The most noticeable thing about the gluten free fair yesterday was just how far all the gluten free foods have come since a few years ago. Everything we tried (I went there with my friend who can’t have gluten, dairy or eggs and her two little girls, one of whom can’t tolerate those items either) was good. Surprisingly good even. Of course, there were a lot of cookies and really, how bad can a cookie be? It seems like a lot of the gluten free companies are trending towards dairy and egg free too, probably because they get so many requests to modify for other allergies. There were also several soy free labels added on to the listings of food items that were not included. One that really stood out was Amy’s frozen mac and cheese that was indeed gluten free, dairy free and soy free. Quite good! The texture was spot on, the taste was creamy, and although it had a different taste than regular cheese, for those who can’t have any of the normal mac and cheese ingredients, this would hit the spot. There were cookies that you buy as cookie dough in the refrigerated section which had the nice benefit of being able to bake only as many as you want at a time. Schar was there with a variety of crackers that the girls both liked a lot~ including cheesy crackers that were simply gluten free. They are sticking with their specialty. The crackers from Glutino tasted the most like buttery crackers from my childhood that I’ve had since going gluten free. They have that same texture and thickness plus a dose of buttery-ness that I’m not sure is real butter or a substitute. (My personal favorite gluten free cracker is Blue Diamond though and it would take a lot to convert me. Their pecan nut thins are so salty and delicious.) Zing bars were there and we all tried the chocolate coconut flavor which was tasty, though you have to like that kind of bar~ the kind where it feels like the ingredients all were put into a processor until they come out in almost a jelly form, then cut into rectangles and baked to harden, kind of like the power bars of the 90’s except thinker and a little chunkier. I have no idea how they are actually made and I’m sure I’m far from the actual process, but there is just two basic ‘bars’ out there~ the somewhat granola-ish type, and then this other thick more processed type. I like the more granola kind best, but I know a lot of people like the other. Some of the Zing bars are just gluten free, others are also soy and/or dairy free, so make sure to read the label. There were others there, such as Udi’s and some salad dressings that we missed out on trying, but it looked as though those two companies were part of a gluten free barbecue outside that was certainly popular. In fact the whole fair, which consisted of vendors throughout the store giving out samples and information, was very well attended. There are so many people with food allergies now and it doesn’t seem like something that is miraculously going to go away. I’ve heard ‘gluten free’ called the new ‘low carb’, which is mildly insulting considering ‘low carb’ was a choice and no one is choosing gluten intolerance, but the I can understand the comparison in that the natural field always seems to grasp on to some trend or another and go whole hog with it. Didn’t someone say “moderation in all things”…? Anyway, all in all I was very glad we went and we both went home with new products that we tried.
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