Earlier this fall, the Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo finally arrived here in New Jersey. For the past three years, this event continually attracted families from as far as Delaware, West Virginia and even upstate New York to the Garden State (my hometown).
I’ve been very fortunate to have attended this expo since 2013 and I have to say, each year is always filled with not just samples and coupons but memories as well.
For this year, I’m so happy to see some familiar faces again.
My first stop was the Freedom Foods booth. Yup! I was there a few minutes before the doors opened to the public at 10 am. Not only was I able to chat again with them and taste their soon to be released products like Fruity Rainbow Rocks (Fruit flavored cereal flakes) and All Round Goodness (Maple flavored Tire shaped cereal), I also did some serious cereal and Smudge (Top 8 allergen free Cocoa Spread) shopping. Lesson learned from last year’s GFAFExpo, Freedom Food cereals which are sold at discount prices always ran out. So, I made sure to be the first shopper!
It’s great to see my Japanese friends from Bears Gluten Free mixes again. This time, they had a nice sampling of freshly baked mini donuts and pancakes. Also, they now sell their rice flour based gluten free mixes here in the US.
There will be new Bears products that will be launched soon. Yup! It’s killing me not to say anything about it. In the mean time, let’s just hope they’ll wear the Kimono again next year.
Of course, the Expo will not be complete without our very own, Jersey’s GF Artisan Bread Man. Luce’s GF Bread Mixes, which are super easy and foul proof – add water, mix, but in the bag and bake, are always a crowd favorite.
I think they sold out again this year. Do you know why?
Enjoy Life Foods! Do I need to say more? Not only are their products allergy friendly, their people are super nice as well. Samples? They’ll keep you fed the whole weekend. Plus they’re very generous handing out those highly coveted coupons. Say Plentils!
Aside from seeing old friends, one of the best things I loved about the GFAFExpo is the opportunity to meet new ones.
Just like these fellow NJ locals from Bam Bam Broth. For those of you us who enjoy the taste and benefits of bone broth, Bam Bam Broth made it readily available without the hassle. Yup! That’s broth inside the thermos.
It was so nice to finally met my Instragram buddy from Sweet Notes Bagels! Just like “penpals” in the olden days (I confess, I was from that generation), there’s something special about meeting the person behind the comments and tweets. Plus, you can’t go wrong when there’s food involved.
Anyway, I’ve been a following @eatbanza in social media and was really hoping to finally get their products here in NJ. Recently, my wish was granted. (Banza products are now available in several big stores.) Seeing the brand at the GFAFExpo was also an added bonus. Have you tried Banza GF Pasta yet? You should!
They say New York and New Jersey has nothing in common. You know what? We might disagree about several things but it comes to food, we are in it together. Thanks My Dad’s Cookies for reminding me that it’s perfectly fine to have cookies for breakfast. I have to say, it is hard to stay away from your booth.
One of the biggest surprises I had at the GFAFExpo is Jennifer Esposito of Jennifer’s Way. I know her company will be there but seeing “her” actually working in the booth is really an eye opener. After chatting with her, I’ve seen more than just a brand. Her passion and commitment to celiac disease and food allergy friendly lifestyle is really remarkable.
As promised, I’ll bring Child#2 and Child#3 to your bakery so that they can get a chance to actually be in store and pick what they like. Thanks for providing a food allergy friendly space.
Speaking for thank you, here’s a big shout out to Massel for being this year’s GFAFExpo Blogger Sponsor. Massel’s Bouillon and Seasoning has made cooking tasty meals much easier for this food allergy mom.
Where have you been all these years?
Last but definitely not the least, I want to say thank you to Three Bakers. You’ve made this year’s GFAFExpo more meaningful because I was able to go beyond writing and personally interact with fellow gluten free and food allergy people. I learned so much not only from parents but from children, grandparents, aunts and even friends of those with celiac disease and food allergies.
There you have it TFM Friends – my story about GFAFExpo in New Jersey 2015. As usual, I can’t wait for next year’s.
Where you able to attend the GFAFExpo? I would love to hear from you.
Missed it? Then it’s time to plan for 2016.
Oh, before I forget, I was thinking of you all during the event. Really? That’s why you have to stay tuned. I’ll be sharing some of my loot really soon.