Paris Vegan Day

By Mary Margaret Chappell October 7, 2011 Categories: Veg Events

PHOTO: VT Food Editor Mary Margaret Chappell with VT contributor and Vegan Fusion chef Mark Reinfeld.
Thanks to VT contributor and Vegan Fusion chef Mark Reinfeld (his 1 Food 5 Ways: Pineapple will appear in the January 2012 issue), I found out about Paris Vegan Day, a two-day vegan salon in the French capital. Mark was to be there doing a cooking demonstration, and his enthusiasm and encouragement gave me the gentle nudge I needed to catch an early train on Sunday October 3 to go to the show. (I have a house in Brittany.) In addition to meeting Mark, I wanted to see what a vegan community would be like in a city renowned for butter croissants, cream-filled pastries and egg dishes ranging from simple omelets to spectacular soufflés.
As the TGV (high-speed train) whooshed through the French countryside, I really began to wonder what I’d find at the show. All of France was experiencing a glorious Indian summer, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the early 1900’s. The news was full of the summerlike temperatures, the cloudless blue skies, and the Parisians who were occupying every outdoor space to soak up the sunshine. I worried that potential attendees would forego the conferences and cooking demos for lunches in outdoor cafés or picnics on the Seine.
Boy was I wrong. The 3-storey venue in the edgy, up-and-coming 20th arrondissement, was buzzing with hundreds of visitors tasting, talking, listening, shopping, and just hanging out. After working at VT for so long, I can be pretty blasé about food shows, but at Paris Vegan Day, everywhere I looked there was something new and wonderful do discover. Seitan gyros from a German company, fresh Asian-style salads from vegan fast food chain Loving Hut, milk and white chocolate made with rice milk…I was impressed.
Then there were the cooking demos. I caught three: by Mark Reinfeld, Fran Costigan and Deborah Pivain, the owner of the Gentle Gourmet Bed and Breakfast in Paris and organizer of the show. I probably wasn’t the best audience member because I couldn’t hear very well from where I was sitting and kept wanting to chat. I did manage to catch a few key tidbits on tofu marinades from Mark and tempering chocolate from Fran.
Ultimately, the chats and exchanges I had and overheard were my favorite part of the show. Aurelia d’Andria, another VT star contributor (her Parisian Thanksgiving feast appears in the November issue of the magazine) once again wowed me with her insights, opinions and humorous takes on her vegan experiences. Fran Costigan and I talked about her upcoming (vegan) book about chocolate and swapped tales about our recipe developing and testing experiences. Mark Reinfeld told me all about his travel experiences that will be going into a book coming out next fall. But perhaps the best conversation of the whole event was one I eavesdropped on as I headed out. A guy who’d just bought a batch of cupcakes was stopped by a security guard at the door who asked him, “Are those really made without butter and eggs?” Their discussion wasn’t long, but you could tell that both the vegan cupcake buyer and the ultra-non-veg security guard both got something out of the exchange.

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comments

Paris Vegan Day is coming up on october 12th at la Cité de la mode et du design in Paris. Have a look: www.parisveganday.fr

GreenGirl - 2013-10-02 21:08:47

Love to hear about vegan baking and cooking celebrated in Vegetarian Times' pages. Have a question for Fran or Mary Margaret. When melting chocolate, and it's seizing up -- whatever it's called when it's thickening -- can agave nectar be substituted for honey since honey isn't vegan, yet it's known to make the chocolate more manageable again? Looking forward to Fran's upcoming vegan cookbook. Priscilla Feral President, Friends of Animals Author, The Best of Vegan Cooking Co-Author with Lee Hall of Dining With Friends: the Art of North American Vegan Cuisine

Priscilla Feral - 2011-10-13 16:00:30

I was so happy to meet you Sunday, the second day of Paris Vegan Days Fest, and it was actually the first time that Mark and I met too. I'm used to hot lights in demo stages but Sat, the humongous lights were blazing and my chocolate transfer sheet shapes did not have a chance in the heat. I'm nothing if not Ms Plan B, so no matter....The Chocolate Cake to Live For Torte, or in this case, Chocolat Gateau, was happy to have a bit more melted chocolate and gold luster dust. Sunday's demo, which you saw, did feature seed tempered chocolate transferred and lights out. The conversation you heard at the door, "Are those (cupcakes) really made without butter and eggs?" is one I hear daily. Good is good! I used some of the white chocolate I bought at PVD to test a recipe for new class and upcoming book and thought about our dishing about recipe testing. You've got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them! Thank you for this terrific recap. Fran Costigan www.francostigan.com

Fran Costigan - 2011-10-10 08:26:22

Great little recap Mary Margaret Chappell! And so nice to meet you for a quick second as I was wisked away to the cooking demo stage again. No rest for vegan chefs in the culinary room for sure! It was my second year in a row participating in the Paris Vegan Day event and I can say that it was bigger and better than last year. One extreme to another as last year it was snowing and we froze. This year we sweated to death, especially under the stage lights. But hey, it's worth it, I took one for the vegan team! Always great to work with Fran Costigan and Deborah Brown-Pivain of PVD and Gentle Gourmet B&B! Mark Reinfeld was a joy to be around and great to work with for the first time. Looking forward to next year! Chef Tina Chevalier

Tina Chevalier - 2011-10-14 10:15:29