Paris Vegan Day

˜I’ve never had much time for foods that masquerade as meat – seitan, tempeh and the like – yet I’m always sniffing around for new flavours.

˜So it was with mixed feelings, but tastebuds wide open, that I moseyed along to Paris Vegan Day on Sunday. The event, masterminded by several vegan groups, focused on tastings and cookery demonstrations highlighting precisely those ingredients.

A hungry crowd had gathered around the stand run by Loving Hut, the capital’s first all-vegan restaurant, where fake chicken kebabs featuring tofu just as stringy as the real thing were being handed out. My carnivorous companions found them lip-lickingly good. I preferred the fresh, crunchy spring rolls.

Also on offer were samples of imitation cheese (“now that’s more like it”, muttered the reformed vegetarian lurking beneath my vegan exterior). And I must say this Gruyère lookalike did taste a bit like cheese, including the added tang of guilt – but perhaps that was only because I haven’t had genuine cheese for nearly three months…

I bought a packet – fake rind and all – just to see what was in it. Imported from Switzerland, it bore the name No-Muh-Chäs (think about it…) and a list of ingredients in German. With the help of a dictionary and some school German going back several decades, I can reveal that the contents are: water, plant fat and oil, potato starch, yeast powder, rice flour, ground walnuts, rock salt, spices, vegetabiles Aroma (sic), carraghene and plant-derived lactic acid. Even if the result is reminiscent mainly of cheese and onion crisps, I have to hand it to the creators of No-Muh-Chäs for getting so close on the basis of that little lot.

Nearby, the Plaisir végétal team were serving biscuits and drinks, including some ginger juice that was definitely worth a detour.

Meanwhile Deborah and Caroline Brown-Pivain from The Gentle Gourmet had started showing how to make appetisers and starters from a range of vegan ingredients. We moved closer, the better to see, hear and taste.

Later Kardinal, VG-Zone‘s flamboyant cook, set about preparing his Royal Seitan, a sort of vegan hamburger based on powdered gluten. It finally hit me that developing dishes that taste much like meat is important to win over new recruits to the vegan cause. Although I would rather make burgers starting with beans and lentils, they’d never fool anyone still secretly lusting after steak.

The VG-Zone team also astonished us with some divine desserts that all by themselves made the event worth the trip. I can tell I’m about to become a devotee of their website, where they share many such recipes.

I also leafed through the impressive cookbook collection of fraîch’attitude, which hosted the event, subscribed to Végétariens Magazine, said hi to the good people from Association Végétarienne de France, which I already belong to, and bought some Plamil and Bonvita chocolate.

But we had a train to catch, and there just wasn’t enough time to see everything. For instance, I was sorry not to get to the Lush stand. I’ve often bought their fresh cosmetics in London but had no idea their products are 90% vegan or that they have 11 shops in France (you can also order online).

Let’s hope the success of Paris Vegan Day will make the organisers want to do it all again next year – or even sooner.

˜ So it was with mixed feelings, but tastebuds wide open, that I moseyed along to Paris Vegan Day on Sunday. The event, masterminded by several vegan groups, focused on tastings and cookery demonstrations highlighting precisely those ingredients.

2 Responses to “Paris Vegan Day”

  1. Thanks for this great article!

    We’re already organizing the next edition!!!!

    Caroline

  2. Paris Vegan Day 2010
    Le 28 Novembre 2010 – 2ème édition
    A Paris, le 20 mai 2010
    Un Pari(s) Pour La Vie

    L’association Paris Vegan Days organise pour la seconde année le plus grand salon parisien 100% végétal de France, avec de nombreux stands de sociétés (produits alimentaires, vins et spiritueux, écoproduits, vêtements, etc.) et d’associations (causes environnementale, éthique et de sport et de santé), d’ateliers pratiques et ludiques (enfants, cuisine, sport, etc.), de conférences et débats, d’animations en tout genre.
    Le 28 novembre 2010, en plein mois du veganisme mondialement reconnu, nous vous proposons de participer à cette journée (de 10h à minuit).
    Après le premier succès en novembre 2009, l’association renouvèle l’événement et amener une énergie positive au veganisme.
    Le public est de plus en plus sensible aux différentes causes environnementales, éthiques, et de santé et il s’apprête à changer ses habitudes au nom de ces trois causes. Les perspectives de développement sont grandes et le marché s’accroît.

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