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EAT! Vancouver 2014 Recap

I love EAT! Vancouver. This is my favourite food festival of the year.

This year, over 250 food and drink vendors were ready to share the latest in food trends, tools, culinary travel and everything tasty.

This year attendees had a chance to rub shoulders with Vancouver’s culinary royalty, like chefs Vikram Vij, Chuck Hughes, Lynn Crawford, Ned Bell, Michael P. Clive and Rob Feenie. Amateur mixologists got to up their game at the SIPS area by taking beer, wine and spirits seminars.

The Bites of Vancouver part of the festival showcased a selection of restaurants and chefs offering everything from pasta, oysters, Montreal smoked meat sandwiches and beaver tails to name only a few.

I had a great time this year, here are a few of my favourite highlights from the festival:

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Rob Feenie is an EAT! Vancouver veteran and a fan favourite. The Iron Chef entertained and delighted the crowds by creating simple dishes using fresh, local and sustainable ingredients.

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This is soon to be a summer staple in fridges across the country. Deebee’s tea pops are a frozen mix of tea and organic fruits. The pops are  sweetened with organic dehydrated coconut palm nectar or honey, never refined sugar. TeaPops are low in calories and packed with antioxidants. Follow them on Twitter @DeeBeesOrganics

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Vikram Vij’s not only an amazing chef, but also one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. He’s funny and kind and it’s always a pleasure to hear him speak.

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I just love this guy – Chef Craig Scherer is the Executive Chef at Trattoria Italian Kitchen in  Kits. Originally from Alberta, he and his family call Vancouver home now. Super nice guy, he always has time for a kind word or a joke. He’s recently joined the blogosphere and is an avid Tweep. Follow him at @Craig_Chef .

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The makers of Good Drink Ice Tea have a new drink called Zola – coconut water with a hint of espresso.  I’ve had other coconut water hybrids and this one is the best one I’ve tasted so far.

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I spent considerable time at the SIPS pavilion this year. I got to taste some new spirits that I got excited about, like Kealy’s vodka from Abbostford.  This vodka is diamond distilled to create a vodka so smooth that’s perfect for mixing.

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Kealy’s vodka is also certified gluten free.

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Panama Red blends aged rums in bourbon casks for ultimate character and flavour. Made in small batches using locally harvested sugar cane and is so versatile, it can be sipped straight, diluted with water, over the rock or a mixed beverage. With alcohol strength of 54% (108 proof!), Panama Red stands alone as the sole premium overproof rum on the market today. @PanamaRedRum

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Cabot Trail Maple Cream is made with pure grade A maple syrup, a great gift for an out of town guest or for yourself for that matter. I can imagine having this cream blended with ice cream to make a grown up milkshake.

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Following the Canadian spirits trend, I’m happy to introduce you to my new favourite gin – Ungava. The botanicals used to make this spirit are hand-harvested by the local Inuit population of the Canadian North and are also Fair Trade purchased.

The gin is crafted and distilled in small batches, which gives it its distinctive aroma and golden colour.

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I see myself drinking a lot of this wine this summer -The Wild Goose Vineyards Autumn Gold wine is a blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Pinot Blanc grapes. Very fruity with notes of citrus and orange, this is a crisp wine with just enough sweetness to make it perfectly sip able.  @WildGooseWines

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Love, love, LOVE the guys at Good Drink – their blueberry white ice tea is one of my favourite drinks (and only 56 calories per bottle!). I’m also a fan of their lemon and honey green tea. Who am I kidding, I love them all! @gooddrink

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I was intrigued by Granola Girl – an organic and vegan product that’s made locally, it’s loaded with good stuff for you. Taste great too!

This product is definitely worth trying out. @aprilbellia

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