Damn you, horrible fluorescent overhead convention hall lighting, damn you!!!
Seriously guys, I was so. excited. about this event! After last year’s amazing experience, and with one more year of veganism under my belt, one more year making connections in this community, with bigger dreams and my creative brain just buzzing with energy, it all seemed like a magical opportunity. And it didn’t disappoint!
This years festival saw nearly 5,000 attendants ad spanned the entire weekend – two whole days filled with inspiring workshops, lectures, cooking demonstrations, consultations, and of course the exhibitors. Clothing, books, gadgets and gizmos, kitchen wares, kids wear, exercise gear, health and wellness and whocaresaboutallthatbecauseohmygodthefood!
Yes, the food. The edible exhibitors had me nomming on:
The Better Bean Company
Bob’s Red Mill
Bragg Live Food Products
Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss
CuisineMentor: Spice Blends
Dave’s Killer Bread
Eat My Cheese by Heidi Ho Organics
Emerald Valley Kitchen
Food for Life
Galaxy Nutritional Foods
Garden Protein International
Grow Your Family Healthy
Living Harvest Foods
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods
Marilyn’s Nut Butters
Numi Organic Tea
Pacific Natural Foods
Papa G’s Vegan Organic’s
Portobello Vegan Trattoria
The Red & Black Cafe
Toby’s Family Foods
Turtle Island Foods
Wayfare’s We Can’t Say It’s Cheese
Xocai the Healthy Chocolate
Not to mention the non-edible-but-equally-awesome vendors! Like Veg News, my pals at Herbivore Clothing, Team Grumpy over at Food Fight!, and the lovely Miss Natalie of Thora Thinks and Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice. Just to name a few!
Oprah’s vegan chef, Tal Ronnen, during his demo. (image credit)
This year I [reluctantly] decided to skip the speakers and structure, and devote all my time to the main floor. I had people to meet and goodies to eat! Which is exactly what I did.
I definitely noticed some differences between the previous year and this one. 2009 saw a lot of raw options, a lot of ice creams, and more in the way of candies. This year focused on heartier fare, with an exceptionally inflated number of new cheese options! From the groundbreaking Daiya (featured in Amy’s Kitchen rice Mac ‘n Cheese – omg yum!) to the incredible reformulated Teese, to the finally vegan rice slices, to the super duper dippable We Can’t Say It’s Cheese, to the new local (and carbon neutral) Eat My Cheese. 2010 was the year of vegan cheese!
There were also a few new meats on the scene, the most notable from Gardein Garden Protein. I tried the ‘beef tips’ and I have to say, wow they got a good texture there! Maybe a bit too authentic . . . But it was great stuff, and showcased well alongside the old standby’s like Tofurkey and Wildwood.
Super rad tin lunch box from Tofurkey’s Turtle Island.
I had such a blast at this event, and I just want to extend a huge Thank You to everyone who made that happen. Thanks to NW VEG for coordinating, thanks to all the awesome people (the sweetest in the world!) that make up our vegan community, thanks to eFriends and Bonzai readers I met in real life, and to old friends I reconnected with, and to new friends I made. Yes, I’m a sap full of gratitude, so thank you thank you thank you all!
Now, what’s a great event without schwag?? And oh yes, I got lots of it, with extra generous contributions from Vega, Wilderness Poets, Manitoba Harvest, Xocai the Healthy Chocolate, and Chicago Soydairy. I’ve taken all this goodness and constructed three unique gift bags, which I’m giving away to three Bonzai readers!
To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Let me know if you’re
a) veg-curious/newbie veg
b) an athlete
c) a parent/somebody with kids in your life
d) none of the above
To gain a second chance to win, tweet about this contest and then leave an extra comment linking to the tweet!
*** Sorry to my international crew, but this contest is for US residents only. Boo! Sorry guys.***