The Gluten and Allergen Free Expo had its second event in Atlanta this past weekend, which ran for one day and not two days as it did last year. The expo was again held at the Cobb Galleria and saw a significant increase in attendance. Jen Cafferty and her team know how to put on an event where anyone following a gluten-free diet can socialize in a ‘safe place’ while enjoying free samples, lectures, and coupons.
As a whole, the variety of vendors was great, but local vendor participation was lacking. The list of vendors on their website (95) is a little confusing because many of them were not actually at the event. Either their materials were in the goodie bags given to each attendee, or they were part of a shared booth.
This is my second time attending the event and this year involved working for Simple Mills part of the time. This Examiner serves as their Atlanta Brand Ambassador, so it was fun to work and have time to attend as media. The event got off to a slow start, but by 11:00 a.m. it took off and was a steady flow of attendees until about 3:00 p.m.
Some of my favorite finds were:
- Abundant Love’s pound cake mixes were well received. This local company has cracked the code to making a versatile pound cake mix that makes a firm and not crumbly cake that is moist and would fool most gluten eaters. They were handing out samples in multiple flavors, such as: crumb cake, red velvet, and chocolate.
- Garden Lites new veggie bites made from broccoli and brown rice are a powerhouse of veggies packed into bite size servings. The brown rice adds a slightly crunchy texture that tastes fantastic.
- Nona Lim Foods makes a line of refrigerated noodles in two variations and flavorful broths in three flavors that area easy to make. The noodles are soft and slurp-able without being sticky or gummy.
- Pascha Chocolate has a new product hitting stores in August called Make Me Smile, which is a chocolate fruit spread that gives Nutella a run for its money. It tastes like fudge-y frosting and is vegan and nut free too.
- Perfect Bar this line of nut butter bars are packed with protein and superfoods that turn this snack into a super snack. The bars are handmade in small batches in a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. The Almond Butter bar is outstanding.
- Simple Mills has re-branded and reformulated adding three new mixes to their line of almond and coconut flour mixes: Pancake and Waffle, Pizza Dough, and Vanilla Cake. In addition to being paleo, these mixes are made with simple ingredients anyone can pronounce and offer more protein and less sugar than traditional gluten-free mixes.
- Trans Ocean Products line of imitation crab and lobster is made using tapioca starch in place of wheat starch, which typically makes it off limits for those following a gluten-free diet. They were serving California rolls made with their crab and they were delicious.
A great time was had by all who attended and left with bags full of samples and a tummies full of gluten-free foods. Can’t wait until next year!