Last weekend I had a wonderful couple of days at the Free From & Allergy Show at Olympia in London. I didn’t manage to get there last year and the last time I went, the show was crammed into a smaller hall, which had been quite uncomfortable and had put me off a quick return. The show has moved to the Grand hall however, which not only increased the capacity to help introduce more new (and established) producers and suppliers to an eager (and growing) audience, but made it much more pleasant to explore….. wider isles and a brighter, airier room. Believe me, that extra space for air circulation was seriously welcome this year with the unusually hot weather!
The event was brilliantly organised and congratulations go to the all the team who put it together as well as to all the exhibitors who tirelessly served us with tasters and talked endlessly to inform us about their amazing products.
And my haul? Huge!!!!
I was lucky enough to stay in London overnight and took the wise decision to take the car……. which of course meant that I could bring lots and lots of goodies home with me. These are some of my favourite new discoveries :
First up and a total revelation were some AMAZING loaves from Romeo’s Gluten Free Bakery. I would have brought back every loaf they had if I could, but I limited myself to brown, white and seeded. They had a load more varieties including a delicious sundried tomato bread which I was very tempted by. The loaves are probably the best GF bread I have ever had…… Soft, squidgy, nicely flavoured, beautifully moist and perfectly textured…….. No crumbling….. No bitter after taste…… No dryness in the back of your throat that leaves you reaching for the water.
On my first day at the show, they also had some delicious spinach and cheese pastries which were wonderfully good too…… I took one away for my tea!
Based in Islington, London, Romeo’s is a place I will do my very best to get to very soon. If you ever get a chance to visit, make this an absolute destination point….. I am just praying they find some way to get their products out across the country in the near future.
Next up….. Kirsty’s gluten free, dairy free chilled ready meals. Being gluten free, decent, healthy ready meals can be really hard to source. It’s not that we choose to eat ready meals as the norm, but life is busy and there are days when you just want to have a meal which doesn’t require preparation and these little gems definitely hit the spot for me.
They are delicious, nutritious and full of good stuff and are available (although I have yet to find them) in a number of mainstream supermarkets. I particularly liked the wholesome ingredients (lots of veg, quinoa, brown rice, lentils, etc) and the flavours were distinct but not over-spiced (perfect for the kids).
No G (Too Good To Be Gluten Free) were another revelation, with some amazingly good pastry products. I was bowled over by their gluten free sausage rolls which were being served warm at the show (just as sausage rolls should be)! The pastry was light and flaky and the sausage filling was generous and meaty.
My two favourite drink products :
Rude Health‘s new Hazelnut Drink is divine! Gluten free and dairy free, it is probably the best ‘alternative’ milk drink that I have tasted so far. Made with roasted Italian tondo gentile hazelnuts, it is rich and creamy with a distinct flavour of hazelnut in the background. I loved it and can’t wait to try using it in baking as well as drinking it straight. I have already tried pouring it on chocolate cereal (Barkat Chocolate Cornflakes which are another favourite of ours)……. gives a sort of ‘Nutella’ kick to the morning!!
Pip Organic‘s juices and smoothies also shone for me, both in flavour and quality. All organic, their drinks are full of 100% fruit and their smoothies were thick and satisfying. My daughter is busily drinking her way through all of my stash (she particularly loves the pineapple & mango) and I am going to have to hide a couple of cartons as I have plans to try adding some to ice cream batter….
Pip were also selling some lovely cooling ice lollies made from the same amazing juices (good move on such a hot day!) and I did snaffle a bottle of their fresh, cold pressed apple & cherry juice back to my hotel where it went down incredibly well mixed with Gin and a little tonic!
On the cake front, I was particularly impressed with the luxury offerings from B-Tempted. I am often underwhelmed by commercial gluten free cakes (even some specialist bakery ones) as they tend to be cloyingly high on sugar content and often dry. Not these! They are subtly sweet and full of exciting flavours. With plenty of ground almonds, they are also superbly moist and very very moreish. It is a good job they come in bite-size portions!
I bought a wonderful selection of their Belgian Chocolate Brownies with Sea Salt; Raspberry, White Chocolate & Pistachio Friands; & Vanilla and Flaked Almond Friands.
As you can see, there are lots of other goodies in my stash……. no doubt some of them will find their way into recipes that I post in the near future………
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