I've never attended a gluten-free conference with such an array of stellar local goods. Either the market is getting wise to the fact that slapping "GF" on something doesn't it cut it, or the understanding that naturally gluten-free grains and ingredients can shine without bland-brick-like mimicry of their gluten-containing cousins has finally sunk in. Whichever it is, it's bloody hard to re-cap the GFFA Fest from Nov 7-8 in Stamford as far as food -- I have a laundry list of exciting standouts.
Not just gluten-free, but organic, local, artisan-baked or small-batched --
Not just safe, but really most especially GOOD --
Not just good, but developed by small businesses with goodstories, making good by making good food.
Without more ado, let's start off with ...
serious standouts, and locals
BAKED GOODS AND BREADS
GLUTEN FREE SOURDOUGH CO
Real. Sourdough: 5 ingredients, including water. Sharon, founder of GF Sourdough in Ashland, MA, makes English Muffins that soar, gluten-free naturally. Sour. Crisp. Teff-based, with deep nutrition, not just deep taste. I love her use of Teff, which has a uniquely smooth texture with good hold. She bakes not just muffins (hard enough to find gluten-free and quality) but sweet breads, and cookies. The most compromised Celiac gut will take to these breads like a fish to water, for the sourdough process breaks down the harder to digest compounds in
the grains. But any one would enjoy the flavour, whether they need to eat gluten-free or otherwise.
Looking for holiday breadstuffs? Order it up now. Sharon has some brilliant seasonalofferings, including cubed stuffing mix, andChocolate Mini Loaves! Or if you're in the area, she's in Ashland, MA -- hop on down to her bakery.
Simply delicious. But this bread is entirely grain free. Paleo, easy on most healing guts, or any gut, with a nutty flavour profile toasted or untoasted, and great moisture, Trudy's breads are a Celiac-stellar choice. Made of seeds and egg whites, again, they've an ingredient list you can fit on your thumb, and are chemical and preservative free even as they're free-to-eat for anyone experiencing celiac or grain-related allergy.
By a family of artisan bakers who got bricked by a series ofCeliac diagnoses within the family, this bread is made in a dedicated facility the New York company founded especially. The Rustic loaf is 5-flavourful, with a hearty texture and great integrity. No crumbling apart, and big slices. When I wrote my first post on GF breads, I never thought I'd run into a series of breads as decidedly gluten-free as this, with no need to compare them to any gluten-containing loaf.
6 ingredients, ancient grain-based.
Cinnamon Raisin loaves with hopping heaps of raisins -- a dessert or breakfast bread by all standards, sweetened by plain sugar, without preservatives -- Goodman also makes cupcakes and sandwich breads on similar lines. They don't run in for the organic or ancient grains. They do run well and fast and furiously successful with
simplegluten free ingredients, and the cupcake and the bread were taste-ful, sweet without being saccharine, a "sub" that doesn't sound or evoke a feeling of needing substitution at all. "This is GF?" is the remark any friend who hasn't got Celiac is apt to make. You'd never think it.
DEE'S ONE SMART COOKIE
D Kettle makes many smart cookies, and cupcakes, and breads, and cakes... and the team of Gluten Free and More Magazine has been taste-testing her creations since the beginning. "I don't have to lose it," was her response when she was diagnosed with Celiac, "I just get to reinvent it." A pastry chef who could no longer bake professionally the things she loved, she did reinvent the pastry, or at least licked it well sans gluten. Using simple ingredients, no preservatives, and organic sugar and agave, D bakes sweets like a Celiac boss. My favourite? Her Mint Chocolate Chippers. BEST. EVER. COOKIE.
This two-woman team and endeavour is in a category of its own. If you didn't see my re-cap of the Hartford GFAF Wellness Event, you missed Danielle and Jen's peerless organic gluten free brownies, muffins, burgers, and dips. Their dairy-free lacto-fermented Queso is stellar. With the simplest of ingredients, and the most naturally gluten-free, they've made seriously nourishing food that is better than any fast food you'll ever get your hands on. Better than any gluten-containing food too, mostly likely. TheLemon Squash Muffins (seasonal) beat all poppy-seed lemon things I'd ever tried. At the event in Stamford, they had Pumpkin Muffins -- and those muffins, honey, pumpkin, coconut flour and oil -- could run the trousers off the best pumpkin pie. I love their seasonal menus, their dedication to locally sourcing their eggs and all produce, and their story. I also love their food. Try it. You will too. They ship.
FLOURS, MIXES, MAKE-IT-YOURSELF'S, OH YES (OH MY?)
Pancake mix. This mix. Oy, I don't like mixes, nor do I like most gluten-freepancakes. But Rick has created a mix that makes a sweet puffy cake that's not just delicious and gluten free, it's higher protein than most egg scrambles and grain freeas well. A keen blend of almond meal, and pea protein, these bags are worth their weight. I tried both the banana and the chocolate chip at the event...I could have eaten my weight in samples!
Gluten-free pancake mixes, gluten-free baked good mixes -- certified, safe, multigrain -- NOW now has an entire line of goods specific to a Celiac diet. The banana bread, while sugar is the first protein powders, to probiotics, bulk goods to oils (through their Ellyndale line),NOW offers really good food, really good gluten-free, really good product integrity. I've worked with them before. If you want a specially protein-packed sweet, pick up a box of the GF Banana Bread Mix, a tub of Pea Protein or Creamy Vegan Vanilla Protein, add a few scoops to the mix and a bit of extra moisture, and voila.
ingredient, is neither too sweet nor too squishy, and it adapts beautifully to muffins, pancakes, or cake. I only wish NOW had brought some of their supplements, and other offerings. From
BREADS, BULK GOODS, PANTRY GOODS
CANYON BAKEHOUSE GLUTEN FREE
Oy, bagels, ne? I'm still orange-pipped pleased with the gluten-free bagels CGF has popped out. Everything Bagels. Plain Bagels. Not bready, but properly chewy. Worst thing in the food-world is a bagel that's as good as weird-shaped bread. But Canyon -- along with its breads -- has managed to make GLUTEN FREE BAGELS nationally available. Their breads use naturally GF grains without preservatives to create texture and taste that never disappoint.
They were swamped at the event.
It shows, I think, their dedication to those with Celiac that they commit to testing product 5ppm and below, and that the safety is only complimented by the taste.
I love Eden. For gluten-free good, organic, tinned and dry goods, for tea and cider vinegar, for their commitment to family farming, and deep integrity of business practice and product -- I love Eden. It was a huge pleasure to meet the Northeast Sales Coordinator, Emily. And to eat their organic, naturally gluten-free pumpkin seeds. For pantry goods, such as beans and rice, you can never go wrong with Eden. But you'd be well served to explore everything they offer. It's easy to explore food that you can eat with Eden -- not only can eat, but food that's whole, healing, and free of chemicals (no BPA in cans) and pesticides.
Schar is international, and makes everything from sandwich breads to ciabatta under European regulations that make the productsexceptionally more safe than most gluten-free options in the United States. They've just rolled out a new formula for their base-breads. The new Artisan loaves don't just taste good, they now include a blend of ancient gluten-free grains that makes them nutritive as well as toothsome. This is thanks quite a bit to RD-on-staff, Dr. Anne. It was lovely to see her again after the Hartford event!
CEREALS AND SNACKS
The Cheerio that serio--seriously takes Celiacand taste seriously. Freedom Foods, based out of Australia, has an O that is oat-free, brand-new, full-of-flavour-and-crunch, and won't explode in your gut with inexplicable cross-contamination. Freedom also just debuted new cereal bars. Australia has much keener food regulations, and their oats -- if one can tolerate them -- as well as their manufacturing and testing procedure -- are legitimate and committed to gluten-free integrity.
You can see their allergen-testing online at their website. What I really badly want to try next is their line of Superfood Mueslis, which look as wicket-cracking wicked as these Celiac-safe O's.
No corn in these chippers. Family-owned business, they make chips that are Celiac safe in flavours
that jack Dorito'sflavour, and then up it. From Nacho to Ranch, to plain Salt and Pepper, and I love beans. I don't believe you can get a better naturally gluten-free food; and these chips are made all of beans and rice.
I've been making nachos with NATURAL CONTENTSdairy-free queso all week since the event.
Eat joyfully, eat freely... If nothing else, I am always grateful for Enjoy Life's attitude. But they also provide Plentils, amongst other Celiac safe snacks that are likewise top 8 allergen free. My
flatmates, and my clients (especially the under 5" sort) love Plentils. They ate most of the samples Jamie passed on to me. Plentils, fairly-ish new, are made mainly with powdered lentil flour, and the Margherita Pizza-flavour is good with most anything. They also serve as gluten-free bread crumbs for chicken fingers or fish, and dip with most anything.
A keen grain-free gluten-free find --Kahn's Kitchen makes simple granolas -- and makes them simply good. I enjoyed chatting with the president of the family-owned business himself about tubs of honey they buy to lightly sweeten their blends of crunchy nuts n seeds, and the inspiration for the product -- Jason's sister, whose allergies require that she be grain-free, not just gluten-free.
No sister will feel deprived if she can eat Kahn's granola. With an ingredient list short enough to scribble on your palm, it has an enjoyment reach long enough to cover a Celiac head to toe.
Find my recent product review here.
GLO Bars: These are athlete staples, and travel staples for me as a Celiac. Organic, raw, dairy-free, sans fillers -- these bars come with at minimum of 11 grams of protein, and a taste profile that's stellar. Texture, which can be peculiar in a protein or vegan bar, is also a nice surprise -- creamy in the creamy bars, and with a good crunch in those made with mixed nuts or crunchy peanut butte
MISCELLANY (LOCAL AND ONLINE)
Jen Kurko began Kiss Freely after she kissed her daughter with lips lined by run-of-the-mill lip balm, and the poor girl broke out in a heinous rash. Her body butters, lipsticks and balms, are all free of top allergens. After trying them, I can say they're free of the oily after-feeling of many cosmetics as well, feel wonderful on the skin, and the lipstick is gluten-free,chemical-free, and won't ever hurt me if I swallow it over a cup of tea. I highly recommend Jen's line of self-care cosmetics -- and I really don't think you need to suffer from Celiac Disease to benefit from skin care and make-up that doesn't seep allergens or chemicals into your skin. Her products are scented with essentials oils, and blended with hemp seed and pumpkin seed oils, which are beautifully light.
Neither food nor face-product -- but as nourishing and essential as either -- I have to include FREEDIBLE.
It's the stories and the people that matter here, which I why I write about the food. The hardest thing about living with Celiac is the impression that you've come to a point where your life is restricted to restricted food choices, and your options isolate you.
|CJ, Tumbling Gluten Free, with Cheryl, Freedible:
Match of Custom-Eater Community!
The wonderful thing about the social media platform, Freedible, is that is tips the tables, and turns that distorted sense of deprivation into opportunity. Full ofrecipes, resources, personal stories, and opportunities to create and build community, Freedible shows what I like to call the life of Free-Edibles.That's Tumbling Gluten Free. We do have options. And we are not alone.
We aren't restricted, eaters, friends. We are custom eaters. Disease might have axed some options. But Celiac does not axe opportunity to explore life, and even play with good food.
Hit up Freedible, join in the conversation, and get proved you're in community,not in isolation.
Freedible makes the perfect sign off for a wrap up of this GFFAFest, because it provides a continued platform for the resource and community, local and remote, that showed up in Stamford. You can connect with brands, learn more about how to manage well, and live fully with whatever food sensitivity you have, and do it with friends on Freedible. I'm there often. Join me.
So which new product would you like to try, and why?
KEEP READING AT Tumbling Gluten Free for giveaways and custom-eating resource!