Sunday, March 22, 2015

NYC Vegetarian Food Festival

Oh how I love food festivals!

Last weekend, I made an impromptu visit to the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival after hearing about the many gluten free vendors. Now, as you may or may not know, I am not a vegetarian. I do, however, love vegetarian foods. They are often very creative dishes. I also occasionally cook for vegetarians at dinner parties. So this sounded like a wonderful way to spend my Sunday afternoon.

Overall, very fun event. Very busy. Lots of hummus and protein bars. There were also a ton of booths devoted to clothing, energy resource, treatment of animals, ect., but for our purposes, we are talking about the food.

As I walked around, I realized that I needed to be careful. This wasn’t my normal gluten free stomping ground where I can throw caution to the wind and eat everything in sight. Here, I had to ask if a product was gluten free and also look at cross contamination issues if I was concerned. The representatives were generally very knowledgeable about their products, and with a room full of health conscious people, it wasn’t difficult to figure out what was right for me and what wasn’t. Occasionally I would see a giant sign that said “Certified Gluten Free”. I’d run to the table with a big smile on my face. “My people! This is where I belong!”

There were lots of interesting products that I hadn’t seen before along with some familiar brands that are expanding their lines. For example, did you know that Simply Protein is branching out from their awesome protein bars to protein chips? Say what?! Tasty BBQ flavored chips with 15g of pea protein! Amazing concept. Snack time just went up a notch.

I know you’re waiting for my top favorite booths and products, so let’s get right down to it. 

Terra Nut Cold-Pressed Superfood Snacks – I quite enjoyed munching on these as I walked around the expo. They are delicious little creations made from nuts and seeds. I was basically eating it like a protein bar, but it crumbles easily so they’re nice for salad toppings and such.


 Cocoburg – What are these? Coconut heaven! Cocoburg is a small company based in Brooklyn that hand makes raw/vegan/GF Coconut Jerky. I tried the SPICY Chili Lime (I quickly found out why they put “SPICY” in all caps – wowza! In a good way). I also tried the Ginger Teriyaki flavor. Both very unique. This is also going on my grocery list.



Palm Frites – Another great coconut product. They make coconut fries in flavors Churro, Garlic, and BBQ.


Hope Foods – Spicy Avocado Hummus?!?!?! What is this magic??? Seriously, the best hummus I’ve ever had. They were clearly labeled gluten free, but the icing on the cake was that they were serving their samples with Glutino GF pretzels and Beanfields GF chips. Thank you for doing things the right way!


Organic Living Superfoods had about a dozen different samples to choose from – raw nuts, dried pineapple, chia seed creations. I was like a kid in a candy store. They were so yummy and unique. Looking at their website right now, I’m seeing other concoctions such as Organic Dark Chocolate Covered Dragon Fruit, Coconut Fig Energy Squares, Organic Raw Sprouted Cinnamon Pecans. Ummm….yes please!




This Pie Is Nuts – Okay, I was so excited to try out this booth and meet Diana Cornell, the owner. I had heard wonderful things about her pies, and she did not disappoint. She explained to me how clean from gluten her kitchen is, and how much she cares about the ingredients that go into her foods. The Key Lime Pie and Purely Pumpkin Pie were definitely winners.


Okay, here come two of my very favorite booths….chocolate.

Brooklyn Dark – AMAZING chocolate! When I mentioned that I have Celiac Disease, the owners instantly asked me if I could have soy or sesame seeds or nuts. “Thank you so much for asking!” They take great pride in their ingredients and really seem to care about the people who they are selling their products to. Flavors include Classic Hemp, Orange Silk, Open Sesame, and Moroccan Spice. Totally amazing chocolate. Please buy it right now.



Bixby & Co – This was all sorts of amazing. And a certified gluten free sign! Like I said, one of my very favorite booths. Check this out:
Dark chocolate with sweet currants, Maine sea salt, and roasted hazelnuts.
Milk chocolate with sweet dark raisins, Vietnamese cinnamon, and roasted walnuts.
Dark chocolate with sun dried strawberries, Ceylon cinnamon, and California almonds.
All. Sorts. Of. Amazing. Some of the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten. I feel like I should put this one in all caps, as well. AMAZING. There we go.



A quick disclaimer: Please remember to double check products before you buy them to ensure that they are still gluten free. Ingredients and policies can change in large brands as well as locally made products.

All in all, quite the delightful afternoon! I hope you get a chance to try out some of these companies. Many of them (even the local ones) will ship wherever.

….so what are you waiting for?!



Happy eating!


Jessica


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