Sunday, September 11, 2011

Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival 2011 - The Food

Yesterday, I posted about the events I attended at Friday's Vegetarian Food Fair in Toronto.  Today, I'm going to tell you all about the delicious food I ate, sampled, and purchased!  Of course, one of the best things about a food fair is....the food!  The Vegetarian Food Fair is a dreamy paradise where you can walk around to all of the food stands and sample almost everything for free!  Let's say you are like me, and you've never had the chance to try soy yogurt or hemp milk before.  You might be skeptical to drop a bunch of money on something that could end up tasting yucky. At the Veggie Food Festival, you are able to sample all of these goodies to see if you like them or not.  For the record, I really enjoyed the soy yogurt and the chocolate/vanilla hemp milk I tried!

At most of the booths, I tried out some samples and purchased the food if I liked it or not.  In some cases, there were great deals on products that I already currently buy at natural grocery stores.  Some of the vendors were able to sell their products at lower prices because they were selling directly to the consumer and not through a store.  Some of them even had special festival deals!

This was one of my favourite booths - LPK's Culinary Groove, which sold vegan and gluten-free desserts.  My friend Sarah, who went to the food fair with me, isn't vegan but requires gluten-free foods so she was all about shopping here!  We both ended up purchasing the sweet potato donuts (as pictured below), and I bought some of the peanut butter nanaimo bars and chocolate chip cookie sandwiches.  They also sold vegan/gluten-free ice cream sandwiches, which unfortunately I didn't get to try out as I was far too full by the end of the day (after sampling SO much food!) but they looked divine!

Sweet Potato Donuts
I got to taste so many different foods, and I bought most of the ones that I really enjoyed.  The one thing I forgot to buy was the soy yogurt and soy cream cheese that I liked, but I know I can grab that at the grocery store.  I wanted to buy it at the end of the day as I didn't want to carry around  refrigerated items all day long, but after seeing Terry Hope Romero's seminar on vegan blogging, I completely forgot!  Oops.  Moving along, I'm going to post all kinds of photos right now of the things I bought, and information about the products just in case you are interested in them, too!

Tons of Vegan yummy goodies.
Here is my kitchen table, covered with the treats that I found at the festival!  Look at all of those yummy vegan treats.  Yum!  I think I opted for a good balance between healthy foods and baked goods, don't you think?

Roasted Soybeans
Here are some roasted soy beans from one of the first booths that I visited by The Bean Ladies.  They had a table full of different flavoured roasted soy beans with samples of each one to try out!  They all tasted so good but in the end, I decided to stick with my three favourites - "Gotta Be Garlic", "Pomegranate and Pear" and "Canadian Maple Eh?".  They use non-GMO locally grown (in Ontario) soy beans for all of their products.  Also, soy beans are high in fibre, protein, a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and are an excellent source of iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.  These treats are also low in fat.  Hooray!

Tonica Kombucha and Beanitos chips
 I have recently discovered Kombucha fermented tea and I love it.  It tastes fantastic because I am trying to cut Diet Coke out of my diet, but I still crave a bit of carbonation now and then.  I find that Kombucha helps my cravings for sparkling beverages, plus it is really healthy for you (probiotics, polyphenols, B vitamins, rich in enzymes and healthy bacteria, etc.)!  Tonica Kombucha is 100% organic, raw, and is made locally in Toronto.  I'm happy to be able to buy Kombucha locally so hopefully I can continue to purchase it at some nearby stores.

The Beanitos are Chipotle BBQ flavor and they're made out of black beans.  They are vegan and gluten-free.  I tried a sample of them and they're super yummy, so I just had to bring home a bag!

Oh my goodness...the peanut butter!  Peanut Butter & Co had a stand at the food fair that had all of their different kinds of peanut butters all in a row, and you could sample any of them as much as you'd like!  We stood there making "mmmm" noises for a while, then quickly decided on the flavours to buy.  I grabbed two jars of my favourite flavour, "Mighty Maple".  Believe or not, they had it on sale - 3 jars for $10!  Natural peanut butter costs way more than that usually, so I happily purchased three jars (one of plain crunchy, too).  I can't wait to try the maple peanut butter in a stir fry sauce!

I purchased a salad dressing by RawFoodz in Purely Poppy flavour.  It was amazing to find a creamy salad dressing that is vegan, organic, and raw!  Can't wait to pour this over my veggies.

I bought this granola from Girlnola in Gojinana flavour - cashews, coconut, banana, and goji berries.  This would make for a great snack on its own, mixed in with some of my regular cereal, or maybe even mixed into some soy yogurt that I plan on purchasing soon!

Mmm...New Moon Kitchen cookies.  These are a regular staple in our cupboard, but they go fast since they're so tasty.  I usually purchase them for $8 a box at Whole Foods, but was able to buy them for a spectacular deal at the show - 3 boxes for $10!  Wow.  Needless to say, I bought three boxes in Oatmeal Goldies, Chocolate Espresso Mokas, and Chocolate Mint Momints. 

This was a great find - Quinoa products by Your Fitness Dish.  I purchased the Quinola Ancient Grains Blast cereal and the Quin'Bites snacks.  The Quin'Bites are crunchy quinoa, almonds, and agave with a hint of ginger and nutmeg and they are so delicious.  I think I could eat these every day if I had the chance!  A very satisfying snack that provides a great energizing boost.  I hope to try the cereal in some soy milk soon - I tried it plain though at the fair and it tasted good to me.  Quinoa is such an amazing whole grain and I try to eat as much of it as I can!

This shows a close-up of the cookie sandwiches and peanut butter nanaimo bars (oops...should be two bars there, except I ate one of them!  Couldn't resist.) from LPK's Culinary Groove.  Also, some samples of Mary's Crackers products in the background.

And lastly, here are the veggie samosas I brought home that were purchased from the Meditation Toronto booth!  These were thoroughly enjoyed at dinner time last night. Hopefully, I will be able to attend one of their meditation sessions soon.

I hope you enjoyed viewing a sampling of the food that was amongst many, many other kinds of food at the Vegetarian Food Festival in Toronto!  If you're interested, the festival is still going today (Sunday) so please check it out if you get the chance.  It is completely free to attend!  Please check the Toronto Vegetarian Association website for more details!

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