Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Experience and Favorites (Round One): GFAF Expo NJ '13

The Gluten Free & Allergy Free Expo (GFAF) has come and gone. I had the opportunity to meet so many great people and sample some great products. If you follow on twitter or Facebook then I'm sure you saw some of the great products, but I thought I would recap and really share my experiences. Share the products I really loved and link up to those other bloggers I met.

There is so much information out there on gluten intolerance  Celiac Disease, and all the other food related allergies, but even with all the information most people don't fully understand. Most of us that don't eat gluten aren't doing it for a fad, we actually can not eat it. It makes us sick. To some people even just the smallest crumb will cause sickness. As gluten free bloggers (and even other food allergies/sensitivity bloggers) it is up to us to help educate others. I know that I will share my personal experiences and issues at times but I will usually just share a recipe and move on. I am the only one that is gluten free in my family, even extended. So I am only responsible for me, I will usually take full responsibility if I get glutened. I am lucky to have a very supportive family and supportive friends. I am also aware that there is a good chance my son will have issues, I think about it all the time. I don't want him feeling like I did, so for now I just pay attention.

To start off, I want to share a couple of the other bloggers I met.

Gluten Free "Digest" - Tom and Lisa started the blog to help educate the public after their daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2012. You can also follow them on twitter (@4glutenfree) or like them on Facebook.

Base on a Sprue Story - Molly shares her "silly and serious stories about celiac disease and gluten-free living", you can also follow her on twitter (@spruestory) or on facebook.

The Frugalista Mom - Rozelyn is a busy mom of four, all with food allergies; she shares recipes, tips, reviews and more! You can also follow her on twitter (@jaydemia) or facebook.

For a list of the bloggers and vendors that you can check out the GFAF Expo's twitter list, here.

Now, on to the products and vendors! First, I would like to say everything is based on my personal opinion... For a full list of vendors and the links to their websites check out the GFAF Expo website, here.

I'm not going to touch on every vendor I stopped and talked to but I will touch on a few of the vendors and products that I really liked. As you may know, being gluten free can prove difficult when there is something that you really crave, something that you really enjoyed (at the time) before going gluten free. A few of mine have been certain pasta dishes and good pizza. So, that being said, I'll start off with some pasta and pizza...(Please don't mind the pictures, they are from Instagram and not the best.)

Favorite Pasta: Conte's Pasta Company - frozen pasta dishes and pizza. They have ravioli, stuffed shells, pierogies, gnocchi and more. I really liked these, the filling had good flavor and the pasta, well the pasta was good for a GF rice based pasta. The key will be how well it reheats..

Favorite Pizza: Against the Grain - Based out of Vermont, the pesto pizza was awesome...the crust was thin and crispy. I can't wait to try some of the other flavors.

Favorite Bread: Okay, this one was hard...so I'm going to break the category up.

Sandwich Rolls- goes to Local Oven, they are based in Texas, the rolls were soft and airy. They lacked the dense dryness of many GF rolls I've tried. The freeze and toast well...I will be advocating getting these in a store near me. 

Baguettes- goes to Everybody Eats from Brooklyn, NY. They also make bagels, but the crunchy outside and soft middle were to die for.

Sourdough- goes to Luce's Artisan Bread, it's the only product I actually bought. It's a mix that you add water and bake, everything is included and the flavor was spot on, the texture perfect.

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: Holy Crap Cereal - I have been eating chia pudding for breakfast lately and this cereal totally takes it to another level. Filled with chia, hemp hearts, fruits, and more, just mix with water or your favorite milk and you gave a filling breakfast.

Image Source

Favorite Beer: New Planet Brewery - This was the only true gluten free beer at the expo, there were five different types to try.  I have to admit I did like most of the beers but the flavors of new planet just worked. I am a wine drinker so beer usually isn't my thing, but every now and then I do just want a beer. 

Favorite Cheese: Cabot Cheese- okay to be fair, I think they may have been the only cheese at the expo...but since I am a cheese snob, I was really excited about Cabot. Even though it says it right on their packaging, their cheese is lactose free...so if you are lactose intolerant you can still enjoy the cheese. (Most aged cheese should be okay for us lactose intolerant.)

Favorite Snacks, Cookies, Desserts, and more will be shared in Round Two! Stay tuned...meanwhile check out some of the products from the expo!