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.)
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.