The Gluten Free Expo VANCOUVER!

let me start off by saying we did not attend.
initially, i was supposed to be doing my Valentine's Day photo session but since we had to reschedule, i offered my husband the opportunity to go.  two kids, driving downtown, paying an arm for parking and manhandling two toddlers at the giant convention centre is really just not a one person job.

Saara and Leila went.  kevin's cousin and aunt Selby and Joann went.
we didn't go because he didn't want to.  he figured why bother with vendors who might be all the way in Vancouver or worse other cities in the lower mainland that we do not visit on a regular basis.

i requested Saara do a guest post here of her experience.  anyone who had an equally lame excuse as my husband will feel like a total moron for not attending.  lucky for Saara, Selby had posted on my facebook asking if me and the family were going.  if not for this post, Saara would have had no idea it was evening happening...

For those of you who share the particular affliction of a gluten free and dairy free diet, I am sure you often dream of one day being able to enter a place filled with scrumptious, savoury and delectable treats you can devour without having to utter the same question(s) you hate asking EVERYDAY of your life

"Is this gluten free?  Do you have anything that's gluten-free?"

actually, in our case

"Is this gluten and dairy free?"

Ugh. I feel your pain. My little daughter, only four years old, also knows this pain.

Yesterday, however, we felt NO PAIN at the Gluten Free Expo. Thats right!! An entire event dedicated and designed and catered to us!  Those of us who normally pay double the price for gluten free bread, those of us who use our evening hours looking up recipe after recipe for that gluten free cupcake craving or for an alternative to sauces that always seem to have wheat as the dreaded BFF to create thickness... the Gluten Free Expo was heaven!

This outing was a surprise for my little girl, Leila.  We showed up at 10am knowing it would be a busy turn out.  Her face was all aglow when she found out she could sample E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!  She could hardly believe me, which prompted her continuously asking  

"Mama can I try this one?!?!?"  It felt sooooo good to say YES! to her every time!

The food food food.  Yes, three times because that's how good it was.  The samples were often full size  and there was so much variety.  It was great to meet the chefs who work firsthand with the bread recipes and baked goods we buy at our local markets.  I gorged myself and chatted to the folks at the booths, while pack after pack of gluten free cookies were being stuffed into Leilas bag.  It was like a second Christmas.  On top of the generous samples, all the vendors were offering wholesale pricing! WHOLESALE!  The breads, the brownies, entire apple pies and flour mixes were a fraction of the cost normally paid at the store.  $6 for a full size gluten free apple pie!  $5 dollars for a loaf of gluten free bread.  $15 for two huge bags of muffin mix and a pack of pizza crust... nuff said.

As if this wasn't enough, coupons for product were being handed out left and right, speakers were invited to provide information on gluten intolerance, and free allergy testing was being offered!  For a measly nine dollars per adult (kids 10 and under are free), the admission at the Convention Centre was well worth it as I'm pretty sure we ate our weight in gourmet goodies.

Everyone who participated and attended in the exhibition was so friendly, I could honestly feel the comradery blooming all around us.   People of all ages, race and gender exchanged bright eyes and kind smiles that secretly whispered

"You're not weird. You're not demanding. You're just like me." 

I don't know if you can relate but sometimes I feel guilty for asking the person waiting on our table at the restaurant or the 17 year old behind the deli counter for gluten free options.  Not everyone understands what it is, let alone how painful the consequences are when something enters our body that is not gluten-free.  Here, at the GF Expo, everyone was on the same page.  There was no guilt, no anxiety, not apprehension or worry that something with gluten was lurking about.  Freedom.

Obviously, we had a wonderful time, but I have a few faves that deserve special attention.  Wendel's True Foods had an array of new products like their West Coast Apple Pie and old favorites (Carrot Cake and Chocolate Chip cookies...) at very reasonable prices.
Udi's had me dancing over their version of the Everything Bagel that will be out soon.

Noodlebox is a restaurant with locations in both Victoria and Vancouver that has loads of noodle dishes to offer to their gluten free customers.
O'Doughs is my favourite for bread.  Udi's is good but O'Doughs is where it's at.  They offered their new Flax Loaf and Bagel Crisps to sample!

In short it was the perfect day for me and my girl, thanks to the Gluten free Expo.   I have just one suggestion guys...make it a two day event next year so we can come twice. Lol.


you have no idea how much rage was passing through me when she called me and told me how amazing it was.  it just confirmed all the expectations i held for this Expo.  kevin would have come home with an obscene amount of goods.  he would have bought 3 pies, 5 loaves of bread, cookies and pastries and feel nothing short of fantastic after eating sample after sample of gourmet gluten free goodness.  and i would have had photos to show you all the smiles plastered on everyone's faces.

i can't believe i have to wait until next year.

thank you saara for writing this up for me and for all those who were unable to attend!


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