Seriously, this woman is DA BOMB!! Apologies for my lame 1998 lingo, but really, Marion ROCKS!! Alexandra (my celiac bestie) and I made our way out to the Gluten Free Cooking Expo's Vendor Fair in Lisle, IL this past weekend. While we would have loved to attend the cooking portion of the expo, the admission was a little too steep on our pocketbooks. We could dish out the $15 for the vendor fair though, and were mighty glad we did!
We love finding new gluten free products and we love free samples even more. Gluten free products are expensive, so I love the "try before you buy" approach of these fairs. I found several new companies with products that I love. While I wasn't able to buy everything right then and there, I was thrilled when I ran into Marcie from Lil's who informed me that she will be carrying a lot of the products in her store! Total score...she sure knows how to hook a girl up!
Here's a rundown of some of the vendors and their products:
- Life Beyond Wheat - Their gluten free cinnamon rolls were too good to be true. Soooo yummy!
- Meister's Gluten Free Mixtures! - I believe the words, "Shut UP!" were uttered after I tasted their angel food cake. It was better than how I remember regular angel food cake tasting. Their sandwich bread was phenomenal. I took a chocolate cookie with a powdered sugar coating "to-go" which just melted in my mouth. I will definitely be purchasing from them soon.
- San-J - They're an old standby to these fairs, but a table where I always stop. I love their sauces and tried their new "Sweet and Tangy" variety that was just that. MmMmMMmm....sweet and tangy, indeed!
- Gluten Free Sensations - These guys had A-M-A-Z-I-N-G granola. I was on the fence about purchasing some, but I just bought some a few days earlier! Once that is gone, they are definitely my next granola supplier. They also carried a pancake & waffle mix, and a chocolate chip cookie mix. Both were awesome!
- Breads From Anna - First off, how cute is this woman?! She is the nicest, sweetest little thing ever! I am a longtime fan of Breads From Anna. I made gluten free brownies for non-gluten intolerant friends once, which they loved. Then I made pumpkins muffins from a Breads From Anna mix, and it was announced that "Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins are the new Gluten Free Brownies." If anyone is going to pass up a brownie for a muffin, then you KNOW this stuff is good. This weekend I tasted her new cranberry mix, maple mix, and apple mix. All hands down out of this world! She also made a tort using her pie crust which was just ridiculous. Everything was so scrumptious!
- Schar - Ahhh...good ol'Schar. Schar is one of my favorite gluten free brands. Their sandwich bread, dinner rolls, crispy breadsticks, and breadcrumbs are amazing. I tasted their table crackers and round shortbread cookies. Yep, just found a new substitute for those little mini cheesecakes. Until now I could never find a good replacement for a Nilla wafer.
- Kettle Cuisine - Oh man, this soup is good! I tried the clam chowder that was soooo tasty! It's nearly impossible to find a good gluten free chowder. They also carry chicken noodle soup make with Tinkyada pasta!
- Andrea's Fine Foods - Everything they make is delicious. I tried just about everything from the pumpkin bread to the cookies. The Gooey Truffle cookies were my favorite. Unfortunately for me everyone thought the same, because they were sold out!
- Apple's Bakery, Inc. - I love these guys. Their cookies are so good! They had cake this time around, and I nearly died. It was incredible!
- Better Batter - Not only do they have an adorable little logo, their batter really is better. The Better Batter brownies were divine, as were their pancakes! Yum!
- Pamela's Products - Pamela was always my go-to gal for years before all these other mixes came along, so naturally I hold her products near and dear to my heart. I love visiting the Pamela's booth because they have everything to offer from cookie samples to measuring spoons. The Pamela's women are delightful and have so much information to share! At the THRIVE expo I walked away with recipe cards, oodles of samples, and the phone number to order my gluten free wedding cake (although I'll need to find a husband first!) This time was no different. Marion was working the table and boy, was she ever! She had the funniest stories, the most amazing cupcakes (hello, vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting and coconut flakes!), and great tips for making the perfect cornbread. She even bestowed the granddaddy of all samples upon us - a bag of their new corn bread muffin mix, which I've been dying to try! Not only that, she gave me a Pamela's Products cappuccino mug which will be PERFECT for my mug brownie!
Since we were all the way out by Naperville, we had to lunch at Pizza Fusion. Their gluten free pizza is one of the best around. We feasted on the spinach and artichoke pie and washed it down with Green's Gluten Free Beer. The perfect end to a fantastic food-filled day!
Look forward to some product reviews of the things I bought as well as a recap of NEXT week's Gluten Free Adventures where I introduce Alexandra to the gluten free southsiiiiiiiiiide!