EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival 2011

Belts beware! EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival returned for another delicious weekend with hearty samples and cooking ideas. Situated in the west building of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the food fair showcases the best of local restaurants, suppliers, and demonstrations with celebrity chefs!

In an updated layout from last year, many of the booths offered bite-sized samples of cheeses, meats, and dairy products in a tasty trail towards the restaurant stalls and dining tables. There didn’t seem to be any new faces this time as the same places from last year lined the end of the massive room. Of course, they didn’t disappoint with savoury sliders, tantalizing tacos, bubbling drinks, and rich pastry squares. These tapas-style dishes were available only for purchase with special tickets at select booths. Booths could be found throughout the event, with 10 tickets for $5 or 20 for $10.

I checked out the beer and wine tasting area and sampled some beer from Vancouver Island, which was brewed with local honey. Very light and refreshing. For a two ticket deposit, staff would give you a glass to sample various drinks — jugs of water and buckets were available to wash out the glasses so flavours didn’t mingle. While I was meandering through, there was a cocktail seminar going on with different drinks being sampled.

Of course, there isn’t just food for humans at EAT! Vancouver. Pet lovers can pick up some treats for their faithful companions from a wide selection of all-natural snacks, toys and care products.

While the festival did pick up as the day went on, there was much more space in between booths and tables. Last year the event was really crowded and it was hard to walk through, but the organizers had picked up on the feedback and made it a little more accessible. I love the venue because it’s easy to get to and just so nice.

EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival runs for one more day, so be sure to go in with an empty stomach. Visit the web site for exact times and to purchase tickets (there’s a discount if you buy them online!)