What a great idea! My local Whole Foods Market brought in over 20 vendors from both large corporations and local producers. I hope this is a trend that they carry out at many more locations. The store was filled with displays and representatives from companies that produce gluten free foods, drinks, soaps, and vitamins. You could sample the products and talk with those who were knowledgeable about what they contained and how they were produced.
Lee Tobin came from his North Carolina Whole Foods Market Gluten Free Bakehouse. Lee, a baker for Whole Foods, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 1996 and began experimenting with baking gluten free. The more he created the more it sold. In 2004 a completely separate dedicated facility opened where Lee now creates and distributes his many delicious gluten free products to the Whole Foods Markets. Of course, there is more to the story to check out.
I spoke with Bob from Ians Natural Foods and Glutino who shared brochures that listed all of their products along with all the ingredients in those products. This is important if you have many foods that you cannot tolerate. They are always creating new products and I picked up their new 3 Cheese Pizza for my 15 year old. I’ll let you know his verdict.
I think The Crab Ladies from Frederick Maryland were the busiest handing out samples of their gluten free crab cakes. There was a lot of happy grunting noises coming from that table. When you check out their website you can see a list of ingredients. Again, this is so important and I wish more people would list all of their ingredients.
The Dizzy Pig Barbecue Company was also a big hit sampling meats with their gluten
free spice mixes. This is another local growing company that had adjusted their ingredients to make sure they are gluten free. If you don’t have other foods you are intolerant to, then I would jump into these spice mixes. Having an array of different seasoning combinations is very handy. I spoke with Chris Capell the President of the company and he said that all of the spice ingredients were not noted. Some spice combinations have so many different items they would never fit, but they do use individual ingredients which we know is important when avoiding gluten. Also, they don’t want all of their secrets out there.
The only item I sampled was Cupola Cookies. These are small delicate cookies that are great paired with tea, coffee or wine and used in recipes. They have 3 flavors and 2 of them came home with me. You know I try to stay away from packaged items and sugar but I really liked these and will have them as a very special treat. They have the consistency of a meringue, are only 11 calories per cookie and contain protein by using garbanzo bean flour. I also liked the fact the ingredient list was short and I knew exactly what each item was.
The store was packed and many other foods were sampled. I hope it was a success for that store because it was definitely a success for those who I spoke to in attendance. I hope they continue to do more of these and also throw in gluten free cooking and shopping classes. I know I get a lot of requests for these two items and people always benefit from the information.