This past weekend we went to the 2nd annual Vegan Mac and Cheese Smackdown! The event, which occurs during Baltimore Vegan Weekend, is put on by Pep Foods and drew a crowd of 3,000 (according to the Baltimore Sun) who packed into to Baltimore City Community College. We lined up to try samples of vegan macaroni and cheese from about 20+ contestants, some of whom had more than one variety to choose from. At some points, the lines were a little confusing, with no clear beginning or end. Because of this, lots of people just ended up jumping in line somewhere, which caused the lines to move fairly slowly at times. The crowd was pretty thick, so we unfortunately weren’t able to make it to every competitor. The stations we did visit though, offered wonderful mac and cheese! The options ranged from dishes made completely from scratch to others that used vegan substitutes for dairy products. Some contestants had displays with ingredients listed that gave me new ideas for how to improve on the creamy and faux-cheesy vegan dishes I currently make. I loved the wide variety of creations – some mac and cheese with veggies added, some spicy, of course one that included our favorite Old Bay, but all with the taste and feel of classic comfort food. Several samples were gluten free, as well.
I’ll be sure to look for the event again this time next year! It is a great chance to socialize, discover new cruelty free businesses in the Baltimore area, and of course to eat great food. The event was very family friend, too. It was well worth the $10 price of admission and just maybe for a future event, I’ll have expanded my skills enough to compete as well.
If you’re eager to try your hand at some amazing mac and cheese creations, the Facebook event page has a few posts where competitors share their recipes!