The Vegetarian Food Festival is an event I look forward to every year. It’s one of the best places to learn about vegetarianism and try tons of amazing products. Meat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free…you name it, this show has it! This year, the festival took place from September 7th to 9th and once again it didn’t disappoint. I tried so many products and ate so much delicious food in my short visit to the show that I pretty much had to be rolled back to my car (seriously!).
For me, the most exciting part about going to food shows is learning about new products and having the opportunity to try products I’ve seen on shelves, but haven’t purchased yet. Here are some of my favourites from the show:
Soy Whip and Rice Whip from Soyatoo!
Whipped cream. Mmmmm. Without it, cakes, pies, ice cream sundaes and so many other desserts wouldn’t be the same. Since I found out about my intolerance to cow dairy (see my earlier series of posts about the YorkTest FoodScan program), I’ve cut back big time on cow dairy that I can easily avoid, such as whipped cream. At the show, I was thrilled to try Soy Whip and Rice Whip from Soyatoo!, who recognized that there was a need for dairy free whipped topping options that were (fairly) affordable (approx. $6.99 per canister).
After trying both, I have to say that my vote goes to the Soy Whip, as the flavour and texture was truer to real whipped cream. However for those who are allergic to soy AND dairy, the Rice Whip version is pretty good too.
For more info, visit their website at: http://www.soyatoo.de/us/?home
Earth Balance Original and Coconut Spreads
I’ve heard a lot of great things about Earth Balance products and I finally had the opportunity to try two of their products at the show, their Original Buttery Spread and their new Organic Coconut Spread. Their products are vegan and are free of gluten, lactose and eggs.
While I enjoyed both products, I liked the Original Buttery Spread a little more. It tasted just like butter and to know that it was vegan was amazing. The Organic Coconut Spread was also tasty, but it tasted like coconut oil which I’m not that used too. If you’re a big fan of coconut, you would certainly love this spread.
This company also sells a whole range of other vegan products, which I’ll have to try sometime soon.
For more info, visit their website at: http://www.earthbalancenatural.com/
New Moon Kitchen
I was attracted to this booth because of their cool packaging (I’m a print geek after all) and their glorious display of tons and tons of cookies in old fashioned jars. It also helped that a woman I met pointed frantically to their booth and said, “You HAVE TO go to the New Moon Kitchen booth, like right now! The cookies are divine!” and since I was pushed towards the booth, I knew I had to check it out!
This Toronto-based company bakes up eight different flavours of cookies, including ones with cute names like Bite Me, Momints and Love Bites. The best part is that they are all vegan, egg, dairy, peanut and nut free!
My faves were the Momints (Chocolate Mint) and Love Bites (Spicy Chocolate) but to be fair, I would eat them all again as every flavour was delicious.
For more info, visit their website at: http://www.newmoonkitchen.com/
Peanut Butter & Co
I was attracted to this booth because of their beautiful packaging (yes, the print geek in me strikes again!). When I asked them what they were showcasing, they said, “Our spicy peanut butter called The Heat Is On”….huh? I asked to try a sample and I was rewarded with a tasty peanut butter with a very spicy kick to it! It would be perfect in an Asian noodle recipe or I could see myself adding a few spoons of it to my mom’s coconut chutney…mmmm. This company produces a range of products including peanut butters, jams, nuts, baking mixes and oats. They also have a sandwich shop in New York (one of my favourite cities in the world!) so I’ll have to add Peanut Butter & Co to my “go to” list for my next visit.
For more info, visit their website at: http://ilovepeanutbutter.com/
Field Roast Veggie Sausage Links
This was my favourite find at the food festival! As a vegetarian married to a meat-eater, I’m always looking for products that both of us can enjoy and I was so thrilled to learn about Field Roast’s new line of veggie sausage links. The veggie sausages come in three flavours: Italian, Mexican Chipotle and Smoked Apple Sage. My favourite was the Smoked Apple Sage, as it had the perfect combination of sweet, salty and spicy tones and the flavours just danced in my mouth.
For more info, visit their website at: http://www.fieldroast.com/
This is another product that I’ve seen in grocery stores many times but never had the need or opportunity to buy it. After trying their products, I certainly regretted the fact that I hadn’t tried them earlier! Coconut Bliss vegan ice creams are made from coconut milk and are free of soy, dairy and gluten. I tried every flavour they had on hand and I honestly loved each and every one. Once again, I’m amazed at how delicious non-dairy products can be!
For more info, visit their website at: http://coconutbliss.com/
The last product I wanted to mention is another one that I’ve heard about a lot over the years, Vegenaise. It’s a mayonnaise-style product that’s perfect for those who are allergic to eggs as it is, you guessed it, egg-free! I was given a sample of it and it tasted just like mayonnaise, possibly even better. I heard that even Ellen DeGeneres loves it. If the adorable and fabulous Ellen loves it, then by all means, how could you go wrong?!?!
For more info, visit their website at: http://www.followyourheart.com/
I don’t believe they’ve announced the dates for the 2013 Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival yet but if you get a chance to go next year, you definitely should! If you try any of the products I’ve mentioned or if you have any others to recommend, I’d love to hear from you!
Learn more about the Vegetarian Food Festival here: http://festival.veg.ca/