Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2015 Expo East Recap

Last's year's hot food, kale, is this year's jackfruit, At least that's what I gathered from canvassing the products at the annual Expo East natural-foods show in Baltimore earlier this month. The show features new and trendy gourmet, natural and gluten-free products from across North America whose manufacturers are seeking wider distribution in supermarkets and grocery stores.

Fortunately I burned off as many calories as I consumed in walking the show floor. In no particular order, here are some of the notable gluten-free products I spotted at this year's event (not all items are currently available in area stores):

Cheeseburger bites from GeeFree Foods: These hors d'oeuvres join the company's pastry dough and other bite-size snacks like pigs in blankets. The cheeseburger bites will reach stores this fall.

Cannoli shells from Russo's Gluten Free Gourmet: The shells are made with rice flour and corn starch and have a flaky, crunchy texture. This item is currently available for online ordering through the company's website but will be reaching wider distribution.

Friday, September 25, 2015

News & Notes: September 25, 2015

La Brea Bakery recently added two gluten-free sandwich breads - fresh, not frozen - to its product line. Its Gluten Free Sliced Multigrain Sandwich Bread has a nutty-tasting crust and a soft interior with notes of texture and flavor from flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and millet. The Gluten Free Sliced White Sandwich Bread has a thin crust and classic white bread flavor. The bread has 130 calories and 3 grams of fat per two slices. Both varieties are certified gluten-free by NSF International and are baked in a dedicated facility. The breads, which have a suggested retail price of $6.99 per loaf, will be available in the Philadelphia region at Acme Markets.

Angry Orchard this week announced the national release of its newest hard cider, Angry Orchard Stone Dry (5.5% ABV), the driest style in its core collection. According to the tasting notes, this new cider has a bright apple aroma, juicy flavor, and a clean, slightly puckering, dry finish. Stone Dry showcases an intricate balance between the sweetness and acidity of culinary apples and the tannins of traditional cider making apples. The cider makers chose specific apples to achieve this flavor profile, including French bittersweet apple varieties from Normandy, like Dabinett, Binet Rouge and Harry Masters Jersey.

CVS stores in the Philadelphia area have begun carrying Promise Gluten Free snack bars. The Chocolate & Marshmallow Biscuit Bar and the Yogurt, Fruit & Nut Bar come three to a package and are certified gluten free.

Trader Joe's is now stocking its seasonal Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix and has added a new Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Baking Mix.

Slice It Up Pizza in Havertown (925 E. Darby Rd., 610-924-9200) now offers gluten-free pizza and has a dedicated fryer for wings and fries. The kitchen also has gluten-free hamburger rolls for cheesesteaks and burgers. (Thanks Debbie G.)

Friday, September 11, 2015

News & Notes: September 11, 2015

Though General Mills has discontinued its Chex gluten-free oatmeal line, another food company stands ready to fill the void. Quaker Oats will have its own Select Start gluten-free oatmeal products on shelves beginning this fall. Though details have not been formally announced, customers can look for quick one-minute oats sold in canisters and at least one flavored instant oatmeal variety (Maple & Brown Sugar).

Bob's Red Mill is launching a line of gluten-free oatmeal cups. The meals feature a blend of three different oats as well as flax and chia seeds. There will b e four varieties: Apple Cinnamon, Brown Sugar & Maple, Blueberry Hazelnut and Classic.

Speaking of cups, each of Evol's new gluten-free microwaveable meal cups -12 in all - are made with antibiotic-free meats and are under 210 calories. There are Scramble, Veggie and Fajita Cups, all of which can be found at Target stores.

Look in the refrigerator case for new Hillshire Snacking grilled chicken bites. These come packaged with a variety of dipping sauces: Teriyaki, Spicy Chipotle Barbeque, Honey Mustard and Mango Habanero.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

That's the Way

As strong as our area gluten-free community is, one thing that's been missing is a gluten-free food pantry. Enter Heather Gannon. As she tells it at The Rachel Way website:
In 2013, my daughter Rachel became ill. After many doctors and tests with no answers, she was healed after eliminating gluten and dairy from her diet and continues to eat that way today.
After an unsuccessful and overwhelming trip to the grocery store, I enrolled in an integrative nutrition school and became a certified health coach to help other families deal with food sensitivities. Starting this non-profit food pantry is our way of giving back to our community.
The gluten-free and diary-free food pantry opens this Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Church on the Mall (Room 8) at the Plymouth Meeting Mall (500 W. Germantown Pike). Hours that day are from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., after the Strides for Safe Kids Food Allergy Walk & Expo. The pantry will also be open on Sept. 17 and 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In October, the pantry will be open on Oct. 3, 6, 17 and 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional opening hours will be posted at the website and on the pantry's Facebook page.

Donations can be made Mondays through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church office and during pantry hours. Accepted gluten-free food brands include Glutino, Udi's, Enjoy Life, Schar, Bob's Red Mill, Larabar and Chex cereals.

Friday, September 4, 2015

News & Notes: September 4, 2015

There's a mass-market replacement for the discontinued gluten-free Kellogg's Rice Krispies. Malt-O-Meal has reformulated its Crispy Rice cereal by removing barley malt from the ingredients so that it's now gluten free. Look for new packaging noting the gluten-free status, since there are still older versions still in markets. Other gluten-free Malt-O-Meal cereals include Fruity Dino-Bites and Cocoa Dino-Bites.

In other cereal news, Barbara's Bakery has produced a limited-edition, gluten-free Pumpkin Puffins cereal made with gluten-free oats.

Gluten-Free Living magazine reports that General Mills has discontinued gluten-free Chex instant oatmeal after launching the line a year ago. Disappointing sales are the reason behind the move. The decision does not affect gluten-free Chex Granola Mix.

Look for gluten-free Cream of Rice Instant To-Go Mixed Berry Hot Cereal making its way to markets.

Kriti Sehgal, the owner of Pure Fare and Agno Grill in Philadelphia, is aiming to launch her as-yet-unnamed Asian concept the week of Sept. 15 next to Pure Fare in Rittenhouse Square (119 S. 21st St.) the week of September 15. Like its siblings, the menu at this takeout-only shop will be entirely gluten free and will feature street-food fare.

A Latin-influenced vegan restaurant, Bar Bombón (133 S. 18th St., 267-606-6612) debuted last week in Rittenhouse Square. The arepas, all of the tacos, and most of the sides are gluten free. Note that the kitchen's fryer is used to prepare non-gluten-free items.

The grand opening for the newest Seasons Pizza location in Wayne, Pennsylvania (369 W. Lancaster Ave., 610-687-3100) is slated for Sept. 8. Gluten-free pizza is available at all outlets.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Eagles' Nest

With the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies once again failing to making the playoffs this year, Philly sports fans are hanging their hopes on the Eagles to end the drought. For the Birds, the 2015 NFL season kicks off on Sept. 14 with a Monday Night Football clash in Atlanta. The season's first regular-season home game is the following Sunday, Sept. 20, against the division rival Dallas Cowboys.

Gluten-free options will once again be available at the home of the Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field. Stand-alone carts offering exclusively gluten-free concessions, located at Sections 120 and 216, will have hot dogs, sausages, buffalo falafel (which is vegan), beer, cookies and brownies.