On March 14th, I attended the 5th annual Vegetarian Food Festival in New York City. This was my first year going so I can’t compare it to previous years, but it was overflowing with amazing products, companies, and people! For those of you who aren’t familiar with VegFest, it’s a vegetarian and vegan festival that pops up in different cities! All the products, foods, and companies present at the event are committed to a vegan. Many of the products or companies I had not heard of before because they were relatively new; the festival was an awesome way to try some new products and make a note to keep an eye out for them! I was truly impressed with the amount of yummy food and goodies packed into the Metropolitan Pavilion!
In addition to the vendor stands situated throughout the building, there were three stages that featured keynote speakers throughout the weekend. Unfortunately, I did not get to see any of the speakers, but it’s something I plan to do next year!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time wandering around the festival, taking a bite of anything and everything I was offered. I find it really is best to keep in open mind hen going to events like this, I found a lot of new foods and products I’m looking to purchase and a few I’m glad I tried before purchasing! Of course all the brands present were great examples of what we should all strive for in our food choices – sustainable, healthy businesses! Here are a few of my favorites / products I thought were awesome!
Hope Hummus – I had never seen this hummus brand, and being the hummus-lover I am I just had to give it a try! It was delicious! Super creamy. Plus they have an amazing selection of flavors. Kale Pesto hummus? Seriously how good does that sound? What about Thai Coconut Curry? Spicy Avocado? Sriracha?! Or you could go with something a little more simple, like Original, or Red Pepper. I tried Spicy Avocado – needless to say I’ll be on the lookout for this hummus!
Heidi Ho Cheese – I’m not big on “fake cheese” or “fake meats.” Actually, I never eat fake meats, if I wanted to eat meat I would eat the real thing! I took the opportunity to give some vegan cheese a try; free samples meant I could literally take a bite and never have another if I hated it that much! Although, the opposite turned out to be the case. Heidi Ho Organics was giving samples of their cashew cheese spread on little pretzels sticks. YUM. This stuff is seriously good. It is cheesy, but not overwhelmingly so and not in a fake way. It has a unique and delicious flavor. I would love to have this to put out for snacks or appetizers when my family is reached for ranch dip – I feel like it would satisfy anyone!
Follow Your Heart – Another vegan cheese sample! This one was more true to the “fake cheese” prototype. It was made to look exactly like cheese and had classic cheese flavors, such as American and Provolone. They were giving out American cheese samples, and they were actually pretty good too! I would definitely use this cheese for over a pizza or in a dish that classically has cheese. I’m not a huge cheese lover aside from being lactose intolerant, so I can usually go without. It would be nice to have the option though! The ingredients in this product were also impressive; it’s mainly made out of coconut oil and potato starch! Pretty cool and very yummy!
Munk Pack – Definitely one of the more innovative and interesting products I came across. Have you ever seen those apple sauce squeeze pouches for little kids? This is just like that, only it contains a mixture of oat, super foods, and fruit. First of all, the packaging is adorable. I know you’re not suppose to judge a book by its cover; but when there’s an adorable chipmunk along with a cute woodsy feel how can you not? Oh, and it tasted delicious! I tried the Apple Quinoa Cinnamon flavor and it was the perfect blend of sweetness, cinnamon, chunky oats, and of course who doesn’t love quinoa!
Go Avo – This might be my new favorite thing. Avocado mayonnaise. Seriously. I was never a huge fan of mayo, but it is useful for adding some moisture to a sandwich or binding a salad! They offered samples of the product itself and a chickpea slaw salad, so of course I tried both. The chickpea salad was light, refreshing, and reminded me of summer – winner! The avocado spread itself acts as mayonnaise, but it isn’t heavy or loaded with cholesterol. It’s a great source of healthy fats and still does the job of binding ingredients together, or adding some richness to a sandwich! I can’t seem to find their site as of right now, so I’ll keep on the look out!
Eat Well Embrace Life Hummus – I just can’t get enough hummus! While I was trying to visit each stand at the festival, I was drawn to this one in particular because of the pink hummus they were offering samples of. Yep, pink. I’m a sucker for pretty food, so I just had to give it a shot! The hummus is given its gorgeous color from beets. How cool is that? Not only are beets delicious, they’re a nutritional powerful and add color to any plate. The hummus did not disappoint! Upon lingering at the stand to learn more I realized that many of their hummuses are not made with garbonzo beans the traditional way. They offer black bean hummus, edamame hummus, and white bean to name a few. It’s an interesting, and tasty, spin on a classic! As soon as I can get my hands on some of that beet hummus, you bet I will!
Finally, I decided enough sampling, lets get to the real food! There were a few vendors making food to order at the event. There was a hot dog stand with the longest line in the place, a hamburger stand, crepes, sushi, and finally what I decided on, sandwiches! The Regal Vegan had an interesting and gourmet-sounding menu posted, so I figured I would give it a shot. I ordered the Drunken Kale Au Jus and patiently waited for my sandwich among the cluster of hungry health-nuts all trying to get their order in, or take a peek at their display. I was extremely pleased with my choice. This sandwich was incredible. It featured kale cooked with garlic in wine, sun-dried tomato, and some of their basil cashew spread. Absolutely divine.
Doesn’t that sandwich look incredible?
I cannot recommend this event enough, I had a fantastic time and I went by myself! It allowed me to try new products and become familiar with new / new-to-me companies. I’m definitely looking forward to next years event!