The Speciality and Fine Food Fair, Olympia,
September 4th - 6th
It was my first time at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair, and I was hopeful that as at Natural & Organic Products Europe earlier in the year, I would come across lots of familiar freefrom companies exhibiting, and I was not disappointed. Although there is no designated 'FreeFrom Zone' as at NOPE and Food Matters Live in November, there was a significant amount of high quality freefrom companies exhibiting.
I went along with colleague Alex Gazzola, Health Journo, who happily is able to eat things I cannot tolerate such as cheese and milk, and together we trawled the halls eating and enquiring as we went. Although I haven't made mention of what these foods taste like, I would like to reassure that everything we sampled was at least very tasty! Here are our freefrom finds, in no particular order (and some slightly blurry pictures)...
Maria Lucia Bakes's porridges and granolas are now available in the UK, and they have added single-serve pots of gluten, wheat and dairy free porridge and granola to their range.
MiiRO's dairy and gluten free raw chocolate lollies looked delicious but there were not sampling them so I cannot report on the taste - but they look like Magnum Ice Creams, and so they are definitely one to look out for!
Quench make whole vegetable blends for drinking - very much NOT juices or smoothies, and freefrom everything except vegetables in five tasty varieties!
Another breakfast delight comes from RaRa who make gluten and dairy free chilled pots in three flavours: with a base of chia and oats mixed with either spiced apple & raspberry, blueberry & banana or mango & lime.
ChicP make hummus from surplus veg and fruit - gluten, dairy and added sugar free, ChicP support British farmers by using produce not 'fit' for supermarket use and turning it into five different tyes of hummus, including a couple of sweet ones!
Nourish make dairy, gluten and refined sugar free coconut macaroons, lovely with tea, as a gift, or an after dinner treat, these come in at least eight delicate, real flavours using raspberries, strawberries, beetroots, passionfruit and more.
There was no one at the Polar Pops stand when I passed by, but there was a freezer full of delicious-looking ice lollies and the stand-holders round about confirmed that it was ok to help myself to a sample of their nut, dairy, lactose and gluten free lollies - so I did, and wished I'd had a freezer bag to scoop in all the flavours - excellent flavours and low sugar treats.
Several companies were launching at the SFFF including this very exciting product, a gluten-free Calzone from Upwards! Upwards make three savoury and one sweet calzone, designed for the foodservice market with some delightfully cheerful packaging. They are planning to develop a dairy-free variety too...
Savoursmith launched their dairy and gluten free potato crisps in posh flavours: truffle and rosemary and 'champers' and Serrano chilli being two of them!
Geo Organics/Organica products are predominantly vegan and organic including a vegan Worcester sauce, a vegan chocolate-coated coconut bar, and vegan mayonnaise and chocolate.
Wicked Wholefoods make two quality freefrom granola flavours - one gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, egg free, the other made with oats so not claiming gluten-free. Available in large pouches or food-to-go sized single portions, these are intense mouthfuls of breakfast goodness!
Fravocado's rich & creamy dairy & gluten-free ice cream is made with avocados and coconuts - available in three flavours (including raspberry & basil!!)
Pimlico Confectioners make a range of fun and exciting gluten and nut-free sweeties: fizzies, jellies, candy floss and more...
The company behind award-winning Dell'Ugo gluten-free pasta, Evexia Thrive, is launching a new range of fresh filled and unfilled gluten-free pasta: spinach & ricotta and tomato & mozzarella tortelloni. Launching next week across Sainsbury's stores nationwide, this gf pasta range will occupy a NEW freefrom section in Sainsbury's chilled aisles!
Old friends Karkli have introduced two new flavours to their range of gluten and dairy-free Karkli lentil-based beer snacks: coriander and the super-hot fiery ghost naga chilli varieties!
Tideford Organic have relaunched their range of organic & vegan soups and sauces, removing the cheese from their pestos, the chicken from their chicken soup (now called Farmhouse Soup Chicken Has Flown the Coop!) and introducing the miso range and superfood soup range
Yau's have launched their amazing nut-free satay sauce, a long time in the making but well worth the wait for any nut allergics who have missed this product! Not yet available online, but you'll be the first to know when it is.
Recently rebranding as Difatti (used to be Bionita), Little Pasta Organics have introduced mini gluten-free gnocchi for kids (adding to their gluten-free spinach, tomato and plain normal-sized gnocchi range).
We met companies who have created some really useful ranges of freefrom single-serve & single-use cooking sauces, hot rubs and spice kits, meaning first-timers do not have to invest in large amounts of spice mix which then sit around gathering dust, or large jars of sauce which are used once then sit in the fridge cultivating mould:
Spiced by Rayeesa makes gluten-free single-serve sauces for 2-3 people - simply add meat, fish or vegetables such as dopiaza and rogan josh.
Gordon Rhodes gluten-free single-use hot rubs have many uses but one idea is to marinate meats with one of their three flavours made with different chilli varieties.
Spice Almighty make freefrom single-use Indonesian spice kits, including Singaporean laksa, Balinese fish curry and Sumatran rendang.
Leafy Foods make kale crisps without dairy, gluten or other allergens, but unlike others these are very light, melt-in-the-mouth and delicate. And they have Harry the Hare, a handsome chap indeed who loves kale, on their packaging.
Kurz & Lang import Germany's best gluten and lactose-free sausages (except the cheese one!) to the UK, including bratwurst, rindswurst, currywurst and kasewurst...
And while we are on the subject of popcorn, here is a dairy, wheat & gluten-free sweet and salty popcorn from Kings Road Gourmet Popcorn.
Rhythm 108 are having a great year, and will be launching more of their organic, gluten & dairy-free tea biscuits later this year.
The Jelly Bean Factory's jelly beans are gluten, nut and gelatine free, and they make a mind-boggling 12 million jelly beans everyday!
Canesmith make childhood favourites such as gluten-free sherbert dips (also dairy-free), salt-water taffy and caramels.
Hand-crafted, stone ground, raw, vegan, nuts, gluten, egg, soya and dairy-free chocolate from Sweden in six delicious flavours including Iceandic Sea salt, coming in large and small bars, by Rawchokladfabriken.
And while we're in Scandanavia, it was great to meet Malmö Chokladfabrik whose chocolate is nuts, gluten, egg, soy, almonds, peanut-free. The majority of their chocolate, with the exception of the white and milk chocolates, are also lactose and milk-free. We'll let you know when they are available in the UK.
Another very exciting product not yet available in the UK is QuinoaItalia's gluten-free quinoa beer - bottled in prosecco-style and sized bottles, meaning there is LOTS of beer to share - it is naturally freefrom and not really allowed to be called a beer as it is not made with barley malt, so ssssssshhhh...
Doughlicious provide frozen cookie dough that you simply put in your oven and bake - very clever! They have one gluten-free variety which is wonderfully the same price as their other non-gf varieties! (PS you can eat the dough raw as it is made with pasteurised egg...)
La Chiva Snacks freeze-dry fruits such as mango, strawberry and pineapple, all the way over in Colombia, and pack them in snack sizes - single ingredient bags, so allergen free...
The Nut Junkie's dairy-free cashew nut butter range comes in three flavours: vanilla, cocoa, and coconut & cinnamon.
Nuto Nuts Ltd make an alternative to popcorn - popped lotus seeds, which are vegan-friendly and come in salt and pepper, and maple & smoked paprika.
Simplyseedz make cartons and single serve portions of dairy-free porridge in four flavours, including autumn favourites apple & cinnamon and dark chocolate & ginger.
Fairfields Farm's Lentil Lights are low calorie gluten-free crisps in three flavours: blue cheese, tomato & herb, and jalapeno & lime.
Cocochocolate make mostly vegan, all gluten-free chocolate in exotic flavours such as gin & tonic! No gin inside, but juniper...
Nina's Popcorn is gluten, wheat and dairy free, popped in coconut oil with superfood seasonings such as goji berries, spirulina & kale.
Leighton Brown make gluten free crisps with beetroot, sweet potato and parsnip; parsnip & manuka honey anyone? Or beetroot, horseradish and dill?
Inka Snacks have been around for a while, with gluten-free roasted giant corn kernels, plantains and sweet potato crisps.
Jimini's roast insects and also make gluten and dairy-free snack bars with them too: tuck into an apricot, goji & chia cricket (grasshopper?) bar! But remember that crickets are the same allergen family as crustaceans.
Granovita are launching a range of vegan pates (see their grilled aubergine pate here) and were showcasing their whole organic, vegan, gluten-free range.
Rod & Ben's make dairy, wheat & gluten-free soups, stew-in-a-pot, hummus and sauces: excited to try the roast chicken, thyme and lemon as often chicken soups have cream in them...
Thanks for Franks have rebranded and now offer five gluten-free flapjacks in popular flavours.
Scott Farms make gluten-free sweet potato crisps with three different varieties of sweet potato - I bet you didn't know there was more than one!
The Cheeky Food Co make gluten, lactose, egg and nut free garlic and mango pickles and tamarind chutney, as well as freefrom sprinkles to enhance your meals.
For more information on future Speciality and Fine Food Fairs