clots like hers and she intends to live life with as much determination as possible, dedicating herself to causes she believes in.

Since Sam has transitioned her business into being fully vegan, Liberty Loves has seen an impressive rise of online and in person customers - Sam is now booked at several markets a month, as well as daily deliveries to health food shops, cafes and outlets across Somerset and the South West.

At my time of visiting, Sam has just received a Silver Award from the Free From Food Awards, something which she is justly thrilled over.

Recently, Sam feels that there has been a reversal of the ingredient hierarchy, with businesses like her own normalising use of organic, raw, free-from ingredients.

Sam's products are suitable for so many diets (c) Verity HeskethSam's products are suitable for so many diets (c) Verity Hesketh

“My mission is to give people options that aren’t processed food. Cakes don’t have to be processed any more than anything else.”

Far from being the niche it once was, being vegan is now not only becoming more common, but fashionable. Making raw, healthy choices is trendy like never before; the number of vegans in Britain has almost quadrupled in the past decade to more than half a million. Celebrities now almost have to be vegan to get in; think Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Morrissey, Alec Baldwin and Brad Pitt to name but a few.

The vegan diet is extremely low in cholesterol, meaning that the chances of heart related illness are significantly reduced. It is widely recognised that the western diet encourages an over-consumption of meat.

The trajectory of Liberty Loves continues to rise, as Sam is about to expand her range of raw tarts, keeping her standard flavours: raspberry, coconut and lime, salted caramel, orange, fig and walnut, peanut butter and coffee and walnut. As of summer 2017, she will produce a specialist botanicals range (think gin and elderflower a la English country garden) and another specialist Christmas range, perfect for hampers and unusual gifts for food lovers.

Further to this, she sees a place where people can indulge themselves wherever and whenever in wholesome, tasty repast. “My bigger picture is to have my own outlets in service stations and petrol stations for people on the move – pre-packed fast food doesn’t have to be synonymous with tasteless, boring and limited. I want appetising food to benefit everyone.”

The rise of chain food throughout the country means that businesses like Sam’s have to shout a lot louder and a lot harder in order to be heard, but increased awareness of sustainability means that voices like Sam’s are being heard loud and proud above the cacophony.

In just the same way that art and politics shouldn’t just be for a select few, great food (vegan or not) should be easy to get hold of. With Liberty Loves, you can have your cake and eat it.

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