Last weekend, I attended the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in San Mateo CA. I was willing to pay the $30 to go ($20 for entry, $10 for parking, + gas to get there), because I knew from the last event I attended in September, that the freebies would be plenty. I wasn’t disappointed!
I went prepared this time, with a folding crate cart to hold my stash, so my hands didn’t get overly tired from holding bags for 3+ hours like last time. At Fort Mason, there were less than 20 booths in a smaller room, but the food demonstrations and information talks were right there, easy to hear and see. In San Mateo, it was huge and the classes/talks took place in a separate room outside the main expo hall. I heard there were over 100 booths at this event and I’m not surprised by that number; compared to my first expo, the size was impressive and the people you had to maneuver through was sometimes difficult. There were many more free edible samples, although the free take-home packaged samples were much less; in September, at the Fort Mason/San Francisco event ($10 + $8 parking), my friend, Julie, and I left with whole loaves of GF bread, cans of GF boullion dry mix, and deep discounted GF pastas. Except for the Sprouts Market booth at the San Mateo expo which at the end of the weekend was handing out cases of single-serving GF popcorn, most of the goodies were single serving only. Samples to eat there included bread, crackers, pasta, and snack bars, and were in abundance. My head was swimming trying to remember what I liked best, and I left with an overly filled stomach.
At the Katz booth, I found a piece of heaven! I haven’t had a donut since August when I went GF. I’ve seen the GF packages at Sprouts in the freezer section, but was not willing to pay the price when I wasn’t sure how I’d like them. Also unsure about having the package in my house to tempt me. So, when I saw samples of the cinnamon donuts, I grabbed a bite to taste. I stood there like a crazy person, actual tears in my eyes, savoring it! The 2 women manning the booth paid little attention to me until I moaned over how good it was. I grabbed another bite and walked away, embarrassed.
Later in the week, when I shopped at Sprouts, I went straight to the freezer section to check out the donuts, and there they were. I haven’t tried them yet, they are sitting in my freezer for the perfect morning treat. I’ll give a review later.
One of the highlights of the expo was seeing Amy Fothergill of The Family Chef again. I first met her in Fort Mason where she did a talk and where I purchased her cookbook, The Warm Kitchen . I had just looked through it the previous night to see if she had any tofu recipes, and found none. She assisted me and gave the page numbers for *7* recipes that I could make with tofu! Now I can use that 4-cube package I just bought at Costco! Amy even remembered my name!
The Expo was a great afternoon of gluten-free food and fun, and I look forward to the next time it’s local.