Tag Archives: allergy show

The Allergy and Free From Show 2014

8 Jul

2014-07-03 21.11.07Yesterday was my first full day back in Plymouth following a great trip to London for the The Allergy and Free From Show 2014.  The show was held at London Olympia, as it was last year, but this year it moved to the larger Grand Hall following some overcrowding at the previous show.  I set off from Plymouth on Thursday afternoon to meet my wife, Abby, who was travelling back from working in France.  I met her at Kings Cross which gave us chance to pop round the corner and visit the Kings Cross branch of Honest Burgers.  Amazing burger as always, and washed down with a gluten free beer.

We had decided to visit the show on Friday this year, in the hope that it would be a bit quieter than the previous year when we’d visited on Saturday and it was carnage.  We arrived at 10:20, expecting to join a long queue but were pleasantly surprised to find the doors had opened a little early and we were able to walk straight in.  On entry we were given a guide book, along with a bag and a pack of toaster pastries from this years sponsors Udi’s Gluten Free.

2014-07-04 10.39.16Our first stop was of course to see friends Ann and Steve on the always colourful Perkier Foods stand.  It was good to see them before it got busy so we had a chance to chat.  The calm before the storm I am sure!  I stocked up on my favourite Rocky Road tubs and golden syrup porridge pots.  Two of my favourites from the Perkier range and of course the ones that Sainsbury’s do not stock.  Here I am pictured with Ann (centre) and Twitter friend Flo Bistrow who I finally met here.

On the way in to the show was a huge Udi’s Gluten Free stand, and they were sampling their new Oreo style cookies and Tiger Bread.  The cookies were delicious but I wasn’t particularly impressed with the tiger bread, which was a little dry.  Maybe I had been a little spoiled on that front by the excellent tiger bread by The Wheat Free Bakery that I had managed to get my hands on at Clare’s Gluten Free in Plymouth recently.

2014-07-04 10.57.43Next I had a chat with Peggy from Glamour Puds.  We’d spoken on Facebook a couple of times when Glamour Puds was just launching so it was good to be able to put a face to the name.  It was also good to be able to have a taste of these puds again as I was extremely impressed on the previous occasion that I’d managed to try one.  Thanks to Peggy who gave me a few freebies to take away.  The good news is that these puds are now available in the chilled section at Tesco so do give them a try.  They are dairy free as well as gluten free.

Much of my time at the show was spent catching up with contacts I had made in the Free From community over the last couple of years.  Between the bigger hall and coming on the quieter day, there was much more opportunity to have a chat with the stall holders this year.  It was good to chat with Nick and Martin of Celia Lager, not to mention stock up on some beers.  Unfortunately getting my hands on 6 beers at the start of the show was a complete school boy error and I should have bought them at the end instead of carrying them around with me all day!

I also enjoyed catching up with Sean on the Live Gluten Free stand, Monika from Fria and Alex and Michelle on the FoodsMatter stand.  In fact I spend pretty much the whole day bumping in to people that I know from Facebook and Twitter land, and this was probably the highlight for me.  Several of us also had a blogger meet up in one of the cafes (oddly filled with non-free from cake).  It always great to meet up with these guys and say hello to old friends and meet some new faces.

To be honest I pretty much avoided the uninspired supermarket stands and also most of the big boys at the show.  Nothing against the likes of Glutafin and Genius, but I’d visited their stands over the last few years and felt a bit like I’d been there and got the T-Shirt this time round.  I preferred to spend my time focussing on the little guys to see what I could find.  Of course there are a lot of people doing very similar things at the show so it can be very hard to stand out.

A few other names to look out for this year:

Kabuto Noodles. A posh pot noodle with brilliant fun Samuria branding, full of flavour and now available in two gluten free varieties.  They hope to get their gluten free pots into supermarkets later this year

No.G. A great range of pastry products including a chicken, bacon and leak pie I sampled at the show. Superb pastry and they will be brining their full range to Sainsbury’s later this year.  Definitely one to watch and the blueberry cheesecake definitely caught my eye

2014-07-04 13.19.36Pudology. They’ve been in Sainsbury’s for a little while now, but ours only has banoffee which is a flavour that doesn’t really appeal to me. However I managed to try the chocolate orange one at the show and it is fantastic! Extremely rich and indulgent and I wouldn’t have guessed it was dairy free

Freego. A new online gluten free shop.  I’ve recently ordered from them and they have lots of unusual GF products that I’d not see before.  I love the product reviews on the website and it’s good to see that this online shop will actually deliver to Plymouth! Gluten Free by the Sea readers can get £10 off their first order of £20 on the site using the code “GFBYSEA10′ (exp 31/09).  It was nice to say hello at the show.

1-2-3 Gluten Free. This one has really excited Abby, as they are based in her home town of Cleveland, Ohio.  Being an American company they do some very traditional recipe mixes such as (American) biscuits and cornbread.  The cake samples made with their mixes were excellent.  They were at the show last year too, but it sounds like they are much closer to a UK launch now.

I also stocked up on some Venice Bakery UK pizza bases, which were the highlight of last years show for me.  I would say they were still one of the highlights this year and it really is a fantastic product that deserves wider availability, and it would indeed be a great product for any of the takeaway pizza chains to use.  It was good to get my hands on some focaccia from the Free From Food Award overall winner Focaccia Per Tutti, and I’m looking forward to tucking in to that.  I also picked up a few packs of the delicious chilli corn chips from Amaizin, really good.

We spent six hours at the show but still think I missed half of it after reading other peoples recommendations on Twitter.  There is so much to see and taste, the show was HUGE this year.  I have been chatting to Abby and I think next year we may do Friday morning and then come back and finish on the Sunday.  I think by the time we did the second half of the show we had tasted so many cakes and crackers it was hard for anyone to stand out and we were too full to even try some brands, and we didn’t give some of the smaller stands the attention they deserved as a result.  I think it will be better if we can have a break in between and come back refreshed and ready to go again.  This approach may also mean we can get away with buying some chilled products if we go home straight from the show.  Just one thing I’d like to point out is that Ocado don’t deliver past Bristol and we don’t have Whole Foods in Plymouth.  The amount of times I heard “we’re available in Ocado” on Friday, the heart sinks a little!

Overall I enjoyed the show a lot more than last year.  There was so much more room and the atmosphere was much more relaxed on the Friday, which was reflected by the fact we spent a whole six hours there.  Great credit to the organisers for responding to last years issues.  We didn’t see any gluten near misses this year with potential cross contamination, though it was a bit worrying that ASDA were giving out unlabelled samples.  I also noted that I did get asked my dietary requirements when asking for samples a lot this year, good to see that more companies were on the ball in that respect.  From a personal point of view, I’m probably getting less out of the stall holders due to my increased knowledge of the producers, and of course the fact I’m lucky enough to be sent samples regularly.  This year I didn’t quite feel like the “kid in a sweet shop” that I did on my first visit, but we’ll still be back next year.  It really was just fantastic to see everyone, and the rest was almost just a bonus.

2014-07-04 21.14.40

Friday evening Abby and I met a few other bloggers and tweeters for a fantastic meal, and not to mention a few cocktails, at Dishoom.  Both Abby and I were really impressed with the food at this Indian street food restaurant.  There was a really good gluten free choice for us, and plenty of veggie options for Abby.  The evening was made complete by great company and great cocktails, we will definitely be going back.

I hope those that visited the show had  a great time with lots of new discoveries.  Please comment below with your favourite finds!  For more photos from the show see my Facebook page.

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

 


 

 

Free Tickets to the Allergy and Free From Show 2014

23 Mar

Last May I paid my second visit to the Allergy and Free from Show at London Olympia.  It’s always a fantastic event and a great chance to say hello to some of your favourite gluten free producers and of course meet some new ones.  Personally I find it’s always a great opportunity to meet up with gluten free friends from the social media world too.  This years show will again be held at London Olympia, though slightly later than last year with the event running from Friday 4 – Sunday 6 July (2014).

AFF-freetickets

The good news is that Gluten Free by the Sea has teamed up with the Allergy and Free From Show to bring readers of this blog unlimited free tickets to the 2014 show in London.  To apply for your tickets follow this link.

The show as always provides free seminars and a chance to meet a range of specialist consultants, cooking demos, support groups and engage in workshops.  Running simultaneously at Olympia this year will again be V Delicious, a vegetarian good food show.  Of course though, the big attraction is the chance to sample and buy so much great gluten free food from so many suppliers at once.

Last year the show was absolutely packed on the Saturday when we visited as it has become increasingly popular.  The show is moving to a bigger hall this year, so hopefully there will be a little more room for manoeuvre in the Grand Hall.  You can read my review of the 2013 show here.  For those that found the show too busy last year, the organisers are also offering a VIP package this year.  For £45 per person you will get early access to the show, special offers, access to a VIP lounge and more.  You can see full details of benefits and book tickets here.

Personally I think the VIP package sounds great, but is a bit expensive for me on top of the cost of travelling from Plymouth.  However if it does appeal to you then you can get 20% off VIP tickets by using the Gluten Free by the Sea discount code GfreeBYtheSEA

AFF-VIP

If you will also be travelling some distance to London, then it’s very much worth spending a few days in the capital exploring some of the great gluten free places to eat.  For a few ideas have a read of a blog post on one of my previous trips to London here.

So what are you waiting for?  Grab your free tickets to the Allergy and Free From Show here and I will hopefully see you there!

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

Tideford Organics Giveaway!

31 Jan

600Soup_group
I first came across Tideford Organics at the Allergy and Free From Show in 2013.  When eating so many sweet things at the show, I often find that it’s a savoury item that sticks in the memory, and Tideford’s minestrone soup was definitely one of my highlights.  The fact Tideford Organics are based in my home county of Devon meant I definitely needed to find out more about this company.  Tideford have been making their products since 1996, using only organic ingredients, and are produced in their kitchen in Totnes.

samplesAfter contacting Tideford to introduce myself and try to find a local supplier, I was lucky enough to be sent a great range of samples.  All of the Tideford products are gluten free with the exception of the porridges.  The rest of the range includes soups, sauces, pestos and puddings.  My sample box included a variety of soups, some salsa and some pesto.

stmauricenbreadAs luck would have it, the arrival of these soups coincided with St Maurice Bakery starting to bake fresh gluten free bread in their bakery in Plympton, Plymouth.  This made a fantastic partner to the soups and is now available to buy fresh every Saturday.  As for the soups themselves both my wife and I really enjoyed these.  They were packed with flavour and contained nice chunky vegetables.  My personal favourites were the minestrone and the farmhouse chicken, closely followed by the pea and mint which was Abby’s favourite.

beetrootminestrone

salsaThe salsa was tasty and went well with some beef tacos (and of course a side of Abby’s famous refried beans).  The pesto was our least favourite product.  We used it as a pasta sauce and I found it a little too oily, but it also tasted quite dry.  The flavour was good though and overall it was OK, just not something that was up there with the quality of the soups.  Abby was really not keen on this one, mainly as she found it too oily.  I’ve since spoken to Tideford about this and they’ve suggested the pesto needs stirring well before use, as it can separate due them not using any potato or corn starch to prevent this as other pestos do, preferring to keep more natural ingredients.

ricepudding

I was lucky enough to run into Tideford Organics at the Flavour Fest that took place in Plymouth during August.  It was a good chance to stock up on some more soup, and I also grabbed some of their rice pudding which I’d not tried before.  Rice pudding is one of those things that never sounds appealing, but every time I eat it I really enjoy it.  What I’d never tried before was flavoured rice pudding, and I have to say I really enjoyed the Tideford puddings.  I tried chocolate which was really nice, but my favourite was the butterscotch which was absolutely delicious and I would definitely buy again.

I have seen some of the soups and sauces available to buy in both Tesco and Waitrose, but please let me know if you know of any other Plymouth stockists.  The good news is that Gluten Free by the Sea has teamed up with Tideford Organics to bring you a chance to win some of these delicious goodies!  One lucky winner will win two 600g soups, two 300g soups, 2 sauces and two rice puddings.  All you have to do is visit the Gluten Free by the Sea Facebook page and enter via the Tideford Giveway app or by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/gfreebythesea/app_228910107186452 To enter you must either like the Tideford Organics Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, and confirm this via the app.

600g 300g and sauceSAD 600g Chowder_HiRes

The competition will run until midnight on 28th February and the lucky winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter which I am using to host the giveaway.  Your details will then by passed to Tideford Organics who will send the prize to the winner directly.  Please note this competition is open to UK residents only.  This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.  We hereby release Facebook of any liability.  Winner will be contacted by email after the giveaway ends.  Good luck!

UPDATE 01/03/2014: The competition has now closed. Congratulations to winner Emma Louise Hutchinson!

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

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