GFAF Expo Recap Worcester: Community, Eat Local, Celiac Team

What was best about the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo in Boston?  The people.  The event was full of good people, and people are invariably gluten-free -- though not always good.  The blogger team was a knock-out.  If you followed me on other social media platforms, hopefully you caught their names.

Some of the best resource we have as Celiacs is a community.  I shall link them all at the close of the recap -- visit their sites, get great product reviews, and follow them for local resources and events.

I am still knackered. It's been an up-hill trawl for me all of this year, and I'm still underweight with a wicked-wacked thyroid, and some continuing Celiac symptoms. Another post on adrenal fatigue and comorbid autoimmune diseases; for now, the Expo.

It was bloody brilliant. Good food, local food, and all Celiac-safe.  Some of the best products out there had reps on the floor;  I only missed seeing Canyon Bakehouse and Better Bean Co. Otherwise, Way Betters Snacks -- sprouted, mostly organic, ace flavored-chips -- showed up, Smart Flour Baking with ancient grain pizza crusts, Pascha Chocolate (who will debut some beyond brill new products later this year), and a few new offerings I had heard heaps about, and anticipated trying HUGELY...namely,  OTTOS CASSAVA FLOUR.


EDUCATION:


The seminar hall.  From baking advice, to an on-point shpiel by a local pharmacist, the education at the event was stellar.

Pharmacist highlighted that he could charge you an arm-and-a-leg for a pill, but you could take care of your own health for free by adhering to a strictly gluten-free meal regime. Oy, it's the simple things in life.

Jilly LaGasse rather plugged Gluten Free on a Shoestring to no end. But she also gave the attendees a great overview of classic American fare translated into gluten-freedom.


FOOD:


Sun Butter, Ottos Grain Free Flour (see pancakes below), Way Better Snacks Chips... Gluten-free CHEERIOS? Even gluten-free cheerios.

Sun Butter makes a brand new organic, pure sunflower seed butter which tastes both sweet and nutty, and makes excellent spread for a bagel, or base for a cookie.

Way Better is simply a staple. I take them on roadtrips.  I keep a sack of Black Bean Chips in my pantry and car as emergency supplies.  I eat them with avocado and BEANS endlessly.  But then, they're sprouted, highly digestible, and some are made with BEANS.

Pascha Chocolate Chips + Nuttzo Nut
Butter = Cinnamon Cacao Syrup
for Pancakes sans Grain

CHOCOLATE?


Pascha debuted a sugar-free chocolate baking chip.  It is a pancake-addition, which has no comparable substitute. Beauty, eh. I've tried the chips now in some silver dollar gluten-free pancakes, and they give a peerless balance of cocoa-bite and sweet to the fluffy breakfast.

Pascha is also an allergen-free company, fair-trade, non-gmo, and organic. 

Gluten Free Mushroom-Chicken Pizza,
courtesy SMART FLOUR FOOD
Smart Flour Baking is my favourite gluten-free pre-made crust.  Bar none. Ancient grain-based, its taste is varied, not too sweet, not bitter -- but best of all, it crisps on the edges without turning into a cracker in the oven, and maintains some necessary chew without any sinking sogginess.

Chips, n chips and more chips...

Way Better Mustard Chips
and As-Yet-Unreleased-GINGER-Sweet-
Potato Chips!
 Beanfields, in addition to Way Better, make some strictly stellar celiac-safe crisps, bean-based. Further review on new flavours from Way Better shall hit the blog later. Also, Beanfields Nachos. Pico de Gallo, chemical-free and non-GMO chips require nachos, da?  and long roadtrips.

Though I couldn't eat them (they contain cheese), Bread Empire debuted Buddha Bread: a bread roll that all my fellow bloggers -- and flatmates when I brought home a sample -- thought was deadly. To the pocketbook, that is.  They'd blow a paycheck on it in a second. So look out for a givewaway coming up, as Bread Empire wants to share the gluten-free good. They highlight the best of gluten-free: simple, and simple ingredients that naturally taste excellent.

AllerWare was a non-food product, but I loved their advocacy for food-allergic kids. They offer resource by way of bracelets, labeled food-containers, and flyers, to help keep your child safe while out and about -- whether dealing with Celiac or the sometimes more immediate and deadly, peanut allergy.

In a quick and final sum-up:  Bakery On Main, local to New England, now offers oat-free hot cereal with ancient grains. Bloody brilliant.

On the note of highlights in gluten-free bread... Schar, a European stand-by, has reformulated their breads.  Now ancient-grain-based as well, their artisan loaves are fluffy, with a solid texture neither chewy nor apt to crumble.

I lived on their ciabatta rolls while living in Ireland -- loved them.  The bread is now comparable to the rolls, and should hit shelves soon. Though it wasn't clear before on their packaging, Schar has a commitment to non-gmo food. Being based in Europe, they deal with stricter regulations as far as pesticides as well, and their foods are always celiac-safe.





Eat local, eat safely, and let me know which product you'd most like to try if you missed the event.  I'd love to pass on some samples via a giveaway.


All in all, a highly successful event.

Especially for the people.  Eating well isn't just about eating safely -- though the Expos give many, including me, an opportunity to that.  It's also a matter of eating in community, mindfully, and sharing the experience and the food with friends.  We had a brilliant team of writers and bloggers, and I'd like to thank Laura for all she does to organize these events, and Jen for launching them.

If interested, check out the other writers and social media gluten-free mates who joined me at this event:

Cynikal Kat

Fearless Food Allergic Mom

Kaila, GF Life 24/7

Gluten Free Life

Sinful Nutrition

Whole Health Dork 


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