Last weekend, I was really excited to head down to London and visit the Allergy and Free From Show! I’d heard amazing things from the event but hadn’t anticipated just how huge and buzzing it would actually be: a big sign that the ‘free from’ community is going from strength to strength.
First of all I would just like to say how well organised this event was! I’d read horror stories of the event being crowded in previous years, but the hall was really spacious and that meant plenty of space to move around (and try free samples of course!) The toilet queues and café queues were minimal and the 3 areas of the show (the free from section, the vegan section and the natural section) were easily divided by coloured carpet. This made it really easy to wander around the event without going of course. We arrived around 11am and was pleased to find we could stroll straight in with no queues or fuss.
Before I get onto my free-from haul, I’d just like to tell you quickly about the blogger event I attended while at the school. The team behind this amaze event held a meet up for us to chat and meet brands. This was a real highlight for me as it meant I got to meet up with some familiar twitter faces as well as learn about some great new blogs including Gluten Freedom Club and Samantha from The beautiful Mouth– who even had a quick chat with me for the documentary she’s making (if you are a FODMAPER I’d check her out!)
Photo taken from The Beautiful Mouth Facebook page.
This shot reminded me I am not a natural in front of the camera! Despite this discovery, my day perked up even more when I met the ‘free from’ buyer for Tesco. I shared with her my frustrations that free from products are often filled with sugar! I also requested a gluten/dairy free birthday cake-which she assured me is on the way! It was great to be able to chat with her about my concerns and learn more about what the supermarkets are planning. I do appreciate some of you aren’t big on processed free from foods but they are a good starting point for those who are beginning to eliminate stuff from their diet.
Now on to the food!
I was so impressed with the bargains on offer. Ignoring the world’s biggest stash of Nakd (because I talk about these all the time!) here were my five favourite brands….
1. Ilumi. I had heard about these guys before but was thrilled to pick up their ready meals (at a bargain price of 5 for 10 pounds). I cannot believe these meals contain absolutely no nasties- just cooked meats, veg, rice and spices. I have only tried one so far but hope to be able to write a separate review once I’ve tried them all. It is so difficult to find ready meals without any sugar, preservatives etc so these could be a real lifeline for free fromers who are on the go.
2. Venice Bakery. This bakery was serving up gluten free pizzas with vegusto’s dairy free cheese! Divine! I snapped up their pizza bases so I could try them for myself. Again, this is the only pizza base that doesn’t seem to have added preservatives etc. Can’t wait to use these!
3. Jollyum Ice Cream. A dairy free ice cream with soya milk. I don’t usually recommend soy-based ice creams, but this one doesn’t involve lots of processed ingredients and it tasted divine. I was pretty gutted that they were just offering samples and I couldn’t buy it!
4. Amy’s Kitchen Amy’s Kitchen is clearly quite a sadistic brand. They lured me to their stall with the offer a gluten/dairy free veggie Mcmuffin. Once I had tasted all it’s gorgeousness , they declared that I couldn’t actually buy it from the show! Why do this to me Amy’s Kitchen???? If you haven’t tried their food it is amazing. There free from macaroni cheese is unreal. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the Mcmuffins anywhere!
5.Gluten free Gathering Technically not a food item, but this site does promise amazing natural gluten free food! It offers regular restaurant meet ups for free from foodies! It’s the chance to discover amazing food (think beyond high street chains) and not feel like the odd one out when you whisper to the waiter ‘can I have the allergy menu please?’ I can’t wait for the next one in September.
Did you visit the Free From show? What did you think of it?