Last year was my first year attending the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. I had gone to one in San Francisco when I was living there, and I’m not going to lie, it didn’t give me high hopes for the one in Boston. Maybe it was just an off year, but the veg fest in San Francisco was very strange. There weren’t all that many food exhibitors, and there were lots of crystal healing powers/semi-religious types of tables. To top it all off, I think I had to pay something like seven dollars just to get in.
The Boston Vegetarian Festival was the opposite of that. An incredible lineup of speakers, a great mix of small and larger food vendors, clothing companies, animal advocacy/informational tables, and a huge turnout. All completely free. The only downside last year was that the event was so popular, it was almost too crowded to enjoy it. Nonetheless, it made me really happy to see so many people show up to learn more, eat some good food, and just generally support the cause.
This year though, someone had the brilliant idea to offer five dollar tickets for an hour-long preview before things got too crazy. Let me tell you – those were five dollars well-spent. It was still fairly busy, but I was able to take my time walking around, chatting with exhibitors, and sampling new-to-me vegan food. And speaking of that food, here are some that stood out…
Sabertooth Bakery’s Maple Coconut “Bacon” donut. O. M. G. this was good. As you probably know, I have a special place in my heart for vegan donuts, and this may go down as the best I have ever purchased. They had so many great flavors available, but I was really intrigued by the coconut “bacon”, and it did not disappoint. I’ve had it on my brain since last weekend and will definitely be attempting a homemade version.
Rescue Chocolate’s bars. I tried the Forever Mocha (organic coffee, hazelnut and 66% dark chocolate), and while the chocolate is seriously good, the company’s mission is even better. 100% of their net profits are donated to animal rescue groups, and each chocolate flavor brings awareness to a different issue, like Peanut Butter Pit Bull and Foster-iffic Peppermint. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Gross, Rescue Chocolate’s founder, and she is so passionate and sweet. I can’t say enough good things about this company.
Biena Roasted Chickpeas in Cinnamon Maple. I have a borderline obsession with chickpeas and cinnamon maple is perhaps one of the best flavor combinations. It’s not surprising these were a big hit with me. I think they’re available at Whole Foods, although I’m not sure I can be left alone with an entire bag.
FoMu’s Rice Honey Lavender ice cream. No, the honey isn’t technically vegan, but I loved the uniqueness of this flavor. I first tried FoMu ice cream a month or so ago and they continue to be my favorite non-dairy ice cream, offering coconut milk, nut-based, and soy options, all made without refined sugars. They’re located in Allston, but perhaps they’ll be in health food stores down the road. Seek them out if you’re ever in town.
Core Defender Meal’s Raw Cashew Cacao bar. Whole oats, cashews, cacao, raisins, flax, and spices. It’s literally a bowl of oatmeal (minus the water) in bar form. I love the idea and could definitely see it being convenient for mornings where I’m short on time or traveling. Paired with a piece of fruit, I think this would make for a solid meal replacement.
Theo Chocolate Fig, Fennel and Almond Fantasy bar. Theo Chocolate was already a favorite of mine, but this flavor is out of this world. It’s perfectly balanced (not too much fennel) and perfect post-dinner. A little goes a long way.
Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausage. I’m late to the Field Roast fan club, having only tried it for the first time this past weekend. I feel like this is one of those veggie companies that gets a lot of hype, but I’m personally not all that into the fake meats. I changed my mind. Still not something I’d eat regularly, but it’s great to know there’s a good option available for when the craving strikes. I also think Field Roast could be a game-changer for someone who’s just transitioning to vegetarianism and really missing meat.
Compassion Couture, specifically this Matt & Nat bag. Not food-related, but I’ve been wanting to trade in my favorite over-sized purse for something without leather for a while, but just hadn’t found something I really loved. Compassion Couture has quite a few things I’d happily swap in to replace some of my old bags and shoes. Hint, hint Aaron…
Did any local readers go to the festival? What did you think? Or if you didn’t go, have you been to a vegetarian festival where you live?