I love to discover delicious tasting gluten free and allergy friendly foods at the various expos where I’ve been a guest speaker throughout the US and around the world. I also think it’s great to see the surprised look on the faces of my family and friends when they taste these products and then find out that they are not made with gluten, dairy, soy and other allergens!
Yes we have come a long, long way since the early days when bread weighed almost as much as a brick! So, after checking out the 200-plus vendors at the Chicago GF AF Expo, here are my top 10 picks from the show:
- Sevierly Good Gluten-Free: Dedicated to using certified organic, local and non-gmo materials, they offer delicious tasting gluten free baked goods. Certified gluten free, organic and Kosher, all mixes are free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, beans and corn. Their cinnamon rolls are truly amazing and remind me of my Mom’s! They also make delicious mixes for brownies, cakes, pizza crusts, pancakes and more!
- Bezgluten: They provide an array of great tasting, high quality gluten free products which have won multiple food awards in Europe. They offer pastas, flours, cake mixes, cookies, sauces, bread mixes and breakfast cereals to name a few. The Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Delights are a great cereal for kids with a creamy inside which I unfortunately can’t eat since it contains milk. They are similar to Chex Mix but with a chocolatey flavor explosion!
- KiKi’s Gluten Free Foods: They make gluten free KikiPockets (traditional hand-held pies with sweet and savory fillings) and KikiCakes (some of our favorite sweets!). But at the expo, they debuted their deep dish pizzas which were outstanding! Being from Chicago, deep dish pizza is something I have missed since I was diagnosed. They are now selling Cheese, Italian Sausage and a Vegan/Dairy Free pizza option! All products are made in gluten-free facilities or tested at 20 parts per million. They are made with non-GMO flour, organic butter, organic eggs, Greek extra-virgin olive oil and real Greek Feta cheese.
- Tallgrass Beef Company: Tallgrass prides themselves on their meats which are all natural with no growth hormones, non-GMO and all animals are humanly raised. Their hot dogs and sausages are gluten free, have no nitrites, nitrates, artificial colors or preservatives and are lower in fat than regular hot dogs/smoked sausages. And most importantly, they taste great!!
- Pamela’s: Known for their delicious, gluten free foods, my team tasted the new strawberry flavored Figgies & Jammies bar which was soft, tasty and filling! I could not try it unfortunately because it contains dairy but all their fig bars are gluten free, egg free, have no artificial flavors or additives, no hydrogenated oils or trans fats, no corn syrup, low in sodium, no cholesterol, certified gluten-free by GFCO and made in their dedicated gluten-free and Kosher Certified facility.
- Leo’s Gluten Free Pasta: Provides authentic, wholesome and tasty pastas that are allergen friendly because they use NO peanuts, tree nuts, corn, wheat, rye or barley on the premises. They have 8 frozen pasta varieties that are produced in a state of the art, 100% dedicated gluten free facility certified by the GFCO. Highly recommended for your next Italian dinner night!
- Bumbalooza: They use all-natural ingredients, as many whole grains as possible and less-fined sugars. The mixes have been hand-crafted with care in dedicated equipment with four levels of gluten-free safety built-in. They are also completely nut-free, with the exception of coconut which the FDA classifies as a nut. Most of Bumbalooza mixes do not contain dairy ingredients (with the exception of the Cookies & Cream Cake Mix) or soy-based ingredients (with the exception of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and Gooey Oatmeal Bar Mix).
- Pascha Organic Dark Chocolate: They make pure chocolate without any allergenic ingredients which is manufactured in a facility free from all eight major food allergens and certified USDA Organic, Vegan, Kosher and Fair Trade. They offer 8 types of chocolate bars as well as 3 flavors of chocolate chips which are great for baking. All of their bars and chips are free from peanuts, nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, fish, wheat, gluten, mustard, sesame and sulfites. These products contain no additives or artificial sweeteners and are non-GMO project verified. This is my go-to when I need a chocolate fix!
- Beau K Catering: Specializing in allergen-free cooking, they offer personal and private chef services including in home dining, a meal delivery service and catering for any special event within the Chicagoland area. They are passionate about gluten, dairy and soy free meal services for people with allergies, sensitivities, or folks who need or want to make a change in their eating habits.
- Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery: As a dedicated gluten-free bakery, they offer dairy and other allergen-free options including breads, muffins, coffee cakes, cookies, cupcakes, custom cakes and pies. They also make savory products such as pizzas, quiches and mozzarella sticks.
I hope you enjoy all of these gluten free and allergy friendly foods as much as I do!