My sister and I visited the Veg Food Fest at Harbourfront in Toronto today. It was a great day for spending a long time outside because it wasn't too hot and it was overcast and threatening rain for most of the day. There was so much to see there, both inside and outside, that had it been sunny and hot, I would not have been able to stay so long. I'm going to review what I saw and tasted while I was there.
If a person had arrived at the Veg Food Fest hungry and without funds, she could not remain hungry for long, because there were dozens of vendors giving away all sorts of samples at their booths. I tried some chocolate coconut water - it was great - and I bought a whole box for my young great-nephew to take to school for lunch. I thought it would make a pleasant change from having a juice box every day.
We went to a booth operated by Buchie and Sash where we sampled their vegan cream cheese dips - they had an herb & garlic dip, a spicy chili dip and a dill dip and all three were fantastic. I bought a container of all three, and the people behind the counter were kind enough to store my dips in their fridge until it was time for me to leave. We sampled tofurky sausages (great), coconut bacon (really good, but I wish the pieces were longer so they could be used in sandwiches), and we bought a donut hole from a vegan bakery.
We purchased a concentrated grape syrup which is made from the same grapes that are used to make ice wine - the syrup is used to make salad dressings. It was really tasty and when paired with sunflower oil, it was absolutely divine. We also purchased two bottles of ready made salad dressing - a greek salad dressing and a Caesar salad dressing.
We went to the indoor section of the festival and looked at the cookbooks on sale in the area that was being run by people from the Toronto Vegetarian Association. Linda bought the Afro-Vegan Cookbook by Bryant Terry. I bought it in the spring when it came out - I have it on my ipad - and I was thinking about it when we were in Rwanda this summer. We were at a restaurant and some people in our group ordered the peanut and squash soup but it wasn't vegan so I didn't have any. I kept thinking that when I returned home, I would make some of that soup. I owned a lot of the books that were on display and that made me happy to see.
We found ourselves standing in front of the So Delicious coconut milk ice-cream booth just when a woman behind the counter was handing out whole ice-cream sandwich bars to people and she gave one to me and one to my sister - now that's what I call a free sample! Of course the ice-cream sandwich was fabulous.
I think the oddest moment of the day was when we found the Field Roast booth. I was really looking forward to seeing their new breakfast sausages and was hoping against hope that I could buy a meatloaf from them. But what we saw instead were sample packages, not for sale, and three posters bearing enlarged sections of Canada's food laws stating that Field Roast could not sell their sausages in Canada and call them sausages unless the items they were trying to sell as vegan sausages had a certain amount of protein and a certain amount of fat. It all seemed very strange to me because the Tofurkey people did not appear to have this problem. Nonetheless, I signed their petition and I said I would email my MP to tell him how displeased I was about this. And just when I had located a good local store where I could buy these sausages in Scarborough!!!! Now I will have to continue to stock up in the US whenever I visit.
So all in all we had a great time - we sampled all sorts of great food, we talked to all kinds of brave and committed people who worked hard for the benefit of animals and we made a few donations here and there.
I would definitely go again next year.