Hi everyone, and sorry that we've taken a bit of a hiatus from the blog! We have some restaurant reviews and an in-depth guide of Martha's Vineyard planned, but in the meantime I wanted to share our experiences at the Gluten Free & Allergen Free (GFAF) Expo in Worcester, Massachusetts. To my understanding, the GFAF Expo also visits a few other locations in the U.S.
Hannah was lucky enough to win tickets through Udi's to attend the second day (Sunday) of the two-day expo. She and her boyfriend Dan (@guywithamap) attended the expo last year and had some idea of what to expect, but for me and my boyfriend Kerrey (@k_rrey), this was our first time.
We were really pleasantly surprised by what the GFAF Expo had to offer! We weren't really interested in the day's class sessions (in my opinion, most of the sessions cover fairly basic GF info that anyone who's been GF for a few years is likely to already know), so we focused on the booths. And I must say, never in my life have I been offered so many free samples! After about 20 minutes, I was already starting to feel uncomfortably full and really had to pace myself after that. (I actually had to turn down food! And I never turn down food!)
The GFAF Expo is a great mix of well-known gluten free brands and up-and-comers that I've never heard of. I'm going to focus mainly on a few of my favorite brand discoveries of the day to hopefully bring more attention to some of these small companies! But I definitely was happy to see so many brands that I already know and love, including Glutenberg, Udi's, Glutino, Kinnikinnick Foods, Against the Grain, Aleia's, and Enjoy Life.
Now for a few of my favorite finds. (Note: Due to my aforementioned fullness, I didn't get a chance to sample something from every vendor. Hopefully I didn't miss too many good brands! But as the day went on, I did my best to selectively sample anything that looked especially appealing.)
In addition to Glutenberg, we tried Ground Breaker, a gluten free craft beer brewery based in Portland, Oregon. We all liked their beer offerings (and their awesome merch)! They are just beginning to become available on the East Coast, so keep an eye out and/or request them wherever you purchase your beer.
We sampled some super-soft, chocolatey cake from Ethel's Baking Co.
Izzy's Cheesecake had a mouthwatering assortment of gluten free cheesecake, which is hard to find. I sampled the raspberry and it was perfection.
I'm already a fan of Against the Grain's frozen pizzas and baguettes, but I'd never seen their plant-based ginger cookies before. They were super soft and flavorful. I'll be on the lookout for them.
I was a fan of the Mozaics chips, which are made with green peas. They were a yummy snack that sneaks in some veggies!
Brazi Bites aren't technically a new find for me - I've had them before - but I didn't realize they had come out with flavors beyond the original, including 3 Cheese Pizza, Garlic Asiago, and Zesty Pepper Jack. I adore Brazi Bites, so I was thrilled to try their flavors.
Zing energy bars came in so many mouthwatering flavors (Dark Chocolate Mint, Dark Chocolate Coconut, Dark Chocolate Hazelnut, etc.). To me it tasted more like dessert than a protein bar (and I'm not complaining).
Forno de Minas makes yummy, Brazi Bite-like cheese bread.
Possibly my favorite find of the day was GeeFree, which makes a fantastic flaky dough. We sampled their mini pigs in a blanket, which I hadn't had since going GF, as well as their GF "hot pockets." I can honestly say I've never found a gluten free product with the same consistency as GeeFree's dough, and I was super impressed.
The Greater Knead had bagels to sample, and they were the closest thing to "real" bagels that I've had since going gluten free. I've never found a GF bagel that manages to have a similar soft chewiness. I was really excited about these and can't wait to buy them!
I learned that Red Heat Tavern (3 locations in Massachusetts) has a fantastic, extensive gluten free menu. It's been added to my to-try list.
Burton's Grill & Bar, which has several Massachusetts locations, has a fantastic gluten free menu. (The CEO actually has celiac disease.)
Hopefully I haven't missed too many, but there you have it! I had a great time discovering new brands and connecting with their representatives at the GFAF Expo. And we also got lots of great treats to take home! I would most definitely recommend the Expo to anyone gluten free in the area!