Care of Emily Thompson, Festival and Events Coordinator

It was just over six weeks ago that I arrived at the charming second floor office of the Toronto Vegetarian Association, ready to embark on my journey as their new Festival and Events Coordinator. I approached my desk to find an array of items welcoming me to the organization, including a delicious looking cupcake right in front of my eyes. I quickly learned that Barbi, our Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator, has a hidden talent in the realm of vegan baked goods, among other things. This was a dangerous finding especially as we were gearing up for the Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off that both of us had signed up to be home-bakers for… Of course we were going to bring our test batches into the office!

I have been lucky to work for companies and organizations revolving around good, healthy food (most of the time) and the TVA is no exception. The even better thing about it is the fact that absolutely everything I get to taste is vegan!

Now I don’t want to make you jealous, but here’s just a few of the things I’ve had the opportunity to try over the last six weeks…

  1. Cosmic Treats – I had been to Cosmic Treats a few times before working for the TVA and really, there is nothing like it. My guilty pleasure has to be their Cookie Dough Ice Cream…. On a blustery, snowy day, which were few and far between this past winter, I trekked over to Kensington Market for a Vegan Bake-Off interview with 96.3FM The New Classical. Naturally, we suggested Cosmic Treats as the location for the interview – a place that is the definition of vegan sweet and savoury indulgence! 96.3FM’s radio host, Michael, and I enjoyed a slice of Elliot’s famous Chocolate Mousse Cake and it was incredible! Just what we needed with our warm drinks on a cold, snowy day while discussing vegan baked goods. What a treat!

  2. Taste of India – The wonderful couple behind Taste of India came to the office for a visit the day after the Vegan Bake-Off. As if we needed any more food! They kindly brought us a delicious three-course Southern Indian lunch that Barbi and I happily enjoyed after unpacking all of the Vegan Bake-Off supplies.

  3. Prana – We received a box from Prana shortly after our Taste of India lunch (clearly luck was on our side that day) to taste their new line of Fair Trade Chocolate Bark. I recognized Prana from shopping in various health food stores, but was not very familiar with their products. It was fantastic to give it a try! Barbi and I would highly recommend the ‘’No Mylk’n Hazelnuts and Crispy Rice’’ flavour.

  4. Upbeet Foods – More recently, we had a spontaneous visit from Upbeet Foods, a new vegan meal delivery service in Toronto. They provided us with a selection of great pre-made vegan meals. I tried out the Kale, Beet & Chickpea salad, which was the perfect mixture of fresh and crunchy topped off with a delicious tahini dressing. It made for a quick and healthy meal for an on-the-go person like myself!

Between trying out new restaurants with the team and getting a chance to taste products from our partnering businesses, I couldn’t be more proud to be involved in Toronto’s growing veg community. Food plays such an important part in our everyday lives and choosing foods that are nourishing and promote compassion among all living things always leaves me feeling satisfied!