Nathan (age 10) and I were like kids in a candy store at the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo-Atlanta this past weekend--except it wasn't just candy! There were cookies, cakes, bread, donuts, pizza, pasta, and even cosmetics--just to name a few! We had a blast sampling new products and we left the expo with both our bellies and our GFAF Expo tote bags full! This was the second year that my family has attended this event and we can't wait to go back next year!
I purchased our tickets online in advance which saved us not only 20 percent off admission, but also saved us time because we didn't have to wait in line. We were handed red tote bags already half full of Milton's Gluten Free products and we started making our way down the first row of vendors. What was so awesome was that Nathan didn't have to ask for my permission before eating the samples. He did ask out of habit at the first dozen or so booths, but after I got on his eye level and explained that he could eat anything in the room because it was all gluten free, his face lit up! The look on his little face was more than worth the price of admission. He started going ahead of me to the next booths since he didn't have to worry about getting glutened. He may or may not have visited a few booths more than once. Any booth that had a spin-to-win wheel was definitely visited at least 10 times. He "won" a lot of rice and magnetic clips.
One of my favorite booths was the Spinato's Pizzeria booth. Spinato's is bringing their Phoenix, AZ restaurant to you via Sprouts Farmers Market within the next couple of weeks. Their Gluten Free Tomato, Basil & Garlic pizza was awesome! The crust was the best gluten free crust I've ever tasted--light, buttery and crispy--yum! I would've never guessed I was eating a frozen pizza. They offered samples of pasta sauce and salad dressing that were also quite tasty. We sampled enough at that booth to call it lunch.
Another favorite was the Cheenie's Cheese Bite Rolls. These golf-ball-sized bread bites were just like the cheese bread served at Brazilian steak houses. They were served fresh out of the oven and tasted great! Their display gave me some great serving ideas that I can't wait to try at home.
Nathan was excited to find bread that wasn't dry or crumbly at the Three Baker's booth and at the Pure Knead booth. He felt pretty special sampling Kinnikinnick's new yeast donut that hasn't been released in stores. He also loved tasty treats from Glutino, Enjoy Life, Smart Flour, Schӓr and Udi's.
There were so many free product sample giveaways, but there were items for purchase, too. I bought Pancake/Waffle Mix from Sugar & Spice Market (product review coming soon) that were a hit with my family yesterday! I also purchased a new lip gloss from Crunchi that was very soft and non-sticky.
The event featured classes which I wasn't able to attend because the kiddos wanted to get to the hotel to go swimming, but I did get to meet Tiffany Hinton (aka GF Mom Certified), one of the featured expo speakers, who was promoting her gluten free cookbook at the authors' table. During our chat, she invited me to review recipes in her e-cookbook which I am excited to do. Stay tuned for my review of her recipes soon!
This well-attended event proved that there is a need and demand for gluten free products and I am thankful for the companies who "get it" and offer products for the GF community. I'm hoping more stores and restaurants will start carrying these products. The GFAF Expo-Atlanta has become a must-do annual event for our family! I vote they should start one in Mississippi! Who's with me?
Nathan's note: They had everything! I can't believe they did not have Nogii bars though. I made a plan to get as many Nogii bars as possible, but I am not going to tell you my plan. There were so many things to try. It was so cool. I have never seen so many GF goodies in my life. I loved the Spin to win places. LLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDD it.