Not only was I exhibiting at the Allergy & Free From Show 2017, I also love seeing what it is new in the world of free from food and the Allergy Show is the perfect place to do this.
I’m really excited by some of these companies products! Not only were they delicious but many are started by people who get it. So with out further ado, here is the round up of my favourite products from the show!
The Saucy Affair Raw Sauce Co
The Saucy Affair Raw Sauce Co puts the sass back into the evening. Whether you’re a busy mum, the nonplussed cook, or wanting to serve up a saucy dinner date, you want to know about this company and their saucy sauces.
Run by a lady in a long black evening gown and a masquerade mask, as soon as you approached this stand, you got the feeling there was something special here.
As a foodie, I love to try new flavours. I get irrationally excited about bright colours and exotic smells. I tried every single flavour multiple times (there were 6) and I didn’t get bored.
I personally don’t like using pre-made sauces, most of the time they’re fine hot but rubbish cold or if you eat too much they leave a funny taste in your mouth. Not the case with these sauces. They tasted fresh! I had to admit, I was surprised. What surprised me even more was the ingredients list, fresh fruit and vegetables were used! Barely a tomato in sight AND extra virgin olive oil was on the list!
I could go on, and I will, but I’m saving my full review for a post of its own. Watch this space for a full post and my throw it together dinners featuring these sauces!
Forced To Be Fussy
I love the name of this company: Forced to be Fussy. I think it sums up what it’s like to have food allergies, intolerances and dietary restrictions. Forced to be Fussy is run by Jenna, a lady with multiple intolerances such as gluten, barley, various nuts, crustaceans and more. She has started a company making allergy friendly baked treats. Gemma was kind enough to ply me with a slice of lemon loaf, a huge chunk of sticky chocolate brownie and a slice of rocky road. For me this was exciting because being allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, and intolerant to gluten and dairy, even at an allergy show there was not much I could eat. But I could eat these!!
Here’s what I and my chief taste tester (a.k.a the boyfriend) thought of these treats:
Chocolate Brownie: My favourite treat out of the three. I devoured this as I was waiting for a train and had barely eaten all day Sunday during the show. It definitely hit the spot. More of a sticky cake brownie and I liked it! There was a fudgy chocolate topping and I was happy to taste that it wasn’t too sweet. I wouldn’t object to an even richer chocolate flavour but that’s my chocoholic preference.
Rocky Road: Great textures! I loved the crunch of the biscuity things, the squidgy marsh mallow and glace cherry textures, they worked really well together. For me I’d prefer a less sweet version, perhaps using a darker chocolate made with xylitol to counteract the sweetness of the marshmallows and glace cherries. Ideal for kids or adults with a sweet tooth.
Lemon Cake: This was tested by my chief taste tester the Monday after the show. It had sat in my bag for almost a day. Sorry Jenna, not presenting your work at its best. However initial thoughts were it felt like it might be stale, but… it didn’t taste like it! Still had a good cake texture. Had a lovely light lemony flavour. It tasted more lemon than it smelt. Chief taste tester gave his approval!
Leggero was suggested to me by Vicki Montague (The Free From Fairy) on Sunday of the show while I was trying to find something to eat. She said they had a great allergy friendly focaccia bread, and oh boy did they?!
They had some samples out of the roasted mediterranean vegetable focaccia and I was sold on that first bite! Vicki said it would be good but I wasn’t expecting it to be that good.
The vegetables were sweet and fresh, the bread itself was spongy and moist, delicious! It was also free from gluten, wheat, nuts, peanuts, eggs and dairy and other allergens too! To show my appreciation I voted with my money and bought one of their huge slices immediately, and at £3 I thought it incredibly reasonable.
It was only after I bought a slice I found out they were a restaurant! A gluten free Italian one at that too. I had a quick chat to one of the guys working the stand and he gave me their business card, which came in a really pretty oyster card holder. It was while I was on the train that I realised what a perfect idea this was. I had been meaning to buy a new holder for my oyster card (which used to be held together with sellotape, but had split ages ago). The Leggero business card is still in the holder with my oyster card to remind me to go have a meal there next time I’m in London!
Free From Fairy
I think this lady is actually a fairy. She has created a flour blend that I seriously think is the best on the market. So far it is better all round flour than all the big brands I’ve tried. Vicki Montague, a.k.a The Free From Fairy, has developed a gluten free, rice free wholegrain flour blend that you can use for anything and everything. Cakes, biscuits, breads, and pastry! For anyone who has struggled with gluten free baking (and also needs egg, dairy and nut free bakes too) then you need to get your hands on this flour! She sells directly from her website and until the end of July has a give away of a FREE supply of flour for 6 months! Click here to enter! (I mean it, click here now!)
Functional Foods Co.
Functional Foods Company is run by Alessandra Bester who is out to combine allergy safe and superfoods. She is an inspirational lady who has developed this delicious treats through helping her autistic son eat again. At the show she sampling her delicious citrus truffles. They were absolutely delicious. She gave me a little box to share with my Mum containing all the new treats. I have to say they were bursting with flavour! From citrus to rose flavours, it was summer and spring in a box! I am not usually a fan of rose flavour either but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Alessandra is also an incredibly motivated and warm person, I can’t wait to see how her company develops over the next year!
Plamil So Free
Plamil Foods So Free Chocolate is the new branding of Plamil chocolate. I have been a fan of Plamil for the last 7 years when I discovered that they made chocolate in a nut free factory. Their past chocolate bars were ok, but often had a powdery texture. I still enjoyed them and bought them but I have to say, they have really up-ed their game with the new So Free bars! They have fixed the texture problem, the chocolate is now incredibly smooth and a pleasure to experience the melting on your tongue, the flavours are brighter and it is just like eating one of the big brand chocolate bars like Lindt. I also love their new branding. It is adding a sexiness to allergy friendly chocolate that I haven’t seen in the allergy niche before. Well done Plamil!!
Newburn Bakehouse, the free from arm of Warburtons, have been really innovating when it comes to their free from product selection. I was given a packet of their gluten free crumpets to try. When I was eating wheat and gluten, I wasn’t big fan of crumpets. I always thought they tasted a bit weird. The only way I would eat them was if they were very toasted. As such my expectations for free from crumpets were kind of low. On the Saturday of the show I was so hungry that I just needed a quick snack, the only thing I had available were these crumpets, so I thought, I’ll just eat one of these for now. I was quite surprised I liked them. I like them better than wheat flour crumpets! Pleasant spongey texture, mild flavour, reminded me of a think kind of pancake texture. I enjoyed them so much I had them toasted with me breakfast the next morning.
I am impressed by Genius. I like their bread and think it is some of the consistently better textured bread that has been on the supermarket shelves over the last few years. I interviewed Genius founder Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne on the podcast a few months. Hearing the story of Genius makes you realise that even though it’s one of the bigger companies it still has a similar story. For Lucinda her sons are her inspiration. When she found out her youngest was extremely intolerant to gluten, she got in the kitchen and started experimenting.
I didn’t get to try as much as I wanted of their new products, but what impressed me is that Lucinda’s staff understood cross contamination risks. They knew about the allergens on their stand, unlike some others I had visited. I was offered some of their blueberry muffin to try. So as a good allergy kid, I asked about whether they had nuts in or not and if they had been cut in the same place as the nut containing biscuits being sampled. I was very pleased that immediately I was told, no. The biscuits were cut up at the front in their own special area and the muffins where chopped in the back kitchen with separate knives and boards. No hesitation, and this made me feel a lot better, both about the company and about trying the product. The blueberry muffin was also very yummy, light texture and not too sweet.