It's my favorite time of the year, and it's not just because my birthday was last week, the GFAF Expo was in Schaumburg, IL! I love the expo for many reasons;
1 - It's a great way to meet other gf people and talk about what you do and don't like and different foods you've tried and how they turned out.
2 - You get to try new foods without wasting a lot of money on them to find out you just don't like them. Or your family doesn't like them.
3 - Coupons - You can get coupons from your favorite manufacturer for purchasing later.
4 - You can find out what is out there. - When I was diagnosed we had NO CLUE what to do, we didn't know what gluten free really meant, or what products to look for.
5 - There are a variety of classes offered, and it's a great way to get advice and pointed in the right direction if you're newly diagnosed.
New Products - I love when companies demo new products at the expo. Let's face it you see a shiny new package in the store you're drawn to it, and you really want to try... But you don't want to waste your money if it's awful. We've all been there - it looks so tasty and by the 2nd bite you're trying to figure out who to give it to, but you don't want them to think you hate them either.
New this year at the expo that caught my attention -
R.P. Which stands for Real Pasta - Found in the Refrigerated section of the grocery store. I've seen their pasta at Whole Foods, but never tried it. I liked it, it was light, and didn't have a gummy texture at all. no after taste, and it was served w/just olive oil so you got to really taste the pasta itself. My mom was a huge fan, as a gluten eater, this was huge for me! There were several grocery stores at the event and each one she told them how they need to carry this product. Go mom!
Brazi Bites, Brazilian Cheese Bread - Not sold in the midwest, decided to use the expo as a chance to get their name out so customers can ask the local grocers to carry their products. Pretty smart idea. Tapioca and cheese based, and "naturally" gluten free the way it's made in Brazil. Similar to Chebe products. These had a slightly more dough like consistency to them which was nice, plus they came in multiple flavors, like jalapeno, garlic, bacon and regular cheese. They are all natural, GMO-Free, soy free and sugar free, and FULL of taste. My mom made sure to point out to me that they were good.
RedFork Sauces - They are small batch crafted cooking sauces/marinades. The gal was nice to tell us they are mixed in with other items, (not in a dedicated gluten free section of the store) because one of the sauces they make is not gluten free, but all the others are. Sadly she didn't tell us which one, but did say all are labeled as such. For a sloppy joe sauce (and a girl who doesn't like sloppy joe.) it was good. They were serving it on Canyon Bakehouse bread which was super tasty. I'm eying their potato seasoning so I'll be looking for these in the near future.
Cheesewich - This really couldn't get any simpler. 2 pieces of cheese with a piece of salami in the middle, sold packaged just as is... No bread, no crackers... Brilliant if you ask me. I laughed because it is such a simple concept, and would honestly keep me happy when at a NASCAR race, or on a road trip. I could do without the bread, or even without the crackers. I make these as is for days when I'm not sure what I'm going to get for gluten free options.
Don't Go Nuts - These are marketed at kids, but I would be willing to buy these. My brothers girlfriend told me several times how good the blueberry bar was, and my boyfriend and I were huge fans of the white chocolate bars. They were good, not gritty and no after taste, plus not too sweet. They are also Nut Free, an Non-GMO as well. So far around Chicago it seems they are in smaller independent markets and at Joe Caputo's.
Classic Crab - Imitation crab meat by Trans Ocean. Such a controversy, some people don't understand it's not crab meat... But it also contains wheat. Why, well it's fake to begin with, why bother questioning any logic beyond that. They have gone and removed it so you can now make California rolls easier, and you can make crab cakes easier, and cheaper. To me it was another exciting moment, finding something I use to buy was now safe, again.
Tomorrow I'll go over some other products we tried, Kiki's new pizzas, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Redd Remedies, Lovely Candy Co, as well as Delights Stuffed sandwiches. More to come!!