Vegan Bakery Thriving in Lockdown

Lockdown brings out the cravings in all of us. You always want what you can't have, as they say. But vegans can have what they want with Belen Vegan Bakery.

The vegan bakery was only five months old when it was thrown into alert level 4 restrictions, but owner Mica Calle isn't worried as the response to her online delivery service has allowed her to continue operating.

Calle began the bakery in April when she noticed a demand for vegan baked goods in Wellington. It was the perfect business opportunity, as there were no vegan bakeries.

Belen's has a massive variety of both sweet and savory produce, from dark chocolate, salted caramel and chocolate chip cookies to pumpkin, chickpea and coconut curry pies. You name it, Calle can make it, and vegan.

After attending her first farmers' market in April, Calle was approached by some restaurants requesting she supply cabinet food. She also collaborated with a vegan restaurant for Wellington on a Plate, making the desserts.

Despite her high-end clients, most of Calle's creations were sold at the Newtown farmers market and delivered across Wellington to Upper Hutt.

At alert level 4, Calle has reduced her delivery locations, staying within central Wellington, but the demand has remained high.

Before starting Belen, Calle was a pastry chef and grew up vegetarian.

She says her mission is to normalise plant-based food.

For anyone who hasn't tried vegan food and is skeptical, she encourages them to try it. Calle's menu changes every week, and she encourages people to try one sweet thing and one savory.