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Event review: Gluten and Allergen Free Expo Atlanta

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The Gluten and Allergen Free Expo had its first event in Atlanta in May. The event had previously been organized by the Gluten Intolerance Group of Atlanta, but since the group is in flux, Jen Cafferty and her talented team came in to save the day. I have been attending gluten-free expos for years and I love the atmosphere of comradery they create. Of course, the free samples and being able to 'try before you buy' is also a plus.

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This year's event took place at the Cobb Galleria and it saw 3,000 attendees and 100 vendors. The educational conference was sponsored by the Gluten Intolerance Group, which was celebrating their 40th anniversary with some well-known speakers. Dr. Fasano and Dr. Rudert were my favorite speakers and they gave the audience updated information from the medical community, as well as, insight into ongoing research.

As a whole, the variety of vendors were great, but I would have liked to see more local vendor participation. There was only one beer vendors and one pizza vendor, which is unusual for these expos. I also found it odd to have companies selling pillows/sheets and cleaning products.

Some of my favorite finds were:

  • 2B Whole European Bakery - is now making gorgeous gluten-free wedding cakes, in addition to their line of cakes and cupcakes. With wedding season upon us, this is great news, so make sure to schedule an appointment to create a wedding cake that will fool everyone.
  • American Gra-Fruitti - is always developing new products and they introduced three new mixes at the event: Apricot Squares, Raspberry Squares, and Bubble Bread. Their line of breads, snacks, and sweets can be purchased at Whole Foods and at the bakery.
  • Ancient Harvest - has a new line of supergrain mac & cheese and ancient grains mixes in various flavors.
  • Breton Crackers - this is a new line of crackers, to me, and they can be purchased locally at Ingles Markets. I have heard great reviews on them, but I have yet to try them.
  • Cooksimple - was on hand with two new varieties of their meal starter kits: Salmon Patty and Jambalaya. These meals are easy to prepare, they are flavorful, and they require the addition of just a few ingredients to create a meal the whole family will devour.
  • Dr. Lucy's - has two new flavors of cookies: Lemon Goodness and Berry Best that are only available at Whole Foods. I wonder if I can make deconstructed berry shortcake with the Berry Best cookies?
  • Freedom Foods - was selling their extensive line of cereals for a discounted rate. Unfortunately, these cereals are hard to find locally, so this sale was a great way to stock up without having to order from Amazon.com. My family is a fan of their Tropico's and Maple Crunch cereals.
  • Nuun - was demoing tablets that create portable, hydrating drinks loaded with electrolytes. When these tablets are added to water, they dissolve in minutes making it a great on-the-go beverage for travel, outings with the family, and more. We picked up a couple of flavors to try out. Some, not all of the tablets, contain caffeine and sugar, but no artificial colors or flavors and they are made in a facility that is free of gluten.
  • Magnolia Manor Sweets - was on hand with an array of tasty sweets. I have been a fan of their baked goods for years, which sold out at lightning speed. Marianne was sampling/selling, cinnamon buns, vanilla and chocolate cake, bialy bread, breakfast bread, pumpkin muffins, and more. I am excited for the day when these products will be available in local retail stores.
  • Pure Knead - debuted their new line of vegan and top eight free sandwich bread and buns. These breads can be eaten directly out of the package without any toasting and they are light with an extremely elastic texture. I think the buns are wonderful, but the sandwich bread is sticky and it doesn't hold up to heavy ingredients, like chicken salad.

I came home with bags full of samples and a tummy full of gluten-free foods. Did you attend the event? Who were your favorite vendors?

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