Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Fraser Valley Food Show, which took place October 4-6 at the Tradex in Abbotsford. This three-day event showcased all the amazing local food from the Fraser Valley. There was celebrity chef demonstrations, cooking and sausage-making competitions, cheese and wine seminars, samples from local businesses and restaurants and wine and beer tastings.
But I was there to see what was new in the gluten-free world. I spent a couple of hours wandering around and tasting all that the show had to offer, and here are my favourites:
Open more than a year, Cloud 9 is a destination, as it’s located in New Westminster. But it’s so, so worth the drive. Everything is gluten-free, and they also have vegan options, including pizza crusts and focaccia. This place will bring a tear to your gluten-free eyes, as here is the place where you can eat things you thought you’d never be able to eat again. I do a lot of gluten-free cooking but baking is the hardest. Many substitute flours, like rice, make your baking taste chalky and dry. Cloud 9 sells their own Gluten-free baking mix at the bakery, or through Costco, so you can bake again.
Oh, these are very, very good. Light and fluffy, they would make a great party appetizer. They are wheat free, sugar free, yeast free, Nut free, rice free, corn free, soy free, and potato free. They are made of manoic, which is a root similar to tapioca, but don’t be fooled–they are like little pillows of cheesy goodness.
My 10-year-old son used to be an incredibly picky eater. He’s gotten much more adventurous as he’s gotten older, but I used to really worry about him getting enough fruits and vegetables. I became a “sneaky mommy,” pureeing up vegetables and hiding them in his mac ‘n’ cheese. Well, Catherine Anderson has created “sneaky cookies,” delicious, gluten-free cookies, that hide a half a serving of vegetables inside. She currently sells two flavours, ginger snaps, and red velvet.
I am obsessed with macarons, and Carly Wintschel’s Salted Caramel version was a little bit of heaven. Macarons are naturally gluten, as they are made with almond flour. But they are notoriously fussy and difficult to make, in addition to taking a great deal of time. So it’s not something you’ll probably ever make at home, and is, in fact, something that I enjoy and savour immensely as a treat. Carly also makes a wonderful, incredibly moist Ginger Chocolate Cookie and an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.
One thing many gluten-free people miss the most is pizza. Let’s face it, it’s comfort food! A big slice of pizza, stringy with cheese… mmmm…. These ready-made pizza shells allow you to customize your pie with your favourite toppings. You could even add Daiya Cheese to make it vegan.
Ahh… pasta. Warm, comforting, filling pasta. Many gluten-free people miss it. Damiani Fine Foods, an Italian family importing deliciousness from that boot-shaped country, have recently started importing a rice-based organic pasta from California.
Last Christmas, a friend of mine, who hails from Maple Ridge, introduced me to this candy. It is to die for. It’s completely unique combination, unlike anything I’ve had before. It’s a dark chocolate and toffee layered together, and the combination of the richness of the chocolate and the buttery sweet crispness of the toffee is out of the world. I will happily drive to Aldergrove to get my fix, because it is completely worth it.
Gluten??? Who needs it when you have access to all this selection!