RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Christmas

Vegan at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, Daly City, Bay Area

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.

Great Dickens Christmas Fair | A Vegan in Progress

Great Dickens Christmas Fair | A Vegan in Progress

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.

Great Dickens Christmas Fair | A Vegan in Progress

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.

Acropolis Falafel Pita, Great Dickens Christmas Fair | A Vegan in Progress

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.

Bramosia booth, Great Dickens Christmas Fair | A Vegan in Progress

Bramosia booth, Great Dickens Christmas Fair | A Vegan in Progress

Bramosia vegan truffle, Great Dickens Christmas Fair | A Vegan in Progress

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!

Vegan Recipe – Holiday Cookies

Every Christmas Eve my family visits my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin.  My grandparents like traditionally midwest food and usually prepare ham or turkey every Christmas.  I used to just eat rolls and cookies since I never really liked meat.  This year, since most of us are either vegan or vegetarian, we planned ahead and offered to bring a lot of hors d’oeuvres rather than doing a sit-down dinner.  Everything we brought was vegan.  My mom made meatless meatball sliders, so I made my Tempeh Tornado filling for a Sloppy Joe slider option.  She also brought curry soup “shots” which were a nice, little portion of soup.  My sister put together some spiced nuts.  We also had a fruit and vegan yogurt platter and a veggie and dip platter.  Not pictured are my mom’s famous cream cheese filled pepper appetizers.  I plan on doing a post on those soon because they are delicious and so easy to make!

Holiday Cookies | A Vegan in Progress

Christmas Eve Spread

The meatless meatball sliders were made by marinating the meatless meatballs from Trader Joes.  My mom also added some homemade vegan cheese, which was such a great touch.

Meatless Meatball slider | A Vegan in Progress

Meatless Meatball slider

Now we have come to the recipe portion of the post…

I brought peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies, chewy ginger-molasses cookies, and chocolate chip cookie dough truffles.

Holiday Cookies | A Vegan in Progress

Yummy Christmas Cookies!

For the peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies, I used this recipe from Kirsten’s Kitchen.  Just before scooping the dough onto the pan, I mixed in dark chocolate chunks.  These are awesome replacements from our usual favorite of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups wrapped in peanut butter cookie dough.

Next, were the chewy ginger-molasses cookies by Chef Chloe Coscarelli, found here.  They were the simplest cookies to make out of the three and I would recommend them because they are like an awesome gingerbread cookie without being hard.

Finally, I made the chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, found at Fragrant Vanilla Cake.  These came out moist and impressive.  I would recommend making them much smaller than I did (they ended up to be about 3 bites each – way too big), and you will need about twice as much chocolate for dipping.  When making them from the recipe found at the link, don’t freak out when it says to add the baking powder.  That’s a mistake.  I didn’t have fleur de sel, so I added a sprinkle of sea salt on each truffle.

Try them out yourself for your next big family get together or holiday!