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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

GFAF Expo Part ONE

There is just so much gluten free amazing-ness to share!  So we'll just take it step by step.  There will be a couple posts regarding the GFAF Expo because I want to make sure I do the entire experience justice!  This post will just be a brief overview of some of the brands.  I'll go into greater detail in the next couple ones.  

1). Lily and I had an absolutely incredible time!  It was definitely worth the drive to Des Moines.  I think we both felt in awe of all the delicious products before us and it was just great to know we could eat anything in there - no questions, no worries just Gluten Free & Easy!

2). Personally, after being gluten free for almost 5 years, I cannot believe looking back how many products there are now and how many brands are available catering to gluten free needs!  We have become mainstream!

3). A huge shout out to HyVee - they are and always have been dedicated to gluten free needs.  Almost every product we saw and tasted is available at HyVee or available upon request.  Can't beat that, plus there's a helpful smile in every aisle!! 

Now, on to details!

The crowd was out of control!  So many excited GFree-er's!  I think they got a much bigger crowd than they were expecting because some vendors ran out of samples before we left - and they still had Sunday!  Hopefully they were able to reload.

The first booth we stopped by was actually a brand I had never come across before, and I scour the stores, gluten free mags, and twitter of course - so I was excited to try their products.  Andrea's gluten free is not only gluten free, but completely nut free also.  We encountered one of our favorite products of the entire expo at this booth - HELLO gooey butter cake!!  I've never had traditional gooey butter cake, but I've seen it on food network.  This gluten free version was mind-blowing!  I think we went back a couple times for additional samples.  And at the very end when we were leaving, Lily stopped by to give into temptation and buy a cake to take home... she got the LAST one.  Total score.  That cake didn't even see Sunday :)

This was another brand I was unfamiliar with - but incredible and one of Lily's favorites in the bread category. Gillian's Foods was sampling a bread product which I can only compare to Schwan's garlic cheese bread!  YUM.  These cheese breads come two to a pack (frozen) and become hot, crispy, and melty cheesy in the oven.  

Crunchmaster is a brand I know and love.  I tasted my old favorites and sampled some I hadn't enjoyed before - I think the roasted vegetable might be my new favorite!

This may have been the highlight of the expo.  We all miss creamy based sauces like white gravy, cream of whatever soup, traditional roux...etc.  Full Flavor Foods has conquered the sauce mix.  I'll admit I was hesitant to try this product because I had visions of a grainy bland soup with a terrible aftertaste.  Nope - absolutely delightful.  I am still thinking about this cream of broccoli soup!!

Probably one of the first companies to go mainstream with gluten free offerings - Kinnikinnick Foods.

Kristy's Kitchen out in full force for the expo.  I really need to order one of their scone mixes - they are spot on! 

I love Van's.... but to be honest, I've only had their gluten free waffles so it was great to sample their chips and some cereal! 

Chebe!!  My favorite booth.  I have loved Chebe breads since the beginning.  I've only recently researched their company and learned all about manioc flour!  I'll share about Chebe in another post :)

What's a gluten free expo without a little gluten free beer - and good beer to boot!  New Planet has an entire line of gluten free beers all available at HyVee of course.  I'm pretty picky about my gluten free beer mostly because they all suck and I'm pissed I can't even remember what good beer tastes like - but they nailed it with this line.  We sampled all 5 brews and I was happy - of course :)  I also really love that this is fairly local - comes out of Colorado.

Whew, that was a lot of information and we just barely got started.  

I'll have more in the next post!