EAT vs. EPIC
This was a trade show weekend for us. We visited EAT Vancouver, the Food & Cooking Festival, on Friday and EPIC, the Sustainable Living Expo, on Saturday. Both were held in the new Vancouver Convention Center. This was at least our fourth or fifth time in the building and every time we are amazed at both how big it is and how well designed; even ‘pretty’ for a convention center.

EAT Vancouver
The booths at EAT were not what we had expected and actually a bit disappointing. We went in hoping to find some great Vancouver or BC products that we did not know about and instead wandered through rows of importers. There were a few shining lights in the fact the it was the first time we ever tried Red Racer Beers made by Central City Brewing Company in Surrey BC. Jeff liked the extra ‘hoppy’ India Pale Ale while I of course preferred the White Ale. With a multi-12 pack in the BCLC it will be one of our choices this summer. We also discovered Fresh is Best Salsa Company and Tara loved both the Salsa and the Spinach Dip which are available at Capers. The elements of the show that we did really enjoy included a seminar by the Wine Diva in which we tried unique, good and cheap wines (a Torrontes from Argentina, Bearfoot Pinot Noir from California and Flaio Primitivo from Italy; all under $15) and the CityTv Master Chef Competition. Since we were at the show on Friday the competition was in the first round but both Chefs were great and it was exciting to watch. With a ‘black box’ of ingredients and only 35 minutes it was very interesting to watch the creations.

EPIC Expo
There were so many local, organic, sustainable or all of the above products to see at EPIC that it actually took us much longer to get through than we thought. With sections dedicated to home, food and beverage, sustainable weddings, transportation, fashion, health and beauty and others we focused mainly on the food. The most interesting people we talked to and the products we tried were from Denman Island Chocolate and Natureland Organic Beer. Daniel Terry owner/operator of Denman Island Chocolate is passionate about his product and was happy to talk about it and answer all of our questions. With 10 varieties to choose from, all dark and made from all organic ingredients (some fair trade, some not, but they are working on it) it was hard to choose; but since they are available at Capers and Urban Fare we can always try them all. Natureland Organic Amber Ale and Lager are made by Pacific Western Brewing Company in Prince George. With less of an aftertaste than other ales Tara actually liked the Amber. Maybe there is a beer that we will both drink?!

The coolest product overall had to be the bags made by U.S.E.D. out of recycled seatbelts. Made in Canada out of seatbelts collected from wreckers by the family owned company bags can be purchased online and are made to order. For more info visit http://www.recycledseatbelts.ca/.