Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Celiac Awareness Tour Recap

The two-year-old Celiac Awareness Tour came to town on Saturday, greeting hundreds of gluten-free guests at the Crowne Plaza hotel in King of Prussia. This was the first-ever East Coast stop for the event, which will visit Midwestern cities throughout 2012.

About two dozen vendors, both local and national, sampled their wares for the hungry crowd. Manayunk's The Tomato Bistro was the featured restaurant, with Chef Christian Gatti showcasing his cooking skills by preparing gourmet gluten-free pizza for the rapt audience. (The restaurant will soon have the NFCA's GREAT Kitchens designation.)

Attendees were able to eat lotsa pasta, with fried ravioli from Philadelphia Gluten Free Ravioli Pasta Company, gnocchi from Conte's, and lasagna from Caesar's. (How lucky we are to have three locally based gluten-free pasta companies.)

I got to try a number of items for the first time, including Taza stone-ground organic chocolates, Rudi's new gluten-free tortilla wraps, Glutino's cinnamon-and-sugar bagel chips, and Udi's soft snickerdoodle cookies. Perhaps the biggest treat was the debut of Sweet Megan's onto the gluten free scene. Delicious sugar cookies and chocolate-covered banana cake pops were some of the many treats owner Pattie Lerner shared.

The Tour representatives are looking to return to the area next year. If I had one suggestion to make for future tour events, it would be to add a vendor who offers non-alcoholic beverages. Many attendees were thirsty after eating the savory samples and, short of buying water or soda from the hotel vending machine or quaffing hard cider or beer at an early hour, there were no soft drinks available.
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  1. I agree with your point about the lack of beverages, but I'd add not only something to drink but something solid to eat! I expected that an event like this one, I'd be able to buy lunch in addition to tasting snacks. The organizer could have worked with the hotel to add/modify something in their restaurant for a "Celiac Awareness Special Menu of the Day" and make it a tie-in with the products from the vendors. Or maybe caterers who offer GF meals could have set up booths with box lunches for sale.

  2. I attended the event with my two sons who are 10 & 12. We had a very nice day. I do have to agree with the lack of beverages. I am glad we went, and we are looking forward to attending next year.

  3. I was very disappointed with this event. No drink, very few samples and givaways. No solid meal tasting. Have been to a few events that were by far better and free.

  4. I enjoyed the event and am looking forward to attending again in the future as it grows. I'm dairy free so didn't get to sample a lot of those amazing ravioli's and cheeses but was blow away by Daiya's new 'cheese' wedges. Can't wait until I can find Rudi's new wraps either!

  5. I really liked glutinos apple cinnamon chips sample and the allergy free/gluten free chicken nuggets!The beer sample was also really good but the best sample and buy for me was those cinnamon rolls from posh pop bakery (i think i spelt it right)! My son has never had cinnamon rolls and it was such a treat for him really delicious!