Sunday, September 14, 2008

2008 Boston Gluten-Free Cooking Spree

Finally, after months of anticipation, I got to go to the Gluten Free Cooking Spree last night, put on by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. What an awesome event! I met a lot of new people and ate a TON of delicious food. It was really amazing to be able to just eat and eat and eat without worrying about gluten. I know there are a lot of people out there with multiple food issues, I myself should be careful about lactose/casein but for now I'm just focusing on the gluten. I'm happy to say that although I walked out of there feeling like an over-stuffed sack, it was only fullness and not illness and today I feel great. That itself is just really great. My parents asked me today again if I think that it's possible that I have Celiac in addition to Crohn's, because I feel so much better when I'm gluten free. I can't say that I don't still wonder about it, but since I'm already going gluten free, is it worth it to push for further testing? I still don't know about that. Maybe at my next visit with The Doc I will ask him what he thinks about doing the Upper GI biopsy. Anyway, back to the important stuff!

I arrived very early to the event because I had signed up to volunteer, so I got to meet Vanessa and that was pretty cool. I bought her book over a year ago and was excited to finally meet her. I spent some time helping out but everything was running so smoothly that I had some time to just hang out with the vendors, try their foods and take some samples. At 7:30 the event began and that's when the fun started. Allie and Julia arrived with their boyfriends and I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with them, eating, drinking and having a great time. We started at the dinner line and then went into the vendor room so the photos below are a little out of order, but they tell the story of the night very well so I'll just go with it as is. There were two rooms, the main ballroom was where the cooking competition and dinner were held and there was a separate room with all of the vendor tables. I'll start with the vendor tables.

The favorite of the night by far was Joan's Gluten Free Great Bakes. She was serving up the most delicious bagels the three of us have ever tasted. Joan was great to talk to and the reviews of her products across the internet are nothing but stellar. She was giving out gift bags with english muffins in them for today's breakfast. I ate mine this afternoon for lunch as a tuna melt. It was FANTASTIC. The most delicious gluten-free bread product I've ever tasted. There were also two chocolate chip cookies in the goodie bag which I haven't tried yet but I am sure they are going to be amazing. I can't recommend her products highly enough, go order some now!! The shipping is expensive because of the packaging so order a lot at a time, share with friends, do whatever you have to do, just order them! Sorry I didn't get any photos of this one! I was too distracted by the deliciousness.

Next up on my list of favorites is Glutenus Minimus cookies. Natalie was diagnosed with Celiac when she was 21 and in college. After struggling to find good gluten-free cookies, and with the help of her mom, she came up with her own recipes and is now in business for herself. These are really really delicious cookies. They're soft, chewy, fresh and taste as close to the real thing as you can get. In fact, I'd say they even are better than most gluten cookies out there!
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Little Bay Baking Company sells baking mixes and last night they were offering muffins and chocolate chip bars that were very tasty and moist, not at all crumbly. I was told that there baked goods will stay moist for days after baking!
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I am a big fan of the various chips made by Food Should Taste Good. I grabbed a bag of Jalapeno flavored to take home but my favorite was the Buffalo style. They are really nice people and their chips are awesome. They even make chocolate flavored chips! I hear they're good heated up and topped with ice cream.
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I grabbed a bag of Bhuja cracker mix, it's a delicioius alternative to Chex Mix.
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Mary's Gone Crackers & Brownies from Foods by George
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When was the last time I had a soft pretzel?? Finally last night I got to enjoy one, guilt free, thanks to Noah's Pretzels. They were setup so that you could take a plain pretzel and top it with your choice, mustard, marinara sauce, cinnamon and sugar, parmesan cheese.. I chose the marinara and it was delicious. The sauce was Stop & Shop, Simply Enjoy, I'm probably going to add that to my shopping list too!
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I think we all were looking forward to this the most, we hadn't made it up there since we cancelled our trip over the summer but luckly Flatbread Pizza was there serving up the good stuff. Nice crispy crust and fresh tasty toppings.
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Allie & Matt Enjoying Flatbread
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There was also a table for Pepperoncini of Framingham Mass and for some reason I neglected to take any pictures, but their pizza was awesome. Your basic, classic cheese pizza. I will definitely make the drive out to Framingham to get some more of it.

I had seen this soup at Whole Foods but wasn't too excited about buying it. After trying it last night I will definitely pick some up next time. I only got to try the clam chowder, but being a Plymouth girl I am PICKY about my chowder and this was excellent. Check out Kettle Cuisine and here is Allie enjoying some of the clam chowder.
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There was a yummmmmy Chocolate Fountain
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Stop & Shop sponsored the event and they were there to hand out insulated shopping bags to collect all the goodies. This is where we got in line to taste the food that was being cooked by the competitors.
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Julia and Allie getting some chicken wings from one of the competitors.
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The gluten-free alcohol for the evening. Woodchuck cider, Magners cider, Redbridge beer. YUM!
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Woodchuck Amber & Snack Mix
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This is the part that I'm totally bummed about. Since we went through the competitors line and then the vendor rooms first, we missed this amazing buffet that was put out by Not Your Average Joe's and Yan's China Bistro. The foods looked AMAZING and we didn't even realize what was over there. I hope they come back next year, I will be first in line! At least I got some pictures to drool over. We were just too full to stuff in any more food at this point...
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Gluten-Free Italian food!!! Oh how I wish I had tasted this...

Vita from Celia Cakes supplied the main desert. I had heard about her cakes before but last night I finally got to try some. What they say is true, absolutely wonderful. When I get married someday, I know who I'm calling!!!!
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Not only delicious but beautiful!

We weren't sure if these were Kinnikinnick or not, but they were awesome donuts!
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The award for best gluten-free dish in Boston went to Top of the Hub.
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Bullet Head provided the entertainment at the end of the night.
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Me, Julia, Allie and Sally. Boston Gluten-Free Girls, stuffed full and happy. What a great night!!
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I finally made it home by 11pm, exhausted and ready for bed, but first I had to unpack all of my treasures.
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This was a really great event to promote Celiac awareness and give all of us an awesome, stress free, gluten-free night out. I can't wait for next year!!!!

7 comments:

The Good Eatah said...

Oh my God I am so jealous!!!!!!!

What an amazing event Jenny! Thanks so much for posting all of this; I will surely be trying all these products.

P.S. I am slightly obsessed with the Bhuja mix -- they sell it at the Hannafords in Quincy.

Allie said...

WOW -- Amazing post!! Thanks for doing this! I really wish I had brought my camera to document, but your pictures came out great (except that gross one of me & matt eating pizza).... I'm definitely going to link here for readers to see!!

:)

Marlow said...

Like the good eatah said, I am SOOO jealous! It looks like a great event, I'm so glad you had fun! Ooh Redbridge beer...mmmmmmm

Sally said...

So nice to meet you on Saturday, Jenny. I got to the vendor room too late, I think, because a lot of that stuff was already gone when I got there. *tear*
I highly recommend that everyone go to the next event if it happens again in Boston!

C said...

I would have eaten myself to DEATH! Yum! MMMMMM! Mason :love: you! :kiss: :kiss: :kiss:

Julia said...

Great recap! Saturday was so much fun-we will have to all go to dinner sometime soon!

jacobithegreat said...

Oh my GOSH!
They need this event in Houston. Now.

How exciting!