I'm not sure how I was unaware that Level V was a completely vegan cafe and bakery. I did see that Whisk Matcha Cafe was featuring a vegan hot chocolate for the festival so off we went.
Whisk Matcha Café/Level V Bakery - Greater Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival - Vegan Café
Kasama Chocolates - Greater Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival - Vegan Options
Chocolate can be an environmental and ethical disaster when produced by "big chocolate" (sorry to coin an expression if no one else has yet, but like other commodities, when giant companies get involved, greed often wins out over everything). On the other hand, if it is produced by small and connected groups of people, it can be part of an environmentally friendly and ethical industry. The cacao trees themselves are shade trees and in the Philippines are generally grown in companionship with other crops like bananas or coconuts and so provide an environmentally friendly crop. Unfortunately, we usually hear about the Amazon or African rainforests being cut down to produce a mono-crop, which does not need to be the case. Discussion of the treatment of the farm workers in those mono-crop situations is another equally important issue for another time.
Within a few days, I heard Richard Wolacks's interview with Vince (one of 4 partners at Kasama Chocolates and the Philippine connection that got their enterprise started) on the Vanfoodster podcast and an interview with Rowan Jacobsen about the ethics of chocolate on the podcast Climavores. Armed with all that newfound and dangerous knowledge, I was thrilled to see that Kasama would be participating in the Greater Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival and that their offerings would be vegan! I love it when a plan comes together and this wasn't even a plan!
Momo Joy - Vegan Take Out
We first met Momo Joy at the Dumpling Festival in Coquitlam where they were the only plant based vendor. We were not stunned by their product at the time which, due to the limited set up, were simply steamed and served with a bit of sauce, but we appreciated their potential.
Pagliacci's, Victoria - Vegan Options
As we were walking back to our hotel from Burger Crush, we walked past Pagliacci. I did not take much notice as Italian restaurants seem to be the most carnivorous of all (or at least dairy-heavy), but then I thought, we're here...why not take a peek? To my surprise, there was a whole vegan section on the menu posted outside the restaurant! So, despite the fact that they do not take reservations and that this is a touristy downtown place, we decided to return for dinner!
Burger Crush, Victoria - Vegan Options
From Nanaimo, we made the trek to Victoria on Thursday. We stopped at the Malahat Skywalk just south of Duncan (we have never been before) and enjoyed it thoroughly, despite the inclement weather.
Gabriel's Gourmet Café, Nanaimo - Vegan Options
From Courtenay, we took the main highway to Nanaimo. Of course, the coastal road is more scenic but we have been that way quite a few times. In this case, time was the limiting factor but it was still almost dark by the time we arrived at our motel. The days may be getting longer again, but they haven't come that far!
Mudsharks Coffee Bar, Courtenay - Vegan Options
Wednesday just before noon, we set sail for Comox aboard the Salish Orca. I am glad that we have ways of naming our vessels other than Queen of this or that.
Thaidal Zone and Base Camp Coffee, Powell River - Vegan Options
Our travel from Sechelt to Powell River on Tuesday was punctuated by a stop in the lovely community of Madeira Park (and a long wait at the ferry terminal later). After a slow cruise along the winding community roads with views of the harbor from many angles we ended up at the Madeira Park Wharf.
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