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

Tasting GLUTEN FREE @IFE International Food & Drinks Expo at London’s Excel: Part 2: Strange Products and Special Presentation…

From this year’s IFE (the international food & drink event) , this second blog post highlights the “Strange and Special” which I discovered.  It 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 food & drink. IFE 2017 was split into 9, easy to navigate, 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 3: Delightful Drinks (which includes all the drinks that I tried and tasted, as well as crisps, popcorn and savoury snacks).This blog post looks at the “Special” presentation at the “Talking Trends Stage” which featured the Chef Dominic Teague who is the award winning Chef at One Aldwych hotel and he discussed “Why would a Top Restaurant want to go Gluten & Dairy Free?“. The Indigo restaurant has been reviewed on my blog as I really enjoyed my visit there.

Dominic has created his menu for Indigo, using his culinary expertise that bridges respect for British tradition with gentle invention. He is committed to careful sourcing and his menu includes an array of foraged foods and forgotten flavours. Dominic knows the London food scene well, having begun his career as an apprentice at the Lanesborough Hotel. From 2000 he worked at Marco Pierre White’s L’Escargot where he was Executive Chef, before leading the kitchen at the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados. As Executive Chef at One Aldwych for three years, Dominc has brought culinary expertise to the hotel. With the recent refurbishment of the kitchen at One Aldwych, he has re-launched Indigo restaurant with creativity on the menu, through a selection of truly delicious dishes.”

During the short presentation he shared that his wife and mother both had allergies which had caused some difficulties in eating out so he was determined that it could be done at his own restaurant where key allergies could be eliminated without compromising on the quality or taste of the food. What has surprised many people was once this change had been completed, he refused to issue press releases and celebrate this new innovation but quietly got on with the job, only revealing this to the media when it had been widely reported. Indeed, it caused a real storm with media requests from around the world as well as the reality that bookings have significantly gone up at One Aldwych which is commercial the result he wanted. He talked about how the Menu continues to evolve with new dishes being developed and added, and how he wanted the experience of eating at One Aldwych to be as “normal” as possible for Coeliacs and  those affected by food allergies.

He also shared photographs of the “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea” which looked amazing. This is still being served despite the London production of the musical having moved onto Broadway. They have a GLUTEN FREE version which fits with his approach and it is described as ” From decadent golden eggs to blueberry brioche and playful flavoured candy floss, every item reflects the wit and wonder of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Teatime treats are presented with a selection of award-winning loose leaf teas from Canton Tea.

A really humble and charming Chef who reluctantly sits in the spotlight with his major and exciting change. He also mentioned being a recipient of the Pathfinder Award, as part of the launch for the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards (which I support and judge).

And back to the “Strange” products: I couldn’t not feature these rather brash and bold goods which took my eye and are GLUTEN FREE:

Velvet Milk Chocolate Bar

Energizer Drink

Crimson Cool

These could be seen as honest “brands” in  the competitive consumer world as too many sweet soft drinks could contribute to obesity and a rather large stomach (although this one is sugar free which seems a little ironic?) And the over-consumption of Energy Drinks could result blackened toes as it “contributes to obesity, type 2 diabeteds and related complications” but would you purchase a drink with such an explicit picture on it. And finally, the Chocolate Bar highlighting it’s contribution to teeth decay. I guess they’ve taken a lesson from cigarette packets which in recent years have also been “managed” in terms of branding with the removal of logos and colours and highlighting of the “negatives” from over-consumption.

What is a little strange is whilst these are remarkable real-products, although clearly not with the brands that are “selling” on the High Street, for the life of me, I can’t remember why they had been done nor what the “services” or “real world business” they related to. I was so strangely impressed with these oddities that I didn’t take in who was giving them away or what was their official message! So again, it seems strange that a company has invested in this give-away but it has failed in raising my awareness of them!

But these are rather clever gimmicks and funny “products” at IFE 2017.

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.

If you “Like” my Facebook page you will automatically receive new posts into your Facebook Newsfeed.

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!





2 comments on “Tasting GLUTEN FREE @IFE International Food & Drinks Expo at London’s Excel: Part 2: Strange Products and Special Presentation…

  1. benjac64
    May 1, 2017

    HiIs it okay for me to link to your posts


    • glutenfreepsd
      May 1, 2017

      Of course. I hope you liked my “Strange and Special” product finds! Always good fun to visit these shows. (I was at Country Living’s Spring Fair last week and heading to Pulse Show soon).


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