Today, I added another first to my calendar: first time attending a Gluten Free Expo! And, according to my happily expanded belly, this was the tastiest first yet.
The Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest took over San Diego's Town and Country Convention Center on May 3 and 4. And, although it was an adventure finding parking (are signs not gluten free?), Mom and I couldn't be more excited for our first gluten free buffet, ahem event. So much so that I broke out the weird-card and posed in front of the welcome sign. Just call me the gluten free greeter!
When we first walked in, we immediately snagged some sweet Glutino bags to hold all of the snacks we planned on snagging. Then, the feast began!
The sheer amount of booths was intimidating in the best way possible. After all, the more booths, the more food! And although Mom and I adored all of the vendors who graciously stuffed our bags with gluten free goodies, coupons and merchandise, a few burned onto our hearts (and taste buds) for good. I'll be writing two blog posts because of the abundance of great food. This one will focus on the best finds for meal replacements/additives. Next, will be all the snackage!
First, our favorite of the day: Smart Flour Food's gluten free Margherita Pizza. Oh my goodness. I think Mom and I just about had a heart attack when we dug into our first slice. I haven't tasted many pre-made gluten free pizzas, but this frozen-then-baked masterpiece shamed some of the fresh GF pizzas I've ordered at restaurants! They just launched these pizzas in October, so now is the time to request them in your favorite stores!
They popped it in a mini pizza oven right before we arrived, and our taste buds swooned over the perfect blend of cheese, sauce, herbs and crispy crust. It's the perfect size for one or two meals (depending on your appetite) and I'm definitely buying a few to stick in my dorm fridge for cafeteria backup (or lazy pizza night cravings).
Next on our favorite savory products were Glutenfreeda's pocket sandwiches. Even before diagnosis, I wasn't a hot pocket person, so I wasn't expecting much from my ham and cheddar sandwich. Boy was I wrong!
In my mind, these pocket sandwiches are the new, improved cousin to the hot pocket. The crust is crisp and soft without being soggy. And an equal ratio of ham and cheddar, both extremely fresh and deliciously melted, sealed the deal. Even though she's not usually a fan of onions, my mom loved the roast beef with carmelized onion and provolone sandwich too! These are definitely joining my Smart Flour pizza in my dorm fridge next year!
|Mom liked this too!|
Next up are the tortillas I've been in love with since I first heard of Potapas. Tortillas made out of potatoes? Sign me up! I'm sensitive to corn and it doesn't agree with Mom either, so we've been on the search for a yummy, gluten free tortilla since my diagnosis last May! When I finally sunk my teeth into the potapa quesadillas they gave out as samples, it didn't disappoint!
|Tortillas from potatoes? Awesome!|
|Mom's new fave GF bread|
My mom and I are also always on the search for a newer, better bread product (until I master the art of baking homemade bread this summer). Mom discovered her soul mate in Kinnikinnick's bread. According to my Mom, her sample square was fluffy and moist. She really loved the texture, which seemed to mimic its gluten-filled cousins.
|They had bagaels, breads, donuts, and more to try!|
|The menu they gave us!|
By the time we left the Expo, my Mom and I each sported quite a haul. Even better than the products in our bags, though, are the relationships we formed with some new favorite food providers. I loved the Fest for all of the gluten free goodies (I mean, food + free = fun!), but I also loved meeting representatives of the companies who are working to make celiac disease less of a dietary death sentence.
|Our total haul!|
Have you gone to an allergy event yet? What are your favorite new products? Comment below!