Alright guys I know you saw that bag of swag from the 2016 Gluten Free Expo held by the Celiac Disease Foundation in Pasadena. I can’t wait to tell you all about the magic that was hours of eating GF cupcake samples and meeting the big brands in gluten free eating. But first, for those of you who might not know…
What is the 2016 Gluten Free Expo?
A way for Celiacs & gluten free folks to sample new items before they hit stores, mingle with brands, and buy discounted gluten free goodies
What brands attended?
All of my favorite names in gluten free eating were there: Udi’s, So Delicious, Enjoy Life, Glutino, etc. Along with dozens of companies I had never heard of before but am now head over heels (and spoon over fork) in love with. More on that later.
Well, aside from the fact that I saw the ticket on sale at Groupon for a teeny $11 and figured ‘why not’, it’s an amazing opportunity not only to get free food (which you do get a LOT of) but to really connect with pioneers in the Celiac world. You hear stories of people who’ve been managing the gluten free diet for years and you get inspired by all that they have accomplished. And everyone is SO nice and welcoming.
Take Carol Anne, for example, who was nice enough to take a picture with me! If you couldn’t tell by the scrumptious looking ice cream bar I’m holding (and the sign in the back), Carol Anne is a rep for So Delicious Dairy Free. That Snickerdoodle cashew milk ice cream you see blowing up Instagram these days, yeah they did that.
So not only did Carol Anne give me a full carton of coconut milk and three pints of So Delicious ice cream (and one new flavor) to take home free of charge, she spent like 15 minutes just getting to know me and letting me tell her all about Healthyezsweet Life and our community. Then she started telling me about all the cool, different activities and events that So Delicious holds, including a the #worldsshortestgrant where fans on twitter submit their ideas to change the world, and So Delicious awards up to $10,000 per idea! Pretty cool stuff right? And to hear Carol Anne speak about it was so exciting. The passion she had for her brand and product made me want to be a part of it that much more.
PS that scrumptious ice cream bar was actually almond milk (totally couldn’t even tell) mocha almond fudge. I alternated bites of ice cream between bites of pizza (made by Spinato’s, another amazing brand I got to try). Life was good in that moment.
New (t0 me) Brands / Products
There were so many brands that I’d never seen before at the expo and it’s so hard to pick just a few to mention because they all stood out in one way or another. But to save you from reading a post ten pages long, here’s some of the super stellar favorites from the day:
Feel Good Foods
I had the chance to sample their chicken dumplings & veggie dumplings, along with a teriyaki sauce and they were SO darn good. Soft and mushy on the inside like a dumpling should be, but crispy at the edges. I miss that paper thin dumpling texture since not many dumplings, crepes, etc that use it are made GF. In fact, Feel Good Foods is the only one in the nation to make gluten free dumplings. And boy do they make em right.
When was the last time I had red velvet cake before Saturday (and since being gluten free)..oh yeah! Never. So you bet I grabbed a sample – after asking politely of course – when I saw red peaking under cream cheese frosting. Mom’s Place had one of the busiest booths there, and I can see why. The red velvet cake was perfect, but what’s even sweeter is that it’s a totally family run company. Love that so much.
If you’re a fan of chia seeds, you’re going to love this. With flavors ranging from fruity to chocolatey and textures from smooth to slightly crunchy, there’s something for everyone. Wow, that sounded like an infomercial. I’m actually not being comped for any of this, true words of my own volition right hurr. Back to RiceBliss, they come in little personal servings – think fruit cups – but are packed with Omegas and filling brown rice. Perfect treat or snack or anything really. And free of all the major allergens whoo!
You may not think that a broccoli french fry would be good, but you would be wrong. They’re amazing. And the carrot fries? Equally delicious. I really hope to see these in my local market soon!
I’m hoping to see all of these in markets near me soon, so if you get them in your market first, swoop em up! They’ve got the Healthyezsweet seal of approval
Another booth I absolutely loved at the expo was Canyon Bakehouse. I first tried their white bread a couple months ago, and it impressed me because it has a very soft, squishy, almost sweet texture. I compared it to Udi’s, my usual go to, which is a bit of a stiffer bread.
Well Saturday I discovered a new favorite from Canyon Bakehouse and it quickly became my favorite gluten free bagel to date. The nice folks at Canyon Bakehouse let me take a whole package of them home and a loaf of the cracked rye bread so I could channel my inner deli diva at work 😉 Again, I was super impressed by both the people I spoke with’s kindness and upbeat attitude about their brand. It’s so awesome connecting with people over shared passions. Truly the best part of the whole expo.
Don’t get me wrong though, the bucket loads of full sized product and sample snacks I left with wasn’t bad either…
This was the bag of loot they handed us before even walking into the expo itself. Stuffed with bags of Milton’s chips, Enjoy Life cookies, assorted crackers, granolas, bars, etc.
Then by the end of the expo, the pile definitely grew….
I’m going to need help getting through all this. I mean for goodness sakes I’m only one gluten free-nivore and that’s a lot of fuel. A giveaway is definitely in our futures.
Overall it was just so cool to be surrounded by tons of people that *get it. Who understand what it’s like to be the annoying person at the dinner table requesting special service and what it’s like to get excited over carrot cake you can ACTUALLY eat 🙂 I loved every second. So…who’s coming with me next year?!
And tell me in the comments:
What items would you like to see in the giveaway?
Have you ever been to an expo? For what?
This post is linked with Inspired to be Fit
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