Monday, May 7, 2012

Suffolk County Gluten Free Vendor Fair: Event Review


Simply wow, there aren't many other words to describe the (almost) annual gluten free vendor fair put on by the Gluten Intolerance Group of Long Island. This year they gathered together over 50 vendors for two days of sampling and tasting in Hauppauge, NY. Each attendee received a reusable shopping bag with a couple of samples, an entire box of Glutino's Apple and Cinnamon Rings and a bunch of coupons. I began writing this shortly after I got home and already I can't wait for next year's! [Note, I didn’t finish until today.]

As always, I skipped over any vendors who weren't also offering dairy free but there weren't too many of those. There were some old standbys: Bakery on Main, Bob & Ruth's, Bob's Red Mill, Delight Gluten Free Magazine, Schär, El's Kitchen, Garden Lites, Kettle Cuisine, Namaste, NJY Camps, Really Great Food Company, Rudi's, ThinkThin, and Whole Foods. These are companies that I reviewed as part of the Colin Leslie Walk or since then.

BOLD Organics Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Vegan Pizza
The real stand outs and new releases are below (in alphabetical order):

BOLD Organics – this is brand new line of gluten free and dairy free pizzas. I tried the regular (titled Vegan Cheese Pizza but all four have vegan cheese) and it was quite good. They also offer meat lovers (sadly containing pork based pepperoni), veggie lovers, and deluxe (meat and veggie combined). They were baking four pies at a time for sample yet there was still a line the entire day!

Canyon Bakehouse – they were unable to attend but sent along lots of samples of their breads (I can never seem to find their mountain white), Focaccia, Hamburger buns, and their new Cranberry Crunch Muffins.

Gilbert's Gourmet Goodies New Packaging
for their Gluten Free Cookies
Gilbert’s Goodies – I had a nice chat with the owner about how happy I am that they are offered at the Prudential Center’s Gluten Free Cart. They have a new packaging (see photo) and are looking to expand into other sports and convention venues.

Greek Village Restaurant and Catering (44 Veterans Highway, Commack, NY 11725) - this local greek restaurant is offering a sizable gluten free menu including gluten free pitas from GFL Foods for an additional charge. I was tempted to stop here afterwards for a late late lunch but was still too full from sampling. If I were anywhere near central Long Island, I’d definitely be heading there!

Joan's GF Great Bakes – ah, Joan's is back! For those who don't know, Joan's had a fire at their facility last year and were off line for a number of months. They are back in full force and were sampling gluten free (and dairy free) corn toaster cakes, english muffins, multigrain english muffins, and double chocolate muffins. All of Joan's products are sold ready to bake so one can bake them fresh at home. Not all of Joan's products are dairy free however so it was a real treat that everything they sampled today was!

Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Bread
Kinnikinnick – I spent quite a bit of time chatting with the people from this Canada based Gluten Free (and allergen aware) company. I am already well acquainted with their cookies and donuts (see my review of their gluten free donuts). I had heard that they had just launched a new gluten free soft bread and was a bit skeptical. Let’s face it; everyone claims theirs is the bread that’s so good you don’t need to toast it. Well, Kinnikinnick is the first company to be correct in that assertion! I’m working my way through a loaf of their soft white bread right now and will be reviewing it shortly! They’re making their hamburger and hot dog buns out of this same formula. 

Mostly Myrtle's owner and daughter
and their gluten free / dairy free creations!
Mostly Myrtle’s – they were at the last meeting of the Northern NJ Celiac Support Group and I didn’t pay enough attention to them since they were “only in NY”. Oh, bad move. They’ve got a wide variety of unique gluten free products and are steadily expanding. They’re best known for their biskooky’s but also make some amazingly muffins and brownies as well. I think I’ll stop here and write them a full review later. Just a quick note: not all of their products are gluten free but those that are, are dairy free as well!

Nantucket Pasta Goddess - has a line of fresh gluten free pastas that were quite good.

Naturally Free Food (9 Singer Lane, Smithtown, NY 11787) - a local [Long Island] dedicated gluten free store/bakeshop. They can do dairy free baked goods as well but didn't have any with them.

Pamela's - Pamela's didn't have anything new at this show but was again giving away samples of individual brownie mixes, mini cookies and whenever bars (so good!). I did hear a rumor that they'll be launching five new baking mixes in the fall!

Immaculate Baking Co's New
Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookies
Strictly Gluten Free (396A Larkfield Road, East Northport, NY 11731– I didn’t stop at their booth but I did stop into their store on the way home. It is a fully gluten free store with a wide variety. They even offer a couple of samples upfront. It was here that I found Immaculate Baking Co’s new Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookies!

SweetieBeans - a brand new line of gluten free mixes, not out in stores yet.

Way Better Snacks – this new chip manufacturer has six different sprouted grain gluten free chips that were great. They should be available at your local Fairway and Whole Foods and hopefully will keep expanding beyond.

Wild By Nature Markets (East Setauket, Huntington, Hampton Bays, and Oceanside, NY) – this small grocery chain had a surprising variety of gluten free and dairy free products. I also stopped here on the way home and bought myself Kinnikinnick’s new hamburger buns, Amy’s Sandwich Rounds, and Solterra’s GF/DF pizza. They had plenty of other products to choose from but these were the ones I knew I couldn’t get at home.

Wild Flours Bake Shop (11 New Street, Huntington, NY 11743) – another local dedicated gluten free bakery that is mostly dairy free. They do have regular cheese for some items but also offer dairy free cheese for the same.

XO Baking Co – they offer a line of gluten free mixes that could be prepared gluten free. I was able to try two of them made with almond milk and they were quite good. They’ll be in Whole Foods in September.

So that’s it. On the way home I did stop off at Ray’s Café in Rye Brook, NY for dinner only to find they had closed and it is now an Elevation Burger. I decided to continue on and try Stir Crazy instead. I’ll post that review later this month.

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