Monday 20 March 2017

Charlotte 2017 GFAF Event

Here’s a quick recap of the 10th annual Charlotte GFAF Event! There were lots of new (or at least, new-to-me) bakeries, brands, etc., both local and larger, in addition to plenty of familiar faces. 
My favorite new find of the day was Burtons Grill, a local restaurant in Charlotte - I got to try my first ever (!) crab cake, along with some crab soup and beet salad. All three components were tasty, but the crab cakes - which they were cooking fresh at the event - were amazing! This restaurant does serve gluten-full food as well, but they have an extensive GF menu and are able to accommodate sensitivities.

There were lots of cakes and other sweet treats to try, as usual. Corwin Cupcakery brought several creative cupcake flavors. Check out the fun one with pink frosting and sprinkles and a literal cherry on top! JP’s Pastry of Raleigh was sampling cream cheese brownies, brioche, and vegan peanut butter brownies. Also shown: Gigi’s Cupcakes, chocolate bundt cake from Namaste, and bundt cake from Abundtant Love bakery. 

Some other vendors and items included: Norm’s Farms elderberry & elderflower products; I'm a Celiac's t-shirts; veggie tacos from Loma; Healthy Home Market - a locally-owned grocer with four stores in the Charlotte area; Milton’s crackers and chips; Fruitfull frozen fruit bars; Tito’s vodka, which is made from corn; Ripple Creek kombucha juice blends; Mina’s baking blend; Open Season sweet potato butter; and Veggie Fries, one of my favorites from last year.  
Another interesting find: Meal-delivery service from The Good Kitchen. I was impressed by the ingredients and design of these meals: unlike the vast majority of packaged dinners, they don’t contain anything besides what you’d use cooking from scratch, and on the other hand they also do include good stuff you wouldn’t normally find in convenience foods, for instance the turnip mash and pickled onion in the sample shown above. All the ingredients are very “clean”/minimally processed, and all meats are pastured. Their facility is GF. Nearly all of their meals also happen to be grain-free, if that’s important to you. A meal program isn’t exactly within my budget, but if you’re in the market for one, this is definitely one worth considering.
As you might know, I take a lot of interest in the cultural aspects of living with dietary restrictions. As such, I’d also like to highlight some support organizations present at the event. First is Charlotte Celiac Connection, a large celiac support group, and their youth organization CYCLE (Celiac Youth of the Carolinas Life Enrichment). Next is PAK (Parents of Allergic Kids) and their youth counterpart ImPAKt. Both of these groups emphasize support and education for individuals and families, as well as creating opportunities for kids with dietary restrictions and other sensitivities to participate in normal social activities. Check out the groups’ pages for upcoming events if you’re in the Charlotte area.

And, of course, goodies! In my Blogger Bag I found a nice little gift pack from Healthy Home Market with some goji berries, fancy sea salt, and herbal tea, among other things; a cupcake from Corwin Cupcakery; a pasta dinner kit from Namaste; Neat egg replacement (made from just chickpeas and chia); a jar of Wowbutter (nut-free soy butter); elderberry juice from Norm’s Farms; a lot of Kind bars; and a gift card from Blue Apron (I do notice on their site they say they accommodate dietary “preferences” but “don’t recommend ordering if you have a serious food allergy,” so I’ll need to look into this one - do any of you have experience with ordering from them?) I also was generously given some additional products to try out from some of the vendors, including some intriguing-looking meat substitute mixes made of nuts and beans from Neat, and a variety of Milton’s chips and crackers. (I will be posting a review of Milton’s soon! I’ve never done an actual review before, but they asked if I would and I really do like these.) A big thank you to all vendors and sponsors!

The next event will be in Columbia, SC on April 29 - check it out if you are in the area!

As always, all these opinions and statements are completely my own; as an event blogger I received the above items provided by vendors and sponsors, but I was not otherwise compensated and I was not obligated to write about or feature any specific product(s) or vendor(s).

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