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

Tasting GLUTEN FREE @IFE International Food & Drink Event at London’s Excel: Part 1: Perfect Products: Chocolates & Confectionery….

IFE (the international food & drink event) is the UK’s biggest and arguably the most important food & drink trade show which takes place at London’s Excel Centre over four days early in the year. It is bursting with inspiration as this biennial exhibition provides an unrivalled opportunity to source pioneering and new foods & drinks. IFE 2017 was split into 9 sections namely: Bakery, Cheese & Dairy, Drinks, Great British & Irish Food, Grocery, Health & Wellbeing, Ingredients, Meat & Seafood and Snacks & Confectionery spread across at least six halls of this giant exhibition centre. Click here to see the 2017 exhibitor list.

My focus was on seeing the whole breadth of items as well as identifying new GLUTEN FREE products and spotting the trends, and my review on my blog 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 alongside crisps, popcorn and savoury snacks). This first blog post looks at the “Perfect Products” of Chocolate and Confectionery.

My focus was on the Food from some foreign exhibitors seeking representation and sales opportunities and the NEW Chocolate Bars and Sweet Confectionery (which were GLUTEN FREE!). These included:

MILLENNIUM Chocolate: Making Chocolates since 1999 in The Ukraine and looking to expand into the UK market, this brand “Millennium” has a certain look about it which could be seen as very similar to Lindt with the glossy pictures of ingredients on the front cardboard covers. I tried the “Orange Finest Chocolate” and it tasted lovely with a rich dark chocolate.

ZAINI: An Italian Chocolatier who is also looking to expand into the UK with a huge selection of Character driven Easter Eggs. These included Mr Men, Barbie, Scooby Doo and Fireman Sam with collectable toys included inside the Chocolate Eggs. Under a licensing deal with Bon Bon Buddies who produce Zaini products for France and Poland (from their main factory in South Wales), expect to see more of these novelty eggs on British High Streets (and they already appear in Hamley’s Regent’s Street store).

BETTY CROCKER: Not Chocolate but definitely a sweet treat was the Bisquit ready-to-mix for Waffle and Pancakes. This was part of range from the USA which is being promoted into the UK that’s labelled GLUTEN FREE.

PLAMIL: A new brand launched at the show is called “So Free” as it’s GLUTEN FREE, NUT FREE and MILK FREE. The range at the show included “Tropical Orange Dark Chocolate“, “Milk Chocolate Alternative” and “White Chocolate Alternative“. This is expected to be in stores very shortly and will sit in the large stable of brands run by Plamil:

GOOKIES: On the Ireland stand, several producers sat together and it included this GLUTEN FREE Cookie company from Cork, Ireland. These cookies were crunchy and yet very crumbly and had additional “sweet treats” included within the dough. I really liked these and they were looking to bring them into the UK:

WALKERS SHORTBREAD: A pretty good Pure Butter Shortbread biscuit which has been several years in the making. I spotted they had a new seasonal Selection box which includes all their flavours and these sat amongst many other variations (with GLUTEN!).

CHEGGS Chocolate Eggs: Again, in time for Easter although available all year round, these Vegan /Vegetarian friendly Chocolate Eggs did include MILK and SOYA but are GLUTEN FREE. They tasted great and sweet:

HEAVENLY ORGANICS: Chocolate Bars made with Honey: These captured my attention as the main ingredients in all of them was Honey. They are available in three flavours including “Mint Cocoa Honeys“, Peanut and Double Dark. I tried the Peppermint and enjoyed the sweetness of the discs as well as how refreshing it was:

FINI Confectionery: A selection of Jelly /Sweet Bags which are clearly labelled GLUTEN FREE made in Spain. These were multi-shaped and multi flavoured

BOKA Marshamallows: Tasting fresh and lightly flavoured (and only a few calories each) these were alongside newly launched low sugar bars by BOKA.

UNCLE JOE’S MINT BALLS: A hard boiled sweet made since 1898 with some seasonal variations which they promised to be more widely available moving forwards. The Apple & Cinnamon sweet was really fruity and spicy! A great Christmas treat (if you can get hold of them!)

FREE FROM FELLOWS: Gummy Bears which were delicious. Very fruit traditional soft sweets which are Gelatine free and of course GLUTEN FREE. These had natural flavourings and natural colourings. These seem to last a long time!

LIFE KITCHEN: GLUTEN FREE Desserts: These were on offer for tasting all the way from Ireland. The Lemon Cheesecake was delicious with a creamy filling as well as kick of lemon:

Food Shows on my blog include the 2017 Natural & Organic Food & Drink Expo @Excel,   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 from Coeliac UK for Awareness Week.

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!


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