Upcoming Vancouver festival celebrates all that is cheese and meat
Justin Scott // Managing Editor
For many, the word “festival” conjures up flashbacks of weekends of depravity, dehydration and a loss of all hygiene. However, Vancouver’s upcoming Cheese and Meat Festival aims to offer a very different experience. With plates of charcuterie and cheese paired with local beers and wine, this festival promises to be a delicious night.
On Sept. 30, the Roundhouse in Yaletown will be home to over 45 vendors offering meats, cheeses, baked good, spreads, beers, wines, scotch and more. Sound good? Well, if that weren’t enough, the festival is also offering seminars throughout the day.
Festival organizer Dave Bain is excited for several reasons. “For me, the most exciting part of this festival is to watch the vendors showcase their products to the public. It is amazing to watch the creator of an amazing cheese, charcuterie or accompaniment explain and develop their brand with the attendees,” he said.
He also thinks the seminars are an exciting aspect of the event that not all food and beverage festivals offer. They allow the vendors the opportunity to showcase their production process as well as answer any questions and offer pairing advice.
As exciting as an event like this may be for many, certain communities have recently been speaking out against celebrations of meat and lactose-based goods. While the products rendered from animals are often considered delicacies, society often overlooks the way the animals involved in the process are treated, as well as the sustainability of the industry.
Conscious of these concerns, Bain made it clear that the festival is aware of these issues, and aims to celebrate the products in a sustainable and ethical manor. The festival works with “vendors who align with that same vision,” according to Bain. “We do not look to use mass-produced products but rather focus on locally sourced products that are ethically harvested. On top of that, we want attendees to understand that charcuterie boards can be vegan. We have vegan vendors at the Festival showcasing plant-based meats.” Additionally, the event tries to celebrate what Bain calls the local “mom and pop shops.”
For Jessica Winter, a Vancouver-based Instagrammer who shares photos and recipes documenting her plant-based lifestyle, the festival is still a celebration of an industry causing harm to both our environment and sentient beings. “At first my response is that this is event is just one of the livestock/diary industries, in collaboration with our government and non-profits, attempt to continue to brainwash people that meat and diary is good for you,” she said. “However, I just took a look at their website to see the vendors and sponsor list and I noticed Blue Heron and The Very Good Butcher on there. These are two plant-based vendors. This makes me very happy, because we need to start exposing ‘meat eaters’ to these amazing and tasty vegan options,” she added.
Winter, who became a vegetarian at a young age because she felt eating animals was morally wrong, said she now lives a plant-based lifestyle for other reasons. “My motivation behind living a plant-based lifestyle is mostly environmentally focused,” she said. “Of course there is the added health benefit of this lifestyle when done properly, but for me I find strength and motivation when I think about the greater good – the environment.”
If the festival is something you’re interested in, Bain has some pieces of advice. If you must choose a session to attend, he recommends the evening tasting one. “This will be a great view of the event in action,” he said. If a seminar sounds like something you’d enjoy Bain suggests the spirits and cheese seminar. “You get to taste amazing high-end Glenlivet and high-end cheeses. it gives you the ability to easily showcase this to friends in the future as well,” he explained.
For those new to the world of meat and cheese, don’t fear, it’s not as intimidating as it may sound. “I always recommend people start with two kinds of cheese that contrast each other,” advised Bain. He recommended a sweet cheese and a sharp one – maybe a soft parmesan for the soft and a smoked cheddar for the sharp. “For charcuterie find meats that are mixed with a fruit or plant to add flavor and then go with a straight ‘house creation’ from the shop,” he said.
For more information on the festival visit Cheeseandmeatfestival.com/vancouver/ and for tickets visit Eventbrite.ca/e/vancouver-cheese-and-meat-festival-2017-tickets-30280967188
If meat isn’t your thing, head over to Winter’s Instagram page, @jessicabwinter for some delicious plant-based alternatives.