The world's biggest vegan gathering is returning to Tel Aviv

It is said there are more vegans per capita in Israel than anywhere on the face of the earth.

 THE VEGAN Fest in 2019.  (photo credit: SHARON SHAHANNY El-ASRI)
THE VEGAN Fest in 2019.
(photo credit: SHARON SHAHANNY El-ASRI)

It is no secret that we are a vegan-friendly country. Yes, despite the continued proliferation of “mangalim,” and the clouds of thick pungent barbecue smoke that emanate from picnic spots all over the country through the summer, it is said there are more vegans per capita in Israel than anywhere on the face of the earth.

If you have noted the great number of non-animal-based eateries all over the show, particularly in Tel Aviv, you might want to mosey over to Sarona June 7-9 where the Vegan Fest returns for a sophomore outing after the highly successful inaugural bash there in 2019. I can vouch for the organizers’ claims of mass crowds at the curtain-raiser. I attended the first festival and, if anything, it was too successful for my liking. But not everyone is put off by crowds – I stopped going to major rock concerts quite a few years ago – and there is so much on offer at the event, which, again, is being hosted by the Vegan Friendly organization, in tandem with the Tel Aviv Municipality and Sarona Market.

This time out the organizers have added a third day – more than 50,000 turned up in 2019, so that may help to reduce patron density – with a wide range of activities in store at the various compounds that will be spread across the lawns of Sarona Park.

What is at the festival?

The program centerpiece, naturally, is food, food and even more food, of numerous colors, styles, consistency and flavor with more than 100 stalls dishing out the vittles, and nary an animal product among them. Many’s the time when, after telling someone I am vegan, I have been met by an incredulous stare followed by the question: “So, what do you eat?”

 VEGAN SAUSAGE rolls and steak bakes available for sale in a bakery near Manchester, UK.  (credit: PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS) VEGAN SAUSAGE rolls and steak bakes available for sale in a bakery near Manchester, UK. (credit: PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS)

In case there are any more of you vegan variety doubters, a look-see of the assortment of helpings that will be on display over at Sarona should put that one summarily to bed, for good. The festival, of course, also offers restaurants a golden opportunity to spread their commercial word and the likes of Anastasia, Bana, 416, Wong, The Green Butcher, Indira, Bretonne, Green Roll and Meshek Barzilai will be doling out the wholesome nourishment across the three-dayer.

And it won’t all be about stuffing our faces, with a children’s area that will include a gymboree, art corners and an assortment of fun activities laid on.

Patrons will also be able to get some practical ideas to take home with them, at workshops that demonstrate the technical ins and outs of Italian dishes, vegan sushi, vegan desserts and quinoa. And sports-minded folk might want to shuffle up to a workshop that addresses the crucial issue of protein and how to make sure you get just enough of it, yes, and all without the “benefit” of meat. And all that gratis.

Other free items on the Vegan Fest bill include a wide range of lectures and discussion slots, including a panel on foodtech and the future of food, and there will be a holistic area with such health-inducing items as yoga workshops, Pilates, chi kung, confectionery preparation and natural soap making.

For more information: www.vegan-fest.co.il