Today let's talk festivals. Specifically -- festivals that revolve around food. In other words, the very best kind of event one could attend...amiright?! The NJ VegFest was our first foray into this world and it was unexpectedly delightful. The NJ VegFest is billed as "A Celebration of the Good Food and Good people of the Garden State" and I'd say they nailed it.
I'm not normally one to jump on board an event with many people crammed into confined spaces, and assured lines, but when I saw this was a mere 15 minutes from my home I knew we'd do it. Going with all the kids was risky, but once we saw a bouncy house was involved, we were in.
The event was held in an Expo center and set up with several food vendors, products for sale and a separate seating area for those who chose to actually be civilized about their eating (not us). We tried several products, and possibly all the kombucha and I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you here.
The Fanciful Fox - This booth carried tons of vegan bath and body products. All smelled delightful, and had a bit of a sassy twist to the branding. Names like "Sweet Sweet Love" for rose soap and "Witchy Brew" turned me into a believer basically at hello. Our favorites were the "Bath Fizzes" -- particularly the "Witchy Brew" (see above). My boys were delighted!
Homemade Betty -- Beautiful packaging and branding magically drew me to this line. I picked up the rose toner (ingredients include witch hazel) and anti-bacterial spray. Being able to meet and speak with the lovely woman who not only created this company, but makes all the products was just such a treat.
Fresh Press Juice Co -- I've tried a lot of juices at this point, but I'm always willing to try more, and the "Peared Up" was awesome. Even my 8 year old got behind this one within about 5 seconds flat. We also sampled their banana whip - think ice cream but...not. SO good!
Soul Bowl - Possibly the most decadent (we had the Mint Oreo), and definitely largest acai bowl that I've even had, and I loved every single bite. I'm not complaining. Breakfast, lunch, dinner...I could have this for every single meal.
Luhv - This was possibly my favorite discovery of the day. In addition to several other creative recipes, Luhv makes a vegan tuna salad. I had to try this and it was that good. Think chickpeas, mixed with garlic, three kinds of seaweed (to replace iron in fish - brilliant), ginger. It was SO good and inspired me to have a go at this at home. I think that's the best kind of recipe or food - the kind that inspires you to be creative on your own and turns you onto something entirely new. Luhv has products at select Whole Foods in PA and southern NJ and hopefully more to come soon (Maplewood..hint, hint)! Finally - the owner, Silvia, has the most radiant smile...it lit me up!
In summary, what really struck me about this festival was the energy of the place. Lots of smiles, everyone very kind and quick to help. Many proprietors showed clear pride in their products (rightly so). I loved this experience -- it felt like such magic just to be there for a few hours on a Saturday. Watch out - I just might become a food festival junkie!
Have you ever been to a food festival? Tell me about it!