But, as I discovered during my two week vacation to Texas to visit family, the old saying that everything is bigger in Texas also applies to the gluten free options. While I'll do a restaurant breakdown later on, here are the gluten free products that had me blessin' the Lonestar state! (And this isn't a sponsored post, by the way - just a hungry celiac's honest opinion!)
Frankie V's Kitchen: Cacao Cashew Butter
I saw this jar in the Randall's close to my Grandma's house and I couldn't believe my luck! Besides being gluten free, this is also organic and free of preservatives. I also loved that, instead of the usual sweeteners you find in nut butters, Frankie's offers a unique (very Texan) twist: brown sugar.
This spread is definitely a little sweeter than I'm used to, but extremely delicious! I love that the nut butter is a little grainy so you get the texture of cashews with every bite. As for the flavor, just imagine a healthier Nutella.
How to use it? It tastes especially delicious when used in small doses. I like adding it on top of my smoothie bowls, with oatless oatmeal or even on rice cakes with banana and strawberries. My rating? 9/10!
Oh my goodness...where to begin? When I saw this baby sitting on the shelves of Whole Foods (and Sprouts) and read the ingredient label, I couldn't resist buying a bag...and five more bags (two that I ate in Texas and three that I'm saving for my family's road trip to Colorado). When I don't have the time or access to an oven to make my own granola, this is my number-one replacement.
What makes it so finger-lickin' good? First, it's made locally in Texas (yay for having relatives who could mail a few my way every now and then). Second, it is grain free - meaning no oats, which is nearly impossible to find (even in gluten free granolas) - vegan, raw and paleo-friendly! It also ditches added sweeteners, oils or extracts for wholesome ingredients like dates, fruit, nuts, seeds and spices.
I have tried two of their flavors - Banana Nut and Coconut Cashew - and happily devoured them both. Both have a chewy, soft texture and are sweet from the dates but not sugary like most granolas. If you want crunchy clusters, this isn't the brand for you. However, if you want a chewy bag of wholesome heaven to sprinkle on your smoothies, oatmeal or yogurt? Head on over to Texas (or, as I just discovered, Amazon)! My rating: 12/10!
Brenham Kitchens: Nuts and Fruit Trail mix
I don't know about you, but farmers markets are often a full cart or an empty basket for me. While they always have tons of produce and often a handful of gluten free options, they rarely have something so special it's worth the sticker shock. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw this trail mix by Brenham Kitchens!
This local business sells homemade trail mix, spiced nuts, dehydrated fruit, savory sauces and the freshest fruit jams I've ever tasted. I especially loved that my trail mix featured some ingredients I can't find gluten free that often, like macadamia nuts and dehydrated kiwi and pineapple.
The ingredient list is also super simple: nuts, fruit and a touch of sugar. The perfect trail mix snack for a plane ride or road trip? I think so! 9.5/10!
Now, I'll admit that I'm not sure if this is local to Texas. However, I spotted (and bought) it for the first time in Texas, so it's joining the list! This superfood cereal is gluten free as well as vegan, sprouted, nut free and raw.
What first caught my attention? Probably the fact that, thanks to organic beets, this cereal is bright pink! I also love that it uses buckwheat sprouts and rice bran (instead of oats - yay!) and boasts several unique ingredients like Lacuma fruit powder, aloe vera extract, sea buckthorn juice and milk thistle - all of which supposedly offer antioxidants and skin-boosting properties.
It doesn't hurt that this is absolutely scrumptious either! The texture is polar opposite to Wildway: crunchy, dry and in delightful clusters. Instead of using it as a cereal per se, I liked adding it on top of my smoothies and yogurt parfaits. A clear 11/10!
Fluffy Dinner Rolls from Xoco-latte
Finally, a savory option! Now this one may be cheating a little since the biscuit is from a gluten free bakery, but since I've already reviewed Xoco-latte before, I wanted to highlight a recent favorite: their fluffy gluten free and dairy free dinner rolls. I've always tried their cookies instead of their breads and man have I been missing out!
At first glance, this dinner roll looks a little funny: it's made in a muffin mold, so it looks more sweet than savory. At my first bite, though, this transported me back to the crescent rolls of my pre-celiac days. I was lucky to score half a dozen rolls only a few hours after they were baked, making them melt-in-your-mouth fresh.
In particular, I loved how light and fluffy the rolls tasted and their slightly buttery flavor. To be honest, I literally couldn't stop texting my mom, "It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!" (Bonus points if you can name that movie). I ended up freezing half of the rolls to take back to California with me. While not as fluffy, they reminded me more of a cornbread muffin - and I didn't mind the change one bit! As for how to eat them, they taste delicious paired with soup, pork and potato stew or, as my gluten-lovin' Uncle proclaimed, with just a swipe of butter and jam. The perfect fluffy roll? My 9.5/10 rating implies as much!
Are you done drooling yet? (I know I'm guilty of that...and wishing I hadn't already devoured most of these finds!). As a foodie, one of the highlights of taking a vacation is definitely scoping out the local foods. As a celiac, though, this is often more difficult than usual.
So when I did find an unusual, safe and delicious local goodie, you can bet I celebrated! For all those living in Texas, be sure to give these products a try if you're craving a chewy or crunchy breakfast topping or a soft bread to complement your dinner.
And if you don't live in Texas? Take this list as motivation to explore the areas you travel to and soak in (correction: gobble up) some of the unique local grub. Y'all won't regret it!
Have you ever tried any of these brands? What's the favorite local gluten free goodie you've found when traveling? Comment below!