Review of the 32nd Annual VegFest in Toronto!

I was so happy to make it to the Veg Food Fest last year in Toronto, and had left the event with new contacts, new companies to check out, and a stomach full of samples and delicious treats. This year I was not only lucky enough to be in town for the festival but was also living very close to it, which meant I attended it on all three days, resulting in triple the goodness.

I can very easily say this year's festival definitely surpassed the one from last year, and I happily returned to the event all weekend, and still felt like there was more to discover. On the first day it is always a little overwhelming, but I was excited to immediately notice Sweet Teeth, Toronto's new frozen dessert food truck, and YamChops, North America's first vegan butcher shop!

While I checked out a few of the booths and helped myself to samples, I decided to attend the Viet Vegan food demonstration later on in the day, as I had not been to any talks/workshops last year. This left me with plenty of time to sample and I especially enjoyed the Field Roast booth and the So Delicious table as they really stood out in terms of the generosity of samples:

This year I wanted to eat at a place I had never tried before, and settled on King's Cafe based on recommendations, how good the food looked, and the fact that the staff at the booth were exceptionally sweet and friendly. I tried their vegan chicken drumsticks, spring rolls, and two types of skewers with their hot sauce. Everything was delicious, and the drumsticks were especially unqiue and flavorful! 

Shortly after it was time for the Viet Vegan presentation by Lisa Le, and I am happy that I somehow got there 20 minutes before the start time, since shortly after the room was packed with more people coming in to stand around. We learned how to make some dishes Le grew up with, veganized, including tofu fried rice and rice rolls. 

The presentation was great and lively and made me want to create dishes with the black salt she used. I didn't realize at the time that all paricipants would be treated to a dish of what Le made, and wished I wasn't so full from my previous meal. However, the food was delicious and definitely something I want to attempt to make in the future:

No Veg Fest is complete without a trip to the sweets area, and this year, I opted to try a treat from Bunner's, a vegan and gluten-free bake shop. I chose the decadent looking s'more bun, and immediately noticed how heavy it was. One bite into it and I was hooked as it was so rich and delicious! It was also very filling, which I have found to be common in gluten-free baked goods, and decided that was enough food for one day. 

The rest of the weekend followed the same pattern of sampling different foods and listening to bands play and attending talks. While there were so many vegan cheese companies present, Sheese really stood out for me, especially as a result of their blue cheese and the melted cheddar, which definitely raised the bar for dairy-free cheese in my books! 

On the last day I attended a roundtable discussion titled "Where do animals stand?" featuring Wayne Pacelle, Sonia Faruqi, Susie Coston, and Jonathan Balcombe, which was very interesting, but unfortunately I have no pictures to show for it! When I arrived home, I realized how many coupouns I had accumulated with samples and visits to the various booths, and am still enjoying those benefits!

All in all, I really enjoyed all aspect of Toronto's Veg Fest 2016, and was very happy to be able to attend the festival throughout the entire weekend. I am already looking forward to next year's event!

Lena Tachdjian is a certified nutritionist and a writer, who splits her time between Canada and Armenia. She writes about nutrition, health, food, recipes, culture, travel, animal rights, and more. You can follow her on her nutrition and travel blog http://thetravelingchamelian.blogspot.ca/

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