Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!

Attending & Tasting at the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Stamford, CT, USA (October 2015 With Photos & Links)…

I enjoy attending GLUTEN FREE Events, as they’re a great opportunity to try new and exciting GLUTEN FREE Foods and products, as well as understanding what’s happening in our very competitive sector. On my blog I have covered the Europe’s largest Allergy & Free From Show  in London and it’s sister show in Liverpool, as well as BBC Good Food and the Salon Du Chocolat, and even the Speciality & Fine Food Show, (and coming soon: 2015’s BBC Good Food Show, Food Matters LIVE and Ideal Christmas Show) but to visit an Overseas Fair is rather exciting: if only to compare and contrast what is happening within the International GLUTEN FREE world.

The Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest is organised by the Magazine “Gluten Free and More” (formerly known as “Living Without”) and is a showcase for GLUTEN FREE food producers, products and providers which tours the USA. This started in 2014 and this year (2015), the show has been seen in San Diego in May, Indianapolis in August, and Portland in September with the last event being in Stamford, CT. (A friend saw a 2-for-1 offer with Groupon, so we had “cheap” tickets which were definitely good value-for-money) given the breadth of products, the freebies and the joy of seeing GLUTEN FREE everywhere! For a full listing of exhibitors at Stamford, CT, click here.

From Queens, NYC, it;s just a 35 minute drive across the border into Connecticut and onto Stamford. Held at the Hilton Hotel, after paying $5 to park, we entered the hotel and easily found the upstairs venue with plenty  signage. After registration, you’re handed a large “freebie” bag which already contained your first items of GLUTEN FREE delight and useful, as many of the stall holders had many more freebies to give away (as well as plenty of good special offers). A really big Fest with front stalls, just after registration before entering the main rooms (with three rows to wander) and a side room (with two further rows of exhibitors). In addition, they hosted seminars and talks in another series of seminar rooms. So who was there? What did I notice being a foreign visitor to the USA’s GLUTEN FREE Fest?

Gluton Free Food Allergy Fest

Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

  • Mike’s HARD Lemonade: Now a strange one as Lemonade should be GLUTEN FREE but anyhow with alcohol: it was a sharp refreshing flavour which had been made GLUTEN FREE “crafted to remove gluten” through filtration for the Malt Base. Also they had other flavours for tasting including Hard Mango Punch.
  • Goodie Girl: had pouches of cookies with a whole selection to try and taste. These were lovely and great to be packed in resealable pouches: good for travel.
  • Toufayan offered GF pita chips (which I found a little spicy) as well as Wraps (in savoury tomato, spinach and original). I tried the original one and it tasted soft and had not dried out so a good alternative to “bread”.
  • Saffron Road: sharing flavoured chickpeas including Bombay Mix, Korean BBQ, Chipotle (which was really spicy) and salted. These were crunchy and a good filling snack.
  • Izzi B: Had GF and some DF cakes. A great find was their GF WF and DF Gingerbread house (for the Holiday Season). Unfortunately, they don’t offer International shipping but it is available across the USA for domestic delivery.
  • Meredith’s Bread: And along with bread, they had flavoured Biscotti including a Chocolate one. These were a new GF biscuit line, I’ve never seen before!
More Exhibitors at Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

More Exhibitors at Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

  • Cheerios: Had a big stand in the Main Hall: nothing to taste or sample, but happy to take questions, given their rather public errors in supplying GLUTEN filled GLUTEN FREE cereals. They were giving away bright yellow t-shirts and of course, that’ll be good for the gym! On the stand, they couldnt confirm that the UK would be getting GF cereals but I know we are (from attending Food Matters LIVE).
  • Garden Lites: This was an interesting stand sharing cakes made largely from vegetables. IT took some convincing but they had a lovely Chocolate cake whose main ingredient was zucchini and carrots, savoury bites made from broccoli and brown rice, and Ninja Power Muffins (made from zucchini and spinach branded with Turtles!) Surprisingly tasty!
  • King Arthur Flour: They had made up Banana Bread with their GF flour and not so keen on cooked bananas but tried a piece. These were soft and light, with a refreshing taste of bananas.
  • Aleia’s had a great selection of GF DF and EF biscuits: in a wide array of flavours. Of course, I tried the Chocolate ones and they were rich and crunchy. They also had other key recipes which were originally served in their restaurants before they branched out in making supplies. They gave me some breadcrumbs which I flew back to the UK and have already cooked with (Italian Breadcrumbs) and can confirm these are easy to use, great flavour with the herbs coming through and once cooked, provide a really crunchy tasty crumb to the chicken. I’m going to use these again!).
  • Feel Good: This was very exciting as they were cooking and serving GF Chinese Dim Sum Dumplings: vegetarian and meat-filled. Again, I havent ever seen these products in the UK and served with a GF Dipping sauce, these were everything you could imagine with the soft rice-based pastry and a hot meaty filling. They looked the part and even my non-GF guests loved them. Available in frozen cabinets!
  • Conte’s were sharing GF pasta, cooked in front of you with a great ravioli which were large, meaty and rich, as well as a great pizza. This was a thin-crust base with a simple cheese and tomato topping but again, a great find and plenty of tastes were offered.
And more to see and taste at Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

And more to see and taste at Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

Spiked Seltzer: A strange fizz drink which tasted like a similarly named medical drink with a hint of fruit flavour. I wasn’t convinced by the taste!

Clean Kangen Water: A strange stall which attracted quite a crowd as he had several branded water bottles and demonstrated the Acid – Akaline contents of the waters. Very visual and very exciting although the point of it was missed on me: but they did give away a bottle of water.

Mikaela’s: They were showing off Biscotti cookie biscuits: which were amazingly tasty: I especially liked the Chocolate Mint, which had a real menthol kick and was rather warming. I also tried their Lemon and Chocolate Chip Biscottis.

Glutino: A good stable of the USA GLUTEN FREE Range, and they had a huge stand with lots of bowls of their products for trying. I enjoyed the pretzels (sesame rings, honey mustard and buffalo style) as well as pretzels covered with yogurt (strange!) and Chocolate (interesting: as the pretzel and chocolate go rather well!).

Earth Balance: Another snack producer and I tried Aged White Cheddar GF Puffs: which tasted like Popcorn without the kernels and flavoured rather well with cheesy cheese. Another product which I will check out in the UK (at Wholefoods).

UDIS: One of several Bread providers on show: Interesting that GLUTEN FREE Bread appears (still) to be the Holy Grail of GF Food. It is such a basic stable and yet so many competing brands and providers. They had a toasted sandwich on offer to try, but by the time I had found this stall, I had eaten too much already! But I do love their bagels!

Meeting People at Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

Meeting People at Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

Lovely GLUTEN FREE People that I met:

Erin Smith: Who writes a really interesting Travel blog: Gluten Free Globetrotter. As well as hosting a stand, she presented a Seminar on “Travel Tips” which was well attended. She shared some useful tips from her experience and travels which was really interesting. She runs a NYC Coeliac Group and it is her I thank for sharing information about the GF Oktoberfest (New York’s first, which I also attended and shared on my blog).  Lovely to meet a fellow blogger.

The Gluten Free Globetrotter

The Gluten Free Globetrotter

Diane “Dee” Kittle of Dee’s One Smart Cookie: She was there in person and offering a wide selection of Cup Cakes and sweet treats. Indeed, her cakes were miniture versions which were just big enough for my mouth! Lovely to see her cheeky face on her business card and on her branding!

Emilie from Emilie’s Kitchen: serving up lovely crackers in three key flavours: Original, Savory and Dipping. These were DF, GF, WF and EF, and very tasty.

And from Living Now: one of the Chefs making Quinoa Pasta: made without Corn (the usual pasta substitute) GF DF and EF: interesting as it stays together (even after over-cooking) and had a firm al dente texture.

A special mention has to be to Boars Head, a “famous” all-American Ham, which I was advised, is available in many Delis and is a brand-name Ham. They also offered up some amazing DF Cheeses which were amazing as well as a good selection of cold meats (salamis),and of course I tried them and loved them.

A special mention to Dr Schar who were bread tasting and in the “freebies” goody bag, a two-slice packet (not for retail sale) was given away. This packet found its way onto my hand-baggage on my flight home, and was just the right size to enjoy at breakfast (making a wholesome sandwich with my GF bread!).

So was it worth it? It was great to have a wander around another Nation’s GLUTEN FREE Fair, and notice NEW and different products; which reflects how much further the USA is along from the UK as well as reflecting the tastes and flavours of the home country (amazed by the breadth of GF pretzels in a multitude of flavours and toppings), and in terms of GLUTEN FREE brands and products. It was refreshing to see different types of biscuits (Biscoitti) and snacking options (Chinese Dim Sum) which I am sure, over time, will head over the Pond to the UK and Europe, and reassuring that the frustrations and “holy grail” of GLUTEN FREE bread is still a highly competitive and prized goal for so many companies. (We share several of the big brands and baked goods still dominate many GF shows and events: perhaps reflecting a main stable of the Western diet, for better or worse).

Whilst I am not sure I would plan a whole trip on just attending a GF Fair, it was so exciting to see NEW products, NEW providers and taste NEW dishes; all GLUTEN FREE.

Maybe I’ll head to Berlin, Germany for their NEW Allergy & Free-From Show, which launches in April 2016?!


30 comments on “Attending & Tasting at the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Stamford, CT, USA (October 2015 With Photos & Links)…

  1. Pingback: Crossing the Pond for Gluten-Free Food | Gluten-Free Globetrotter

  2. Erin Smith
    November 24, 2015

    It was so great to meet you at the GFFAFest in CT during your trip to the States. Thank you for saying hello. I have shared your blog post with my readers. It is very interesting for me to “see” the event through your eyes. I have always wanted to go to a gluten-free expo in another country. Happy gluten-free travels!


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  4. Jean Hunter
    December 9, 2015

    Looking at the list of those is the Stamford event (my home town) two are didn’t see were Banza pasta (new) and Cup4Cup flour. The Banza is the worst GF pasta I have ever tried although Time Magazine touted it as a great invention. Cup4Cup is the best flour I have tried, even better than King Arthur which is pretty good. Still had a gritty tex sure to my Christmas cake with the King Arthur. Cup4Cup had no grittiness and I used it for baking and for my gravy for my turkey. Not fond of cornstarch for the gravy.


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