Just got back from an afternoon of vegan grazing at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. This was the 15th year of the festival, and I think my 6th year attending. In previous years I've attended on Saturday, so the vibe was a little different on Sunday.
Crowded though it was, it was nowhere near the pandemonium of Day 1 when the line stretches across the sidewalk with crazy hungry vegans eagerly awaiting the doors to open. This is good and bad because I generally avoid stampeding herds. But while there wasn't as much jostling of bodies, there also wasn't as plentiful a selection of vegan offerings. There was enough, though. More than enough, actually.
With one notable exception: Vegan Treats, the most heavenly vegan bakery on the planet. Expectations were high as we approached the BVS volunteer to ask where they were stationed, only to discover they had to cancel this year due to an unexpected staff shortage (i.e., their baker quit). Cafe Indigo from Concord, NH did their best to fill in, and though they promised "the best vegan carrot cake in the world" (and it was exceptionally good), it was no Vegan Treat. We sighed heaviliy and did our best to recover from the disappointment.
There was still plenty to discover with nearly 120 vendors wrapped around the gym, including Peace O' Pie, the all-vegan pizzaria from Allston. We had planned a day at the fest to be topped off by a visit to the restaurant, but since they were already there, convenience dictated we forego the extra trip. Happily, even lukewarm vegan is still pretty delicious. I opted for a slice of the barbecue "beef" pie.
My main focus, however, was the cooking demonstration by celebrity Chef Tal Ronnen. Known for being Oprah Winfrey's personal chef while she was on her 21-day cleanse, he was also quite personalble, entertaining, and informative.
One tip I'm looking forward to trying is substituting fresh made raw cashew milk for soy milk in cream sauce recipes. He used this ingredient in the Creamed Celery Root and Granny Smith Apple Soup that he demonstrated, and it was quite tasty. I also picked up a copy of his gorgeous cookbook, The Conscious Cook, which I enjoyed browsing during the car ride home. I'll be looking forward to testing a few of these recipes with clients over the next few weeks!