On September 28th from 11am to 6pm, join 10,000 area residents in discovering the benefits and flavors of meat-free eating as Compassion Over Killing hosts the annual DC VegFest. This free event includes 18 food vendors selling vegan dishes, 58 commercial exhibitors (both local and national) sampling and/or selling the best in vegan treats, and 35 non-profits educating us about the best ways to protect our health, the planet, and animals. Held at Yards Park, the DC VegFest features free food samples, cooking demonstrations, a beer and wine garden, and nationally recognized guest speakers,including Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States, Rich Roll, vegan ultra-athlete and author of Finding Ultra, and Josh Tetrik, CEO of Hampton Creek Foods, makers of Beyond Eggs.
After attending a media preview event for DC VegFest, where I received a sneak peak of some of the many offerings from both food vendors and commercial exhibitors, I can confidently tell you that this is an event you don't want to miss. DC VegFest welcomes all vegans, vegetarians, and even meat-eaters like me (who they like to call "pre-vegans"). Though I don't think I can completely eliminate animal products from my diet any time soon, I was unexpectedly satisfied with the alternatives to meat and dairy that will be on display during the DC VegFest.
At the media preview hosted at Bread and Brew, I sampled both sweet and savory vegan treats. Though I have now sampled a fair amount of the offerings that will be available at the DC VegFest, I can't wait until I can sample the rest of the vegan offerings on Saturday.
The Field Roast grain meat sausage had a noticeably different texture from regular meat sausage, though the primary reason I like meat in every meal is because I often don't feel full enough without it. This meat substitute was substantial enough that I could forego my meat requirement in a meal.
I had a more difficult time noticing the difference between real chicken and the Beyond Meat chicken that made up the chicken satay, and I went back for seconds.
Bread and Brew's infamous nachos, made with Teese, were also a standout.
The tangy Treeline cheeses, made from Brazilian cashew nut milk, were my favorite savory bites of the evening.
After sampling this nice selection of meat and cheese alternatives, I indulged in a few sugary sweets, also made with dairy substitutes.
The chocolate chip cookies made with Hampton Creek Food's Beyond Eggs For Cookies were soft and chewy, and chicken eggs were not missed.
Vegan Treats Bakery creates lovely chocolates that are almost too pretty to eat. I tried their version of a peanut butter cup, and it tasted better than many milk chocolate peanut butter cups I've tried over the years.
Ruby's Organics creates the most adorable chocolate dipped coconut macaroons that remind me of giant acorns (in look, not taste).
Sticky Fingers Bakery never disappoints with their selection of vegan cupcakes, cookies, brownies, or muffins.
Alongside both sweet and savory vegan treats, I was able to sample a few drinks that will be available at the Beer and Wine Garden.
Fruit juices have always been my beverage of choice (I prefer them over soda, tea, coffee, etc) and always enjoy a little rum added to some apple cider. The Organic Spiced Rum Apple Cider is the perfect drink to enjoy during this first Saturday of fall.
The Fresh Peach Hard Lemonade was light and refreshing, and was a nice choice to enjoy after I finished the much stronger cider.
In addition to sampling drinks and treats at Bread and Brew, I was also given a giftbag filled with products from some of vendors you'll find at this Saturday's DC VegFest.
Bethesda based Honest Tea will refresh VegFesters with their teas and "ades".
Tofutown offers Viana Picnicker Veggie Snack Sausage to go. This was a nice little snack to munch on at work.
cruncha ma-me reminded me of Corn Nuts, which means I'll definitely be picking up additional packages of these to snack on very soon.
Barre, a real food bar developed by two professional dancers to fuel top athletic performance, comes in three great flavors, including pirouette cinnamon pecan, black swan chocolate berry, and ballerina spiruluna. The berries in the black chocolate berry add a strong tartness to the bar that is later offset by all the chocolate flavor.
Michele's Granola is handmade in small batches in Maryland. I ate the whole bag in one sitting...
I also could have easily finished Way Better Snacks' bag of Punkin Cranberry Tortilla Chips in one sitting as well, but I somehow made the bag last three days.
St. Claire's Organics' organic, allergen-free candy provides an easy way for you to satisfy your sweet tooth.
During my last trip to Wegman's, I stocked up on Peanut Butter & Co flavors I can't easily find elsewhere. I still have a couple of jars in my pantry, but I'll definitely plan to snag a few more jars from the VegFest. I've always wanted to use the Dark Chocolate Dreams flavor as a substitute to chocolate frosting, though I usually just end up eating it by the spoonful straight from the jar.
Nachos have never really been my snack of choice, and I am thus not an expert on nacho cheese, but if I hadn't opened this package to heat up some Teese for my pita chips, I would have never known I was eating vegan cheese.
With maple syrup as an ingredient, Phoney Baloney's Coconut Bacon, (which can be found in Clarksville, Maryland's Conscious Corner) starts off sweet, but the bacon flavors start to come through at the end. This would make a great addition to any salads or sandwiches.
Kate Bakes offers gluten free vegan bars. These chewy bars come in flavors including Chocolate Coffee, Banana Cinnamon Oatmeal, and Sunflower Butter Raisin.
To sample and/or buy any of the products found above, make sure to stop by the DC VegFest this Saturday! A full list of exhibitors can be found at http://dcvegfest.com/exhibitors/.