One of the highlights from Susanne’s visit was when Chuck Hughes (you might know him from The Food Network’s Chuck’s Day Off) took to the celebrity stage for a cooking demonstration. Always a colorful personality, Chuck prepared his take on a ceviche while the dozens of audience members looked on. Also featured at the festival were Vancouver mainstay Rob Feenie, local restauranteur Vikram Vij and executive chef Lynn Crawford.
Just like last year’s event, there was also a cheese tasting seminar sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. The progression went from a mild Tre Stelle mini bocconcini right through to a wine-like Geurztraminer, a robust Castle blue cheese and a creamy Boursin garlic and herb cheese. The cheese seminar was included with the price of admission, but seating was limited.
A good number of vendors on site were giving out free samples, as well as selling their products, and many of these were focused on the healthier end of the spectrum. Greek yogurt has really grown in popularity in recent years and there were a good number of exhibitors sharing their variety of seeds and grains. Don’t confuse this “survival cereal” from Back to Earth with bird seed!
Susanne tells me that the vegan coconut bacon is actually made from coconut chips with a slight bacon flavoring, but you can definitely still taste the coconut. It was unique, to say the least.
While many people are already familiar with the Maille brand of Dijon mustard, they may not know about some of the different varieties available from the company. Here is a herb version, for instance, and there was also an orange-hued Provencale version with a mild peppery kick.
It’s not everyday that you find chocolate from Spain, let alone one that is sweetened with stevia. Here are a couple of samples from Valor.
Some of the stuff that you see at events like EAT! Vancouver are only mild variations on food items that you already know. You might discover a new brand of butter chicken sauce, like KFI, or you might partake in some chocolate-flavored rice milk. And then, there were the fried grasshoppers.
Some have said that insects will be the next big protein source, as they’re already popular in many cultures around the world, but the struggle is figuring out how best to farm and produce them. These little buggers (terrible pun intended) had a light, crispy texture to them.
The push toward all these healthy ingredients and healthy alternatives is mostly a good thing, as we can all cut back on those highly processed snacks and chemical-laden foods. Let’s just make sure we don’t ignore some of the delicious opportunities that aren’t quite as healthy either. There’s nothing wrong with a terrific BBQ spice rub, after all.
Here’s looking forward to next year’s EAT! Vancouver.
Photos by Susanne Shum