To most people’s chagrin, a lot of festivals, conventions, and concerts have been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. It is devastating that we are now constrained to our homes and essential businesses in proximity. For the last several years since starting the blog, I arguably LIVED for these conventions. Nothing pleased me more than meeting like-minded businesses, individuals, and samples left and right. Unbeknownst is the time we can experience these events again.
Fortunately, there were a couple that were held the past two months–both centered on veganism! We attended the Central Coast VegFest in February and got a chance to see a wide plethora of vendors, food trucks, and presentations! The variety of companies and products showcased at this festival was marveling, almost DAZZLING with how even smaller counties found success in following the traction of veganism and how massively the vegan community in California has expanded. Secondly, as a solo night out, I attended the invitations-only launch party of local vegan cheese company The Artisan Wheelhouse, which entailed a hallway of tastings centered around the different types of oil free cheese manufactured by the business. Chocolate ricotta? Vegan Camembert? A vegan cheesecake? Yes, it’s all featured in this event.
Check out the companies below!
- Easy Vegan Meal Prep: vegan blog run by Veronica Dailey; it is centered around oil free, vegan, and whole foods-focused recipes that are also easy and affordable.
- Dailey Foods: plant-based cooking consulting business and service that also holds cooking classes at different universities and colleges to spread the message about vegan cooking and healthier meal options. This was a black bean brownie topped with coconut milk whipped cream and a strawberry!
- Urban Remedy: by far, one of the coolest brands I’ve come across that is widely available around the nation! They provide an abundance of meals, protein bars, snacks, cold-pressed juices, dairy free milks, desserts, tea, coffee, and much more. I love how their packaging is 100% recyclable and recycled, plus their products are organic, non-GMO, vegan, dairy free, and gluten free.
- Whalebird Kombucha: one of my favorite kombucha lines–the kombucha varieties are locally made, organic, vegan, raw, and gluten free. They have a small bar in downtown SLO where you can try the kombucha on tap with a lovely team behind the company. Two words: purple rain. Their CBD purple rain kombucha is the BEST!
- The Neighborhood Acai: this is a lovely juice cleanse service and chain juice bar/shop located in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. I have never tried their menu items, but definitely check it out because their juices are super refreshing!
- Kacey Cakes: LOVE LOVE LOVE. Raw vegan peanut butter cups, raw vegan queso cheese, raw vegan cheesecakes, cakes, and pies are produced by Kacey Cakes. Their desserts are insanely decadent, entirely vegan, and all-around luscious. I’m OBSESSED with their chocolate raw vegan cheesecake!
- Pure Food Organic Kitchen: specializing in falafel-centered dishes, Pure Food Organic Kitchen delivers on creating the Mediterranean classics of falafel plates, gyros, collard green wraps, and other accompaniments such as pita bread, hummus, and baba ganoush. We got to sample their falafels, which were pretty darn tasty!
- Zumo Zuzhi: even though we did not order from this place, someone else did–their Feeling Good sushi burrito and garlic noodles looked absolutely terrific! They have a wide array of vegan options and showcase their phenomenal menu items at vegan festivals.
- Scoop the Magic: the actual definition of ice cream magic. Scoop the Magic is a local business in SLO dedicated to producing dairy free and refined sugar free ice creams that also do not contain soy, artificial colors, nor gluten. I LOVED all the flavors from the lineup–there is a favorite for everyone!
- We Be Grubbin’: one of my pleasures in the vegan food sphere is tasting a delectable smoky vegan meat and We Be Grubbin’ is no stranger to this! They created custom bowls out of their vegan fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, smoked brisket, collard greens, coleslaw, and more.
- The Vreamery: Say VEGAN cheese! The Vreamery is such a treasure in San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Cambria, Santa Margarita, and anyone who uses their delivery service. This line executes all kinds of nut free cheese, probiotic pates, crumbly cheese, sliced cheese, and even a vegan cheesemaking kit! I bought their mini box of blue cheese, cheddar, Brie, and provolone. They tasted FABULOUS!
- Wellbean: sold on campus and in local grocery stores, this is a company focused on bean-based energy bars (that’s right!) of many flavors, including peanut butter crunch, almond fudge brownie, coconutty, and others.
- PETA: most of you have heard of PETA–you can learn more about them on their website! They offer insightful advice, fun articles, games, and a wide medley of categories, including news, lists, and investigations. This organization is not perfect, but there’s no denying their ostensible influence on animal rights activism.
- Kelly’s Croutons: seen at almost every single vegan festival, this brand produces absolutely stupendous vegan cheese sprinkles and croutons–they just came out with cinnamon croutons that taste like cereal! I’m obsessed!
- Miss Teaberry’s Baked Goods (from Bliss Cafe): around two years ago, I ordered a wide array of their breakfast treats, including cinnamon coffee cake, a zucchini chocolate loaf, and citrus scones (which are some of the best of the best!). Their baked goods are allergen-friendly (wheat free, soy free, corn free, potato free, and some even don’t have grains, eggs, and dairy, though most of their items do not have eggs and dairy) and taste like a dream! Their chocolate raspberry donut was absolutely marvelous, but try everything!
- The Artisan Wheelhouse: being the same company that hosted an exclusive launch party for their brand and products, The Artisan Wheelhouse is easily one of the most exceptional brands in the festival. Their cheeses are oil free, nut-based, handcrafted, void of fillers, and the packaging has no plastic! I absolutely adored their vegan cheese samples, but you will learn more about them in the next event!
- SLO Veg: dedicated to feeding the community, this delivery service is family owned, supportive of local farmers, and veggie-centric. Produce is harvested within 24 hours of delivery and work with local sources to reduce the environmental impact, nourish the most proximate economy, and obtain the freshest fruits and vegetables!
- Raw Fresno: a vegan restaurant in Fresno, this place has an extensive menu with raw vegan options, a subscription meal delivery service, and cooking class offerings, hiking tours, catering. Their vegan bean and kale salad and falafels looked absolutely delicious!
- Kawi Foods: if you are into DIY and home cooking that’s easy and effortless, this is the brand for you. Kawi Foods creates vegetable broth seasoning mixes, tea, dressings, and drink mixes. I loved their golden milk drink medley!
- Trader Joe’s: the booth of Trader Joe’s offered samples of their vegan snack cookies, AKA some of the most delectably addictive desserts you can eat by the handful. Nonetheless, it it no strange anomaly that there are SO many vegan options at the beloved TJ’s!
Here it is, folks: the exclusive invitation-only launch party of The Artisan Wheelhouse! Held at Farmhouse Corner Market, there was a whole line of booths with vegan cheese samples on crackers paired with other additions to refine their already sophisticated cheese varieties. Whalebird Kombucha even had a booth for their kombucha products! Does it get any better? I think not!
The samples were mostly cashew-based and savory-oriented with two being sweet. First of the plethora was a shallot dill cheese on a sourdough cracker, then a creamy chive and zesty lemon cheese on a cucumber, a nuage Camembert with apple cider jam, a pasta shell filled with vegan cheese and vegan pesto, and a plain spreadable cheese with tomatoes and a cracker, and lastly, chocolate ricotta, and a vegan cheesecake with fruity jam! By far, my favorite samples were the Camembert cheese and vegan cheesecake. My colleague Joanne works for this company and baked the cheesecakes herself. I might have to message her to ask for the recipe!
Hope you all are staying safe and healthy out there!