I’m back. And Veg-er than ever.
Yes, another blog about Paris Vegan Day. What can I say? I am veg-obsessed. And who wouldn’t be after a visit to last weekend’s impressive Paris Vegan Day?
I headed to La Bellevilloise, a vast space in the 20th arrondissement, that was packed with companies showcasing their products and associations and filled to the brim with an eager crowd of French and international Vegan and Non-Vegan visitors. I couldn’t believe just how many people showed up and how much positive energy was circulating at PVD (PVD being Paris Vegan Day, though it does sound like a sexually-transmitted disease, so I just want to clarify.)
Guests were treated to cooking demos from top chefs from across the globe like Mark Reinfeld, Dany Culaud and Fran Costigan, plus a fashion show that rivaled the likes of Chanel and Rykiel at this year's simultaneous Paris Fashion Week. Organizers estimate that around 7,500-8,500 people attended over the course of the weekend.
Who knew that Paris, France the world capital of foie gras and cream would attract so many animal-friendly veggie-lovers? What’s even more incredible is that Paris Vegan Day’s founders, Deborah Brown Pivain and her family – of Gentle Gourmet B&B fame – started this a few years ago with just a small budget and a big vision and today, the event has become such a hit.
While I enjoyed meeting all of the brands who came in from all over Europe, special mention goes to the following discoveries:
Gutentag, Keimling! That was about the extent of my German-speaking skills, but I was happy to meet the team from Keimling, a massive European raw lifestyle site whose motto is “I feel good!” (Actually, it’s “Mir Geht’s Gut!” But that just doesn’t have the same ring to it for my Anglo-Saxon ears.) Keimling came out in force with a large stand upstairs at the fair and several cooking demos using their high-tech equipment like dehydators or the incredible, edible Vitamix. (Note: the actual Vitamix isn’t edible, but pretty much anything and everything you put into it will be after a quick spin around.) Parisian raw foodist/yogini/health coach Arletty Abady was on hand whipping up frozen smoothies and other raw delicacies all weekend long and Keimling’s team of professionals were friendly and informative. (By the way, if you're in Paris and don't know Arletty, she's Queen of all things raw in the capital - check out her site http://arlettyabady.com/ and blog http://latelier.crusine.over-blog.com/ for sure, so inspiring!)
Keimling's vast website not only features the top equipment, but also raw recipes, quality raw food products, body care and books. Their English-language site: http://www.keimling.eu
Keimling’s team even have a blog themselves http://www.rawfood-blog.com/ for the English version and http://www.mixer-deshydrater-crudites.fr/ en French.
I was thrilled to meet the mother-daughter team Colette and Nadège of Market’Veg. Market Veg’s website sells both handmade and imported natural, raw food products and this Mère-fille team also have a great blog at filled with health advice and fantastic recipes. http://veganbio.typepad.com/
Colette and Nadège have written a book about “The Incredible Benefits of Green Smoothies” and seem to know a lot about la vie en green. They’ve researched products from all over, and have handpicked a select number to sell on their site. They even make their own! Their sprouted buckwheat groats are absolutely delicious and have made their way into my cereal bowl almost every day this week. They also make homemade crackers and granolas, in addition to selling top products from around Europe like Detox Your World’s tahini and nut butters, that I’ve gone very quickly through already since this weekend, I admit.
OK, so Frédéric Marr and his delectable raw chocolates aren’t a NEW discovery for moi (see: http://lafleurdeparis.blogspot.com/2011/05/rrrawbecca.html) But the chef, teacher and master chocolatier is back with several new flavors including a “Nuit Blanche” (or “Up all night”) flavor and another called “Sweet Dreams.” Both come in adorable tin cases that whether you’re looking for some guarana to keep you up for hours or give a friend some sweet cashew and coconut to help his/her slumber, are the perfect gift.
If you’ve been reading le blog lately, you’ll know I am also a hempaholic and addicted to the tasty seeds. Well, I’ve found some Good ones, and they are GREAT. Not only are the Good hemp seeds and oils made from all-natural cannabis products grown right in the UK, but the founders hail from the film biz. Director of Photography Henry Braham and producer Glynis Murray are still making movies (think: “Everybody’s Fine” with Robert DeNiro among other high-profile titles), but they’re also growing and selling homemade hemp products like seeds, oils, protein powders, hemp milks, salad dressings and hemp-based mayonnaise. Braham and Murray’s products are made at Collabear Farm in North Devon, near Barnstaple (Can you get a more wonderfully British name than that?)
Nice to know that when I’m over the entertainment biz, I can buy a farm and grow some of my own hemp. Until then, I’ll just munch on Braham and Murray’s hemp seeds in between red carpet appearances.
I also enjoyed meeting Dany Culaud, raw chef extraordinaire, who, at one point, walked by with the most delicious plate of food and said "Oh, I just whipped this up quickly downstairs," so I cannot wait to experience one of her cooking classes for myself. Culaud works with both large companies and average Joes and Josephines to teach live cuisine and health and organizes trips all year long. Check out her site:
It’s easy being green when you can eat fresh spirulina from Vert Spiruline. Unfortunately, the fresh version doesn’t really keep, but Pierre-André Weité has thankfully packaged his Made-in-France spirulina and sells it at www.vert-spiruline.fr. While many spirulina products hail from China or other far-away locations, this version is made right in France at la Presqu’Ile de Giens. Vert Spiruline makes a classic variety and also a mint-flavored variety for extra zest.
An apple a day … has never looked so beautiful! Olivier Herbomel describes himself as a “fruit and vegetable sculptor,” a very unique profession. Herbomel put some of his recent designs on display at Paris Vegan Day and even did live sculpting in a watermelon (well, he wasn't actually IN a watermelon for the demo, but his designs were carved into the middle) to show his prowess. I’ve never seen anything quite like it – Herbomel’s attention to detail is incredible and the colors that emerge from fresh fruits and veggies are extraordinary. How ‘bout DEM apples?