This past weekend I attended the largest gluten-free, allergy & specialty diet festival in the country. The Nourished festival is easily one of the greatest events for those living a gluten-free, allergen-friendly or specialty diet lifestyle. I had so much fun learning, tasting, and talking with other food allergy sufferers.
In total, the Nourished Festival travels to ten cities per year, with Seattle, WA, Secaucus, NJ, and San Mateo, CA being their final stops this year. At Nourished I sampled and purchase new products, met brand ambassadors, and made new friends. In this blog post I highlight some of my favorite finds, as well as a couple gluten-free festival “know before you go’s”.
The Nourished Festival is the largest and fastest growing gluten-free festival in the US. Started in 2007, the events are professionally managed and have expanded from one to eight cities throughout the United States. In addition to meeting the needs of the Celiac community, the Expo welcomes those with gluten sensitivities, auto-immune/inflammatory diseases and autism. I personally believe that this festival is the perfect event for those who suffer from food allergies or live a specialty diet lifestyle.
As an official blogger I gained early access to the gluten-free festival. Allowing me the opportunity to engage with the brands before the doors opened to the general public. During this period I quickly realized that my specific food allergies limited my ability to try a good amount of the vendor booths. That did not deter me though, I quickly made my way around to visit each booth in search of items that were wheat, dairy, egg and nut free.
After making my rounds and chatting with some vendors I learned that few of them had products for sale in major chain stores like Kroger or HEB. Most of them directed me to their online stores or Amazon to make purchases. Some vendors, I.e. the event sponsor Enjoy Life Foods, didn’t bring items to sale. Although their elaborate booth was only a display, they did offer free samples, informational handouts, and the opportunity to pre-order their Halloween mini vegan chocolates.
Product Highlights | A Few Faves From the Festival
As mentioned previously, Nourished is a gluten-free festival. Because I have restrictions outside of gluten-free, reading labels was very important. The Good Crisps Company offers a gluten-free canister chip the whole family can enjoy. The original flavor was the only option I consumed as the other two contained dairy. My daughter LOVES chips. Good Crisps all-natural ingredients allow her to safely enjoy them.
Bread is my weakness. It’s been so hard to find quality bread, that tastes good, and is also allergen free. During these last three months I have tried A LOT of gluten-free breads. Little Northern Bakehouse is easily my favorite certified gluten, egg and dairy free bread brand. I promise you can’t tell that you’re not eating Mrs. Baird’s! When I opened my blogger swag bag and saw that I’d received a free loaf of their Whole Grain Wide Slices bread my heart skipped a beat. Their millet & chia seed bread is in heavy rotation at my home.
If you’re a cookie monster then you have to get your hands on a box of HomeFree cookies. Homefree products are prepared with great care and made with allergy safety in mind. No peanuts, tree-nuts, eggs, wheat, dairy, soy (except lecithin), fish, shell fish, or sesame are permitted in there facility for any reason at any time. You certainly can’t say that about most manufacturing facilities.
Beekeeper’s Naturals specializes in organic bee related products. Their most recent new product rollout includes CBD Honey and B.LXR Brain Fuel. For all you jerky fans It’s Jerky Y’all has a plant-based jerky that I absolutely loved. It’s made with soybeans and comes in three yummy flavors: Prickly Pear, Prickly Pear Chipotle and Black Pepper.
88 Acres Seed Co. has a variety of allergy free seed butters and fruit and seed bars. Find ingredients like watermelon, flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, gluten free oats, cinnamon, mapple, blueberries, chocolate, ginger and cranberries in their tasty treats! These wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, treenut/peanut, corn and gluten free bars and butters top my snack list!
Know Before You Go
This gluten-free festival is more of an “expo” in my opinion. Regardless of what you call it, it’s not a food festival. Although it is a celebration of food, you won’t find chef operated booths serving hot food for purchase. There are no restaurants serving food. Only allergen friendly/ specialty diet brands offering samples, giveaways and some items for purchase.
Click here to learn more about this festival and get tickets. Hope to see you at next year’s gathering.