Every year, the wonderful people at Vegetarians of Washington put together a Festival for Vegetarians and Vegans. It's actually the largest in the country! Definitely something to see! VegFest is a place where you can sample foods (organic dark chocolate, teas, sauces ~ YUM) over 500 different types of foods to try ~ all free! They have chefs from throughout the country, preparing the latest vegan and vegetarian dishes. You can hear speakers and physicians who will present the latest information on nutrition. Not to mention the cooking classes. They even have a book store available. It is something to experience. We usually spend time walking around and sampling the food, talking to vendors about their products, and listening to a few of the speakers. There is so much to do and so little time.
Many people recognize the health and other benefits of vegetarian food choices, but they are not sure what to eat, what to buy and how to cook it. This festival provides all the support that people need, and it's fun too. You'll find free health screenings, books and lots of food, there's something for everyone. There’s even a special kids section where kids can learn about healthy food while having fun, with clowns, face painting and more.
This year, I worked with my friend Linda. We were in charge of dishing out (maybe flinging is more like it) the newest yogurt, Amande. We had an abundance of people coming by to try this new almond milk 'yogurt', the only product of its kind in the country.
This is an unbelievable product. Not only does it serve as a vegan alternative but it's also a dairy intolerant substitute for those who have difficulty with dairy or soy. An boy was it smooth and delicious! Actually, according to the FDA, it can't be called a yogurt because it doesn't contain dairy. But suffice it to say, no matter what you want to call it, it's a teaser for you tastebuds. We couldn't fill the little cups fast enough. It will come in 6 flavors but we were only sampling 4 of the flavors (thank goodness, we would never have kept up). The sample flavors were strawberry, blueberry, cherry and peach. The two additional flavors will be coconut and raspberry. This product is made from almond milk with all the cultures necessary and it is sweetened with fruit juice. You'll also find real fruit pieces in each bite. Did I mention how smooth and delicious it is? I can't wait until this is available at all stores; which will begin in a month. For now, I'll just have to remember the taste and count down the days until I'll be able to buy it for myself.
VegFest is an event that I look forward to each year. There's always something new to taste, new information to glean and a new challenging volunteer experience to remember. Until next year, I'm going to find the nearest store and stock up on the Amande (french for almond).
Have you ever experienced anything like VegFest? What do you think of the event? Send your comments ~ I look forward to hearing them.