I attended Vail’s Gourmet on Gore food and wine tasting festival on Day 178 of the Nowhere To Be Project. This annual Labor Day Weekend event offers tasting menus and special food-centric events in town. It is always popular with locals and visitors alike as the streets of Vail are cordoned off and filled with tents staffed by local food and drink vendors. I have attended the event several times and was hoping that this would be the year where vegan options would be plentiful. With that hope in mind, I purchased $25 in vouchers at the get go keeping in mind the fact that most tasting dishes range in price from $3 to $8.
I wandered from tent to tent gazing upon nothing but meat-laden dishes. Some of the vendors offered several dishes (Almresi, Mountain Cupcakes, Craftsman) while most others had just one option (Larkspur, Sweet Basil, Elway’s, Leonora, Blu’s). There were sausages, chicken skewers, hamburgers, steak tacos, short-rib plates and countless meaty sandwiches. There were even a few breads and sweets here and there, but all were made with egg. I finally found an heirloom tomato gazpacho with pistachio at a tent hosted by the staff of Craftsman, a whisky and sandwich tavern located in neighboring Edwards, Colorado. I told them that they should make a sign to let vegans know that they had the only plant-based option at Gourmet on Gore. The chilled sip of soup was tasty, but cost only $3 in vouchers. That left me with $22 worth of vouchers which were begrudgingly spent on a pricey Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by Beringer. Not necessarily the lunch of champions, huh?
Vail is so progressive in so many ways, but food is not one of them. According to recent research by a company called Globaldata, 6% of Americans identify as vegan (an increase of 600% in just three years). Furthermore, plant-based eating has been earmarked by Google Trends as the future of food globally! In Vail we have one vegan dining option, Green Elephant Juicery. It is a casual spot that I frequent offering mostly cold-pressed juices, a few cold take-away foods and occasional hot soups. I love that they exist and I hope that they’ll eventually expand their menu. Other than that, very few restaurants in town offer a plant-based choice on their menus. As a town that was recently certified as the only “sustainable mountain resort” in the world, one would assume that plant-based dining (which is widely viewed as the most sustainable method of food production) would be readily available. Sadly, that isn’t the case in Vail. Despite the lack of vegan choices at Gourmet on Gore, I had a lovely day in my chosen hometown. I am really thankful for that gazpacho though!