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.
Gluten-Free Pasta from Damiani Fine Foods
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!