GFAF Expo 2016 – Best of Fest!

The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo was in NJ last weekend, and boy did I have a blast! The best part was the people – meeting new friends, chatting with members of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group, and seeing all of my friends from last year who are cook book authors, bakers, small business owners, and company reps. We are a wonderful, loving community, and I felt it so strongly last weekend my heart could just burst! img_8710

In attendance were several of my favorite companies from previous years that are always in my “Best of the Expo” posts because they are amazing – Izzi B’s Allergen Friendly Bakery (SUPER allergen friendly and delicious), Canyon Bakehouse (the everything bagels!), Maddalenas Cheesecake (best cheesecake ever), Freedom Foods (allergen friendly cereal done right), Beanfields (the most flavorful chips in the world). Today I want to introduce you to some new companies:

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Posh Pop Bakeshop – I have been Instagram-stalking this dedicated GF bakery in NJ for years and literally jumped in the air when I heard they would be attending the expo. Go to their Instagram. It’s beautiful. You’ll never want to look away. In person, the treats did not disappoint. Everything was amazing. I went back the second day of the expo to buy a single vanilla cake pop covered in sprinkles, and it is one of the best gluten free desserts that I have ever eaten. I should have bought a hundred. Posh Pop Bakeshop has a loyal following – apparently it’s so good that the general population will happily munch away on their treats without realizing that the bakery is Certified Gluten Free by the CSA (they also test their products in house). Cookies, donuts, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, cakepops, brownies/bars, cheesecakes, muffins, custom cakes – Posh Pop Bakeshop has it all.

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Everybody Eats –My mother, boyfriend and I have been a fan of this bread for years. Out of all of the food in NYC that my mom could eat when she visits, she only wants baguette from Everybody Eats. It was wonderful to finally meet the owner, Pedro, who is incredibly lovely and kind. All of their products are gluten free and nut free and made in a 100% dedicated facility. It is a small artisan bakery, and everything is made by hand. Their products can be found in various NYC restaurants. Pickup is available from their Brooklyn kitchen, and they ship nation-wide.

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Better Batter/Yes You Can – I am so in love. I was fortunate enough to sample several products from Yes You Can, an Australian family-owned company that is now working in tandem with Better Batter. First of all, the gluten free/dairy free mixes are amazing. They are held up to the high standards that Australia has for gluten free products and are made in a dedicated facility. Vanilla/chocolate/red velvet cake, banana bread, multigrain bread – everything was incredible. I was shocked when I was told that some of the items were baked a few days beforehand. They tasted like they had been made that morning!

I also talked at length with the Better Batter owner, Naomi, who is one of the loveliest people you could meet. Better Batter is a small, family owned, mom-run company that stemmed from the desire to support her family of Celiacs, one member of which is autistic and found incredible relief from the gluten free diet. Naomi explained how Better Batter is a social enterprise, and that they actively support and seek to hire people with autism. My heart is bursting with how caring Naomi and Better Batter are.

img_8482The Squirrel and The Bee/Goodness Grainless (un)granola – OMG pumpkin spice, grain free granola! Ingredients are: Walnuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Coconut Oil, Honey, Vanilla Extract, Sea Salt, and Shredded Coconut. I’m normally not a granola fan, but with those ingredients and an incredible taste I have now converted. Someone please give me ideas for how to use granola because otherwise I’m eating this straight out of the bag. The Squirrel and The Bee is a dedicated gluten free bakery in Short Hills, NJ and owned by a professional pastry chef who found relief for her Ulcerative Colitis by changing her diet.

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Mickaela’s Simply Diving Biscotti Cookies – Made in a dedicated gluten free facility and Certified GF. Unlike traditional biscotti, these look like normal circular cookies. They are super flavorful, light and extra crunchy. I’m in love with both the chocolate chip and lemon flavors. Also, this business just opened seven months ago! Support  small businesses!

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Manini’s – Possibly the best ravioli I’ve ever had. No weird gummy taste from the gluten free pasta. Simply outstanding ravioli, whether you normally eat gluten or avoid it. I tried their four cheese ravioli and the spinach/cheese. I simply cannot wait to buy more. It will surely become a staple in my kitchen. Manini’s facility is dedicated gluten/peanut/tree nut/soy/fish/shellfish free and their products are consistently tested for gluten to less than 10ppm. They are also Certified Gluten Free by GIG.

 

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BFree – Certified Gluten Free and also free of egg/dairy/nut/soy (vegan friendly!). I am in love with the multigrain rolls. They have a hearty taste and an excellent fluffy/springy texture. Their wraps were also a huge hit at the expo. I heard many comments like, “They’re incredible – they don’t fall apart or crack!”

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Kevita – I’m really into Kombucha right now. Some Kombucha has an overwhelming vinegar-like taste. Kevita is a drink that you’ll happily reach for. I tried the Pineapple Peach and was delighted. They also have delicious sparkling probiotic drinks – the Lime Mint Coconut flavor was quite refreshing.

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RP Pasta – We all know that there are less-than-desirable gluten free pasta brands in the world. RP Pasta is Certified Gluten Free, has a lovely taste, and it does not stick and clump together. The first ingredient is brown rice flour, which I appreciate for the nutritional content. They have a few varieties including linguini, fusilli, fettuccine, spinach fettuccine, and lasagna sheets. I’m excited to see what this company does next!

 

Can’t wait for next year!

 

Disclaimer: I received samples of these products at the expo, but I was not paid to write this. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.

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