Nerd alert! . . . For many years, my family has been heavily involved in Renaissance Faires. At one time or another we have all been participants, actors in shows, interacting with patrons in the streets, and just adding to the ambiance of the fair in our costumes. It’s pretty common for fair participants to visit and sometimes participate in multiple fairs throughout the year. For this reason, we tend to know a few people at any given fair in the state. This is why we made plans to visit the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in Daly City, just south of San Francisco.
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair as you may have guessed is a Dickens-era Christmas fair, set in the streets of London. Not only are there everyday Londoner characters, but you will see many of Charles Dickens’ famous characters roaming the fair as well. At one point, Eric and I popped into Fezziwig’s Dance Hall to watch some festive dancing and watched Ebenezer Scrooge wander in, wide-eyed, led by the Ghost of Christmas Past. This was our first visit and our impression was that it was a very family-friendly fair. We loved seeing little kids everywhere, dressed as chimney sweeps, covered in soot or roaming the streets with a telegraph message.
As a vegan, when it comes to food at fairs I usually don’t expect more than a few snack options. I planned ahead by having a full breakfast at the hotel (thanks Homewood Suites, for having soy milk and cereal as well as fruit and tea!) and smuggling in a bag of trail mix and some fruit. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were a couple of perfectly yummy vegan options.
I got lunch from the Acropolis Greek Food booth (this is a familiar booth from other fairs) where they have a variety of Greek concoctions. I ordered a falafel pita with tahini (made from sesame seeds) instead of tzatziki sauce (which is made with yogurt). It was filling and tasted just how I expected it to taste. They also offer dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), which are vegan.
Eric and I ran into a friend, working at the Bramosia Fine Chocolates & Candies booth. After chatting for a while, I noticed a small sign in the display saying “Vegan Truffles.” I exclaimed, “I can’t believe you guys have vegan truffles!” He then told me that they use coconut milk for the truffles and they actually offer a few candies that fall into the vegan category. When it comes to desserts, I’m a chocolate person, so I got a vegan chocolate truffle. They also have a vegan coconut caramel cup and a vegan pear fruit candy as well. I loved the truffle and went back for another before we left.
I didn’t get a chance to try the cinnamon crunch almonds found in multiple locations around the site, but my mom asked how they were made on a previous visit and confirmed that they are vegan.
Overall, I would recommend visiting the fair for a fun, if expensive, holiday activity. It runs until December 22nd this year. I read on the website that they heavily discount admission if you arrive after 4pm and I’m confident that you could see quite a lot between then and 7pm. Now you know that there are some good, relatively affordable vegan options. Make sure to get a vegan truffle!