Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Heavy Medals

This year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver saw a record number of entries in the gluten-free beer category, with two first-time medal winners and a locally produced brew topping the list.

Though the world’s largest commercial beer competition in the world is now in its 38th year, the Gluten-Free Beer category was added only in 2007, when there were only eight entries. For the 2019 event, 59 gluten-free beers were considered by the judging panel. Here are the three award winners:

Gold: Holidaily Brewing Co. (Golden, Colorado): Boombastic Hazy IPA (7% ABV)

When most beer aficionados think of Golden, Colorado, they think of Coors. But unlike that behemoth, all of Holidaily's craft beers are gluten free. We profiled the brewery in 2016, sharing the story of founder Karen Hertz and her passion for brewing accessible gluten-free beer styles. Boombastic Hazy IPA is a hop-forward and juicy India pale ale available on tap at the brewery's taproom.

Silver: Revelation Craft Brewing Co. (Rehoboth Beach, Delaware): Co-Conspirator Apricot Sour (5.4% ABV)

Delaware may be famous being the home of Dogfish Head, but Revelation is making its mark in the First State.

Originally a collaboration beer with Ghostfish Brewing Company, Co-Conspirator Apricot Sour is brewed with buckwheat, millet, biscuit rice and flaked quinoa, with probiotic coconut water and fresh apricot purée added to enhance the flavor. Co-Conspirator has a smooth, honey-like malt character, a bright sourness, and a hint of fruity hop aroma from Palisade hops. Revelation won a bronze medal for this variety at the 2017 GABF. Another gluten-free beer, Buckberry Sour, is currently on tap at the brewery in Rehoboth Beach.

Bronze: Evasion Brewing (McMinnville, Oregon): Grandpa's Nap (11.5% ABV)

Evasion is one of the growing number of dedicated gluten-free breweries in the Pacific Northwest. Part of the brewer's Mill & Barrel Series, Grandpa's Nap is a barrel-aged millet wine. According to the tasting notes, the El Dorado hops' candied strawberry character compliments the toasted coconut and vanilla qualities the barrels impart.

The festival’s Gluten-Free Beer category includes only beers made from fermentable sugars, grains and converted carbohydrates. Gluten-reduced beers are not considered part of this grouping because their gluten levels – derived from malted barley – have been reduced by enzymes or other processes.

Friday, September 20, 2019

News & Notes: September 20, 2019

My/Mo has launched two new limited-edition mochi ice cream flavor launches for the fall. Pumpkin Spice is made with creamy pumpkin spice ice cream infused with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove spices wrapped in a pillowy rice flour dough exterior, while Apple Pie á la Mode wraps the dough around a scoop of premium vanilla ice cream hugging a cinnamon apple center. Both varieties are available at Target, among other retailers.

RXBAR is entering the hot cereal category with the launch of new RX A.M. Oats. RX A.M. Oats are made with the same core ingredients found in RXBAR and RX Nut Butter products - egg whites, fruits and nuts - with the addition of gluten-free oats. RX A.M. Oats are available in three flavors: Maple, Apple Cinnamon and Chocolate. Consumers can prepare the single-serve cups in one of three ways: with hot water, in the microwave or as overnight oats.

Simple Mills' certified gluten-free Soft Baked Almond Flour Bars will be available this fall in Dark Chocolate Almond, Chunky Peanut Butter, Nutty Banana Bread and Spiced Carrot Cake varieties. The bars have a soft-baked texture with chunks of almonds, coconuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, carrots, bananas and raisins. The line will be sold at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Amazon and other grocers.

Veggies Made Great by Garden Lites has added two Veggie Cakes varieties and three new Frittatas. The Superfood Veggie Cake now comes in Butternut Squash and Broccoli Cheddar, and the Frittatas in Spinach Egg White, Veggie Bacon & Potato, and Mushroom & 3 Cheese Egg White.

The primary ingredient in the new Crunchmaster Grain-Free Crackers is cassava, a root vegetable native to South America. Also known as yucca or manioc, cassava is paleo and vegan friendly as well as gluten and nut free. The line features three flavors: Lightly Salted, Mediterranean Herb, and Romano, Asiago & Cheddar.

Brewery Ommegang announced the introduction of Project Cider, a new initiative intended to explore the intersection of European and American cider traditions. The line debuts with two varieties: Dry and Rosé. The ciders will be offered year-round on draft and in 4-packs of 12 oz. cans.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Clean and Green

South Jersey-based chef Nicole LaTorre founded the Eat Clean Organization to fulfill a need for healthy, gluten free and organic meal options in the region. Now, she's expanding her meal-prep concept to Philadelphia and the suburbs.

Though Eat Clean Org, Nicole offers a rotating menu (over 50 meals options a week) to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, salads and dessert. She cooks with all organic meats, wild caught fish, organic and local produce whenever possible. Pre-orders are placed online, with deliveries on Mondays and Fridays. (Read "How It Works.")

All meals are prepared by ServSafe-certified chefs in a dedicated gluten-free commercial kitchen, ensuring safety and no cross contamination. Meals are available in four different sizes:

Classic Meal: 4 oz. protein, 1 cup vegetables, 1/4 cup carbohydrates
Lean Meal: 6 oz. protein, 1 1/2 cup vegetables, 1/2 cup carbohydrates
Athlete's Meal: 8 oz. protein, 1 cup vegetables, 1 cup carbohydrates
Family Size: protein, vegetables, carb and sauce on the side, enough for 4 (served in half-tray catering pans)

Eat Clean Org has just started home and office delivery all over Philadelphia, Ambler, Penn Valley and the surrounding areas ($20 delivery fee) and is looking to partner with gyms and wellness centers for pick-up orders. (Contact Nicole here with suggestions.)

In addition to 17 pick-up spots in South Jersey, Eat Clean Org also delivers to Garden State towns like Absecon, Galloway, Egg Harbor City, Smithville, Port Republic, Somers Point, Northfield, Linwood, Egg Harbor Township, Brigantine, Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate City, Ocean City, Hammonton, Marmora, Stone Harbor, Avalon, Cape May Court House, Sea Isle City, Oceanview, Beasley's Point, Mays Landing, Vineland, Cherry Hill, Voorhees and Tuckerton ($5 delivery fee).

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Celebrate the Arts with Beyond Celiac

Join Beyond Celiac at a gala event on Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Kimmel Center featuring the Philadelphia debut of acclaimed operatic tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz.

Highlights of this special evening will include a completely gluten-free cocktail reception and seated dinner by Garces Events in the Kimmel Center’s Hamilton Garden followed by a solo concert by Arturo in the Kimmel’s Perelman Theater.

Funds raised through this special event will benefit the organization's efforts to advance research for Celiac Disease, including the funding of grants to scientists focused on unlocking the secrets of this serious genetic autoimmune disorder.

Beyond Celiac has partnered with Chacón-Cruz to raise awareness of this serious genetic autoimmune condition and to generate support for research for treatments and a cure. Arturo, his son and his mother have all been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. And in pursuit of a brighter future for his family – and everyone dealing with this serious autoimmune disease – he has signed on to be the official spokesman of Beyond Celiac.

Arturo is featured in a video describing the challenges of living with Celiac Disease and his decision to support Beyond Celiac.

A native of Sonora, Mexico, Chacón-Cruz has performed over 50 roles – such as Cavaradossi in Tosca – in theaters across the globe, from La Scala in Milan to Carnegie Hall in New York. An acclaimed performer, Arturo has a wide repertoire and has won a number of honors and awards. He shares a long and important relationship with two of the reigning opera singers of the day, Plácido Domingo and Ramón Vargas. Since discovering Chacón-Cruz in 2000, Plácido Domingo has remained his friend and mentor, and the two have shared the operatic stage and concert platform many times.

The dinner begins at 6 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets for the concert and the concert/dinner package are now available. 

Friday, August 9, 2019

News & Notes: August 9, 2019

If you follow Gluten Free Philly on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you know that Philly's own Wawa convenience store chain is testing two new gluten-free products: a Canadian bacon, egg & cheese muffin and a turkey & cheese hoagie. The test, which runs through September 1, is being conducted at six Pennsylvania locations:
  • 1195 Pottstown Pike, West Chester
  • 1501 West Chester Pike, West Chester
  • 1010 West Chester Pike, West Chester
  • 3604 Chestnut St., Philadelphia
  • 1190 Market St., Philadelphia
  • 150 S. Independence Mall W., Philadelphia
The products are made by a third party in a certified gluten-free facility. It comes in to stores frozen and individually bagged. Wawa associates heat it up directly in the bag.without opening it (similar to Starbucks' protocol for warming the now-discontinued gluten-free breakfast sandwich). Associates are also instructed that if the customer asks for any additional condiments on the side, they need to communicate that there will be cross contamination and they cannot eliminate the risk that gluten will be present. There are no further plans now for expanding or continuing the test, but the company's Product Development team will regroup after the test is complete to discuss next steps.

So how do they taste? From the comments to my recent social media posts, the breakfast sandwich seems to be the better of the two options, a sentiment shared by our contributor Sara, who took the pictures above. In particular, the hoagie that's served was not as appetizing as it appears in the promotional photo. One the plus side, she thought the price point ($4-$5) was reasonable.

At South Philly Barbacoa in the Italian Market (1140 S. 9th St., 215-360-5282), all menu options except for the apple cake are gluten free.

Reader Laura S. let me know that the Salty Mermaid Bar & Grille in North Wildwood (2507 Delaware Ave., 609-600-6125) preps gluten-free chicken tenders and fries in a dedicated fryer, and also offers flatbreads, pasta, burger buns and Redbridge beer.

Baltimore Gluten Free posted about her recent Jersey Shore vacation, and mentioned two new-to-me options. Pure Juice + Kitchen in Stone Harbor (9821 3rd Ave., 609-741-7226) has smoothies, juices, bowls, avocado and nut butter toasts. Eat Clean Org is a gluten-free meal prep company that has pick-up locations at, and delivery to, many shore points. The menu changes weekly.

Brigantine Bistro (3015 Brigantine Blvd., 609-264-5050) has gluten-free options for breakfast like omelets, pancakes and French toast as well as sandwiches at lunch. The kitchen uses a separate toaster and grill.

Calfornia Pizza Kitchen, which recently closed its Cherry Hill location but opened a location at Philadelphia International Airport (Concourse E), is offering take-and-bake certified-gluten-free cauliflower pizza at all non-airport outposts.

A new Red Lobster-branded gluten-free cheddar biscuit mix is now available at Walmart stores nationwide, though the product has been spotted at other markets such as Wegmans.

Wegmans has changed over its store-branded gluten-free pizzas from a rice flour crust to a cauliflower crust. All are priced less than $7.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the always updated Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices, find more than 1,700 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!