Friday, September 29, 2017

Expo East 2017 Recap

What do seaweed, vinegar and beets have in common? Products featuring those ingredients were among those trending at the annual Expo East natural-foods show in Baltimore earlier this month. The show features new and emerging gourmet, natural and gluten-free products from across North America whose manufacturers are seeking wider distribution in supermarkets and grocery stores.

This year's show was larger than ever, with more than 1,500 exhibiting brands and more than 450 first-time vendors. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights among gluten-free products at this year's event (not all items are currently available in area stores):

Mikaela's Simply Divine Biscotti Cookies: These are more "cookie" than "biscotti," given that they're light and crunchy. The all-natural, certified-gluten-free cookies come in five flavors: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mint, Luscious Lemon and new Butterscotch Toffee Pecan and Chocolate Brownie, . They'll soon be available in bite-size portioned pouches in addition to the currently available boxes and single-serve versions. Mikaela's cookies can be purchased via the company's Facebook page and are also available at markets in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and in northern New Jersey and New York.

Otto's Cassava Flour: This paleo flour, made with Brazilian yucca root, can be used as a one-to-one substitute for traditional wheat flour. We were impressed with the taste of sample chocolate chip cookies made with Otto's. The flour can be found locally at Whole Foods and Wegmans, and online at Amazon and through the company's e-store.

Unreal chocolate candies: This upstart natural candy company has obtained GFCO certification for its dark chocolate peanut butter cups, crispy dark chocolate peanut butter cups (made with quinoa bits) and dark chocolate almond butter cups. All ingredients are fair trade and sustainable. Unreal's candies are sold at Whole Food, Target and other stores, and look for a special holiday-themed 20-treat-pack of the cup varieties.

The Good Crisp: With a cleaner (and shorter) ingredient list than Lay's Stax, The Good Crisp stacked potato crisps come in three varieties: Original, Sour Cream & Onion and BBQ. The crisps have no artificial colors or flavors and are made with sustainable palm oil. The Good Crisp products can be found at Wegmans and other markets throughout the Northeast, Midwest and Western U.S.

Ethel's Baking Co.: This Michigan-based gluten-free bakery produces delectable, buttery brownies, blondies and shortcake-topped "dandy" bars. All of the them were great, though our favorite was the raspberry dandy. The entire line can be ordered through the company's website or via Amazon (which has either $10.00 flat-rate shipping or free shipping depending on the amount ordered).

The Soulfull Project: The Camden-based, Campbell Soup-backed The Soulfull Project will be introducing gluten-free hot cereals in single-serving-size packets early next year. For every serving of The Soulfull Project’s hot cereal purchased, the company donates a serving to a regional food bank. The flavors will include Hearty Grains & Seeds, Cinnamon Spice Multigrain and Irish Oatmeal. Currently, the gluten-free Hearty Grains & Seeds (14 oz. pouch) and Brown Sugar Pecan Multigrain cups are sold at Wegmans and through the company's website.

Other news from the expo: The Toasted Oat Bakehouse has changed the packaging for its soft gluten-free granola, switching from canisters to pouches; it can be found at Wegmans . . . Mi-Del will have limited-edition gluten-free Maple Ginger Creme cookies available for the winter holidays . . . Lundberg Family Farms was sampling its new line of gluten-free arancini (rice balls); the gouda & mozzarella ones were a hit . . . Smart Flour Foods sampled its new pizza snack bites, and they're worth waiting for . . . Camden County's Caesars Pasta has refreshed the look of its gluten-free pasta meals like lasagna, ravioli and gnocchi and brought them under the Gluten-Free Gourmet line  . . . Goodie Girl teased its new Caramel Apple cookies made with crunchy toffee and dried apple bits . . . Barbara's Bakery is adding a new gluten-free protein-focused Puffins cereal, Berry Burst; look for the Pumpkin variety to return this fall.

Disclosure: I receive a commission from purchases made through the Amazon affiliate link in this post. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

You Say You Want a Revolution

Whether or not you dunk your donuts, there's a new option for the sweet treats in the Philadelphia area. After much planning - including a change in location - Donut Revolution just opened for business in Barrington, New Jersey (131 Clements Bridge Rd., 856-546-0900).

Owner Tiffany Pesyna has set up shop a stone's throw off of Exit 29 of Route I-295 in Camden County, serving fresh "made without gluten" cake donuts alongside traditional ones. Pesyna explained that she doesn't call them "gluten free" only because she makes donuts with wheat flour in the same facility. However, she makes the without-gluten donuts first thing in the morning using a dedicated fryer and maintains a separate topping/dipping bar. When gluten-free customers order their made-to-order donuts, the staff washes their hands and changes their gloves before preparing them.

Customers can combine their favorite dips, toppings and drizzles: we preferred the vanilla over chocolate, but there's also coffee, rum and a daring sriracha chocolate dip. Toppings include M&Ms, Fruity Pebbles, chocolate chips, marshmallows and bacon, but if you want to "go naked" the plain donut was delicious on its own. Pesyna uses Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour as part of her recipe.

Prices for these gourmet donuts are reasonable: $1.75 for one; $7 for a four-pack; and $19 per dozen.

Friday, September 8, 2017

News & Notes: September 8, 2017

New Jersey-based GeeFree Foods has launched a line of gluten-free, all-natural microwavable sandwich pockets in three varieties: Sausage, Egg and Cheese; Buffalo Chicken; and Cheese Pizza. The pockets are made of GeeFree's signature gluten-free puff pastry dough also used for the company's franks in blankets and chicken pot pie. The sandwiches come two per box (suggested retail price of $6.99 per box) and are free of antibiotics, hormones, nitrates, corn and soy. The products will be in stores in the latter part of the fall.

Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders has kicked off the autumn apple season with Artisanal Blend. The new flavor is made with heirloom cider apple varieties and is available in 6-pack bottles, variety 12-pack, variety 24-pack, and limited-edition mini-can 4-packs. Meanwhile, Woodchuck has brought back its Fall Harvest Seasonal Cider, flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and American white oak.

Route 20 IPA, a single-hop India Pale Ale, returns at Oregon's Ground Breaker Brewing. Named after the longest continuous road in the United States, this gluten-free IPA clocks in at 50 IBU and 6% alcohol by volume. The beer was designed to get all of its bittering, flavor and aroma from late additions of Santiam hops, which carry hints of peppery spice. Ground Breaker beers, including Route 20 IPA, can be shipped to addresses in Delaware, New Jersey (but not Pennsylvania) and other states through Bring On the Beer.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Beyond Celiac Launches Digital Community

Beyond Celiac, the national non-profit celiac-advocacy organization based in the Philadelphia suburbs, today announces the launch of Go Beyond Celiac, a digital community that will enable the group to accelerate treatment options by engaging people with celiac disease, creating an online portal to curated qualitative data about the experience of living with celiac disease, the path to diagnosis and disease management.

Go Beyond Celiac is designed to make it easier for people with celiac disease to share their stories at a population level with researchers and participate in research, including clinical trials. "Each person's experience of celiac disease is unique, from the symptoms a person has before diagnosis to how the disease responds to the gluten-free diet. A rich dataset of patients' journeys would help researchers focus on the important questions whose answers could ultimately improve the lives of those with the disease," notes Jake Hughey, Ph.D., a researcher at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who has celiac disease himself.

Go Beyond Celiac will capture patient data, including:
  • Experiences before, during and after diagnosis
  • Past and current symptoms
  • Psychosocial and economic impacts of living with celiac disease
The program also provides personalized interaction between community members and creates opportunities for dialog to identify unmet needs and opportunities for improved diagnoses, treatments, and to help our community live life to the fullest.

Go Beyond Celiac will also include a secure, one-of-a-kind celiac disease registry that will keep the community up to date on the latest in medical research and available clinical trials for which they qualify and in which they may wish to participate. In addition, the Go Beyond Celiac registry will be used to assist researchers in pre-screening and recruiting potential participants, reducing a barrier to successful research, accelerating opportunities to improve diagnosis rates, and helping people with celiac disease cope with this serious genetic autoimmune disorder.

Interested participants can get more information at the Go Beyond Celiac portal, which includes a FAQ section. Participant information is private and secure; Beyond Celiac has technology and processes in place to keep participant information private and secure. Before any information is shared with researchers, any information that identifies individuals is removed (like name and email address, for example).

Friday, September 1, 2017

News & Notes: September 1, 2017

Glutino has introduced Milano-like fudge and mint fudge Italian creme cookies as well as a version of graham crackers. Glutino parent Boulder Brands is offering shoppers a $7 rewards e-card when purchasing three Udi's, Glutino, evol, Gardein or Earth Balance products at one time. The rebate can be submitted up to three times per person through October 15.

Goodie Girl Cookies' new gluten-free fudge striped cookies are now available exclusively at Walmart. A 75-cents-off coupon is available at the company's website.

Schar's two newest crackers sold in the United States are sea salt snacker thins and European-made Italian crostini.

In addition to no added sugar, KIND's new Fruit Bites do not contain any juices, purees, concentrates, preservatives or genetically engineered ingredients. Each snack has three ingredients or less and is made with real fruit, like cherries, apples and mangoes. The suggested retail price is $4.99 per five-pack box.

In time for the fall, Whole Foods has debuted gluten-free pumpkin spice bites, pumpkin pie spiced apple-filled snacks.