Bites, and flavours, and sips, oh my!
This was the scene inside Canada’s largest consumer, food, beverage, and cooking festival.
Eat!Vancouver 2014 Festival
Held at BC Place Stadium, the 12th annual Eat!Vancouver Festival featured over 250 exhibitors and eight stages and counters including my personal favourite – the Food Network Celebrity Stage – where celebrity chefs Rob Feenie, Chuck Hughes, Lynn Crawford Vikram Vij, Ned Bell, and Michael Clive entertained the audience while cooking up delicious meals!
Celebrity chefs cooked and entertained on the Food Network stage!
Consumers had the opportunity to sample unique dishes, discover new foods both local and international, sip on hundreds of the best wines, beers, and spirits (for those 19+), learn tips from the pros, and shop for a variety of products suited for cooking, drinking, and entertaining in your kitchen! The festival was also a great opportunity for beginner cooks to challenge their culinary skills by participating in one-hour culinary classes taught by Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts’ Chef instructors at the cost of 28 dollars.
It was great to see a number of exhibitors hailing from Surrey this year including Nutrisoya, Habibi’s Mediterranean Food, Mike’s Sundance Seafood, Bonne Sante’s Pumpkin Seed Oil, Urban Cultivator, and Bosa Foods. Sales coordinator at Bosa Foods, Michael Guidi, said he’s noticed a shift towards products that are unique and healthy. He’s also seeing more and more consumers with a desire to educate themselves about the foods they’re eating.
“Every year the festival keeps getting bigger and bigger and more consumers are coming to get educated. This year has been pretty good with a lot of enthusiasm in regards to learning about natural, clean, and organic products. The trend in the market is heading towards that direction”, says Guidi.
The trend in the market could also be headed towards neighborhood meal-sharing networks thanks to RightOvers, a new exhibitor at the festival. Their concept is cool. RightOvers connects home cooks with friends, family, and neighbours that are hungry for healthy and sustainable meals. Home cooks volunteer their homes and prepare meals and neighbours pitch in for the cost of the ingredients. The site brings foodies together, in particular those that want to diversify their palate, eliminate over-processed foods from their dinner tables, and reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills. For more on RightOvers, visit their website at www.rightovers.com
At the end of the day, I left the festival in what I like to call a self-induced “food coma” (only to fall deeper into a coma after heading over to Acme café with a girlfriend where we gorged on shrimp melt sandwiches and bacon mac and cheese ). I literally tried everything under that roof and honestly, can you blame me when samples included coconut bacon chips (yes, there really exists such a thing) Brazilian style cheese puffs, and vegan peanut butter cookies? I’ll definitely return next year.
Eat!Vancouver returns next year and runs from May 22-24. For more information on the festival, you can visit www.eat-vancouver.com