Bring your sweet tooth, Winnipeg!

Sugar Rush! vegan festival returns for a second year

Cake-ology's Pink Peppercorn Pavlova is one of more than 20 vegan dessert creations for Winnipeg VegFest's Sugar Rush! festival. (Supplied)

Winnipeg VegFest, which has brought its annual vegan food festival to local restaurants since 2016, wants the city to indulge its sweet tooth. VegFest’s second annual all-vegan dessert festival, Sugar Rush!, runs from June 18 to 25 at participating locations across Winnipeg.  

There are more than 20 restaurants and bakeries participating in this year's festival, with part of the event proceeds going to the Kismet Creek Farm animal sanctuary.

“It’s going to be 10 days where everyone can sample as many of these desserts as they would like,” VegFest chair Jason Hannan says. “We will then post a poll where they can vote for their favourite dessert, and at the end of it all, we will announce the winner.”

Similar to Le Burger Week, each restaurant creates and presents its own unique dessert. All of the restaurants, their dishes and directions will be listed on Winnipeg VegFest’s website.

Cake-ology co-owner and chef Austin Granados reopened the bakery in May 2021, just in time to participate in last year’s festival. 

“It was great! We had a great turnout ... that was our first foot-in-the-door competition to see what Winnipeg had to offer. It was really fun, we really enjoyed it, and we were exposed to a lot of neat vegan creations,” Granados says.

This year, Cake-ology will feature a Pink Peppercorn Pavlova. To make vegan meringue, Granados substitutes aquafaba for egg whites, and the pavlova is filled with a coconut pastry cream and orange citrus jam. It’s then topped with a gluten-free olive oil cake, segmented oranges and grapefruit, finished with a balsamic reduction and garnished with fresh thyme. The pastry is vegan, gluten-free and nut-free.

“We get (vegan cake) orders often. Guests can choose what they want and how they like it, and then we can definitely accommodate,” Granados says.

Cake-ology’s summer-inspired dessert feature can help folks kick off the summer and support a good cause.

“We are doing this for the animals. We are doing this to kind of show people that you can lead a compassionate lifestyle, and it can taste really good, too,” Hannan says.

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Published in Volume 76, Number 25 of The Uniter (May 31, 2022)

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