Tasting GLUTEN FREE @Natural & Organic Food Fair at London’s Excel: Part 1: Perfect Products: Chocolates & Confectionery….
With over 700 exhibitors, 70 speakers, and some 10,571 attendees from 92 countries; this year’s Natural & Organic Products Europe trade show http://www.naturalproducts.co.uk/was an exciting experience. My review on my blog http://www.GlutenFreePSD.wordpress.com has been split into three blog posts: Part 1: Perfect Products (which includes NEW GLUTEN FREE Chocolate Bars and Sweet Treats that I tried and tasted), Part 2: Strange & Special (which covers the weird and wonderful products which I’m not so sure about!) and finally, Part 3: Delightful Drinks (which includes all the drinks that I tried and tasted).
It is one of the leading European shows for Natural and Organic products (including health, food and beauty) and the 2017 event was the 21st edition attracting its biggest attendance yet. My focus was on the Food and Drinks including some foreign exhibitors seeking representation and sales opportunities and there was plenty of NEW Chocolate Bars and Sweet Confectionery (which were GLUTEN FREE!):
- MICRODELICES: French Chocolate made with additional protein (insects) which are fully edible. It seems strange as a concept until you realise that most of the world does eat insects and we’re actually in the minority. However, they had some insects with added flavours: “BBQ” “Garden Party” and “Tapas” as well as a good chocolate mixed with the insects. They tasted fine, if a little gritty (and bits of insect sticking in-between my teeth) but probably not an everyday treat and a great talking point for parties and/or an unusual birthday gift?
- LANDGARTEN: Austrian snack company with some Chocolate based treats covering freeze-dried fruit which were really crunchy and had a strong fruity kick as well as a soya bean snack which was also crunchy. The Raspberries were coated in Dark Chocolate, the Strawberries in Milk Chocolate and the Mixed Berries in a mix of Chocolates!
- FOODS of ATHENRY: Cookie Shots (which are Gluten Free and Wheat Free) from Ireland are little biscuits with a Chocolate flavour. These are also available as Vanilla cookies and sized in a bite sized portion. These had a firm snap and a good clean texture to them.
- BENJAMISSIMO CHOCOLATE: With unusual flavours including “White Matcha Lemon” and “Dark 70% Mint Maca” these organic and vegan chocolates were different to the usual ranges. I found the Dark had a good menthol depth to it and didn’t really like the Matcha Lemon although I’m less keen on White Chocolate. Not tried but also offering “Chia Grapefruit”, “Goji Cashew Orange” and “Lemon Spirulina”:
- ENJOY RAW CHOCOLATE: Another relatively new British Chocolate Producer from Hampshire with a selection of different flavours which are approved by the Vegan Society, certified organic by the Soil Association and is free from: dairy, gluten, soya and refined sugars. I rather enjoyed the “Organic Orange Chocolate” which had a good citrus flavour, “Organic Mint Chocolate” and “Organic Lime Chocolate” which I have never seen before. This really worked although it sounds a little strange. The sharpness of the Lime really compliments the smoothness of the dark Peruvian Chocolate:
- VEGO Whole Hazelnut Chocolate Bar: Yes this is like a “nutella” chocolate bar with more bite. This was a delightful Chocolate Bar alongside some smaller “Vego” chocolates:
- RAW HALO: Another Artisan Chocolate Producer with organic and vegan friendly raw chocolate bar. The flavours tasted included “Dark Sweet Orange” which tasted like a certain other item of confectionery with a rich depth of cocoa and the “Dark Lemon with Pink Himalyan Salt”. The second bar was lighter and the salt balanced out the raw sharpness of the Lemon. A good mix of other flavours were available for tasting:
- RICE UP: More Rice Cakes covered in Dark Belgian Chocolate but these are made in Bulgaria with Brown Rice (as usually they’re on white rice cakes) and they tasted amazing.
- NAKD: They’ve launched new “Posh Bits” which probably should be called “Posh Bites” as they’re really bite-shaped pieces of natural raw fruit and nut balls, and all made with Cocoa. I preferred the strawberry ones and whilst I don’t really like these date based bars, these smaller bite sized portions seemed enough to snack on!
- RAW HEALTH: Another new Chocolate Bar with Raw Cacao and some unusual flavours including “Rose petals White Almonds” and “Apricot Kernel Red Peppercorn”. Both of these bars looked colourful and tasted rather well: with a mixture of flavours, textures and kicks!
- PANA CHOCOLATE: These were rich dark chocolate bars (with rather small tasting portions) but a good quality chocolate:
So lots of NEW and exciting GLUTEN FREE Chocolate products at the Natural & Organic Products Europe trade show.
Check out my other blog posts on: Part 2: Strange & Special (which covers the weird and wonderful products which I’m not so sure about!) and finally, Part 3: Delightful Drinks (which includes all the drinks that I tried and tasted).
Food Shows on my blog include Hotelympia @Excel Centre, Country Living Spring Fair@Islington’s Design Center, Foodie Festival @Truman Brewery, Europe’s largest Allergy & Free From Show in London and it’s sister show inLiverpool, as well as BBC Good Food and the Salon Du Chocolat, and even the Speciality & Fine Food Show, Food Matters LIVE. Overseas Shows include the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Stamford, CT, USA. And in 2017, a new show appeared at Olympia, London called Top Drawer.
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If you are a member of Coeliac UK, they produce a comprehensive directory which covers over 16,000 food and drink items (including GLUTEN FREE Chocolate Bars). This is available in a paper-based Manual and online FREE to members of Coeliac UK. They have also published an Easter listing (although it is not as visually EGG-citing as my posts and excludes many Chocolatiers and High Street stores covered in my posts).
One of the hard-hitting posters (featuring Yours Truly) from Coeliac UK launched for Awareness Week, held in 2015 and to seen in The Netherlands last year in 2016.
SIGN UP so you do not miss out on future updates to my revised Chocolate Box guide (based upon Chocolatier Producers, Chocolate Boxes on the High Street and Luxurious Chocolate Boxes), Chocolate Bars, Chocolate Bags, my Chocolate Easter Eggs (based upon Chocolatier Producers such as Cadbury & Nestle, High Street Own-Label including M&S, Lidl & Tescos and Decadent Department stores including Fortnum & Mason & Harrods) as well as new Restaurant Reviews, Travelling experiences, Food Shows, Product Reviews and (occasional) Recipes. Also check out my posts on GLUTEN FREE Ice Cream, GLUTEN FREE Advent Calendars, GLUTEN FREE Mince Pies and GLUTEN FREE Valentines Treats.
This information was correct as of April 2017.
But as I am learning, ingredients do change and therefore you should always read the label and check for yourself whether it is GLUTEN FREE or not!