Ottawa VegFest 2017 kicked off this June 3rd and 4th for yet another fun-filled veggie convention. Although I had heard some pretty cool things about different VegFests in the past, I didn't have the motivation to attend until I went vegan this spring.

Like the new vegan I am, I entered the festival with a mixture of anxiety and awe, imagining all the cool things I was about to experience. I wasn't disappointed, and I thought I would highlight all the best things I saw at Ottawa VegFest this year.

The Cheese

cream, chocolate
Tegwyn Hughes

Cheese has been the biggest temptation for me since I went vegan. I used to be obsessed with cheese, especially the fancy kinds like creamy Brie or sharp Cheddar. There were loads of vegan substitutes at VegFest that I couldn't help but sample. I even bought some Zengarry Fauxmage brie to binge on at home.

The Meals

spinach, parsley, kale
Tegwyn Hughes

Aside from all the samples and snacks, Ottawa Vegfest also hosted some amazing local restaurants like The Table to keep everyone full when lunchtime rolled around. It felt so relieving to be able to order anything I wanted without worrying about the ingredients in the dishes—they were all free of animal products.

The Desserts

chocolate ice cream, ice cream, ice, cream, chocolate
Tegwyn Hughes

It was no surprise that Oat & Mill, a local dairy-free ice cream maker, had the longest line at their stand. This ice cream is made of ground oats, but you wouldn't be able to tell from a taste test. My fudge and coffee-flavoured scoops tasted exactly like the tubs I used to devour.

The Drinks

Tegwyn Hughes

Naturally, kombucha played a big role in Ottawa VegFest this year, and I had a great time sampling each and every flavour at every kombucha stall. Culture Kombucha was my favourite in the end, and their local brew will not disappoint.

The People

In the end, the best thing about Ottawa VegFest wasn't the amazing food, but the amazing people that I got to interact with. It's nice to feel united with a group of individuals, especially when your dietary choices so often make you the odd one out. 

Overall, I would recommend Ottawa VegFest to anybody, vegan or vegetarian or omnivore. If you enjoy stuffing your face with free samples and learning a little bit more about the vegan lifestyle, then this is the festival for you.