Several people were kind enough to tell me about this upcoming show, http://www.glutenallergy.co.nz/so I dutifully took myself along last Sunday. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but what I found when I walked through the doors was a whole lot of people all wearing very happy smiles on their faces as they walked around and tasted everything they could.
Almost every exhibitor offered food – the large percentage of it gluten free. A lot of organic, sugar-free, dairy-free stuff as well, but basically safe food for people who are gluten free. Everyone who left the show left it with bags full of food. My favourite was seeing a mother and primary school age daughter, both carrying bags with boxes of cereal in them. They had to swap bags because the daughter couldn’t skip with the heavy bag she had. Obviously breakfast had been a challenge for them which was now solved.
Another thing that I observed is that the gluten free world is going to be a booming business in a very short period of time. Suppliers are becoming more innovative in the foods they are providing and there is less and less difference between ‘standard’ foods and GF ones. By my count from the take away booklet, there were 92 different exhibitors – not bad for a small ‘niche’ show! There were quite a lot of ‘shared’ booths – obviously the cost of the booth was significant and this made it possible for smaller suppliers to exhibit there. And there were a large proportion of organic exhibitors too.
In the interests of reporting to any faithful readers I have, I felt it was my duty to sample as many things as possible so as to provide links and information. I promise that’s the only reason I left the show feeling like a very stuffed full diner!
Some worthy mentions! A delightful pistachio and lemon slice and melting moment from the Short Grumpy Chick’s Catering & Co. Check their website on www.shortgrumpychick.co.nz for a huge range of baking. And what a great name!! They were short, but I found them very welcoming and not grumpy at all.
Battered fish, mini hotdogs, chicken strips and incredibly yummy donuts from gftreets. Mmmmm, donuts. More information on www.gftreets.co.nz or you can order their products from I E Produce at www.glutenfreenz.com (and they get points for having a website with almost the exact same name as my blog :-)).On the fish and chip note, The Chip Shop Ltd at 711, Manukau Road, Royal Oak, offers gluten free fish, hot dogs and so on and even cooks these in a separate deep fryer from their gluten offerings. www.thechipshop.co.nz I’ll be adding these chaps to my “Where to Buy and Eat” page and will try them out the first chance I get!
IE Produce do a huge variety of grocery items, and lots of organic and gluten free products. They also stock Gluten Free Dumplings and Dumpling Soup from Leanne’s Kitchen www.happycooking.co.nz These tasted GREAT. I’ve actually bought their non-gluten-free dumplings from my local Pak n Save and they’re a great favourite with the kids. They tell me they’re not selling the GF versions into the supermarket, but you can buy them from IE Produce online or go out to the Leanne’s Kitchen warehouse in East Tamaki and they’ll sell direct to you.
Scotts Brewing Co, New Zealand’s first gluten free beer, as they proclaim themselves. Based out in West Auckland, they had an ale to sample and a very nice, citrusy Pale Ale, not dissimilar to a Summer Beer. The Pale Ale was lovely, and a good price at 12 bottles for $30. For a summer treat, it would be well worth it. Or for a gift for a gluten free friend. www.scottsbrewing.co.nz
All of the big players were there as well – Organics, Hubbards, Healtheries and so on. Hubbards have brought out a new range of Gluten free breakfast products (including a brown rice porridge). These will be stocked at Pak n Save and New Worlds primarily.
And lastly, a BIG ups for Muffin Break. These are the muffin stands that you see in all the shopping malls. They do coffees and muffins, milkshakes and so on. They already carry one sweet gluten free muffin in their stores as standard. As from August, they’re going to increase these to a couple of savoury muffins and a couple of sweet ones in every store. As more and more chains do this, being gluten free will become much less of a minority issue and much more a standard way of life. I bought some of the muffins to sample and like most Muffin Break muffins, they are enormous, but tasted pretty good. I have them in the freezer to take to work on days when I don’t have time to make something. Go to http://www.muffinbreak.com.au/NZ-Home/default.aspx and reward them for being so progressive!
There were lots more exhibitors and foods on display, and even though I was only there for an hour, I felt overloaded by it all. I wished I had been able to go to this show last year when I first started on my gluten free experiences. The very best thing about the show was being able to taste, taste, taste. There’s nothing more galling than having to pay $7 for a loaf of bread, getting it home and finding it disgusting. So great job to the organisers and the exhibitors!