That’s right: it’s Expo time!!
|Expo 2016: my first Worcester Expo!
By Expo time, I mean the 2018 Gluten-Free/Allergen-Friendly Expo in Worcester, MA.
Now those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know that Expo weekend in July is like Christmas for me
. For those of you who are new to the blog, I encourage you to read some of these summaries
of past expos
but I will also entice you with some photos from last year’s Expo in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is an amazing weekend surrounded by you-safe foods and people who totally understand what it means to scrutinize every label and stress about eating out. If that is not enough of a reason to make you want to head toward Worcester, read on for 7 reasons to be excited about the Expo.
That’s right. All of these donuts were available for sample, and for purchase of course.You can also find them in the freezer section of some local grocery stores. However, at the Expo you often get to try flavors you don’t see on store shelves: like pumpkin spice! It may be July, but there are no rules when it comes to trying out flavors at the Expo.
Yes, that is a slice of gluten-free, dairy-free pizza, courtesy of Still Riding Foods
.Though the Expo is entirely gluten-free, the vendors are also very allergen-aware when it comes to other common trigger foods. Many booths will offer other allergen-free options beyond gluten-free, and each booth is clearly marked so you don’t have to worry about whether you’re accidentally ingesting something you shouldn’t. Plus, this is the one place where everyone seems to understand the term “cross-contamination”…and takes it seriously.
3) Muffins and cookies.
This is one of those finds that make the Expo my favorite event of the year. I had never heard of Goodman Gluten-Free
before last year when a kind employee offered me a sample of a cupcake at their booth. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was the best cupcake I have had in a long time. The muffins are just as delicious. Even better: I found out they carry these products at my local Star Market! Fortunately Goodman’s is no longer a once-a-year treat for this girl.
I still remember the moment I tasted my first Greater Knead
bagel (though it was a Sweet Note bagel back then!). It was like a little piece of my pre-celiac life returned at the breakfast table. Last year they sampled a new product: bagel chips! The bagels never disappoint, and though I can buy them year-round at Wegman’s (thank goodness!), they always have some special flavors on hand at the Expo that can only be ordered online during the year. Plus, the women who started the company are the sweetest, most enthusiastic people you could ever hope to meet. And they wear bagel skirts. Need I say more?
Now I’ll be honest: unlike many celiac patients, beer was not a great loss for me after my diagnosis. It was never something I really loved and I’d actually take a cider or glass of wine over beer any day…even before it made me sick. But there is something about finding a display of gluten-free beer (and not the gluten-removed kind that I wouldn’t trust) that just draws you in. Again, I don’t love beer to begin with but if you do, the taste is the closest to regular beer that I have found. Plus the fact that it’s from a 100% gluten-free brewery and gastropub makes me really want to visit Portland, Oregon.
6) New friends (Or new memories with old friends!)
As I have said in past posts, there is nothing quite like being surrounded by people who just get it; people who know how hard it is to navigate dining out safely, eating on the road, attending holiday parties where you can’t eat anything, etc. You also see familiar faces as the years go by and it can be fun to catch up on where life has taken you since the last Expo.
7) Last but not least: free tickets!
What’s best is I have some free tickets to give away! All you have to do is click here to fill out the entry form here
by next Tuesday (July 10th) and I will pick the winners on Wednesday, July 11th.
Lastly, for those of you who have been following this blog for awhile, you know the posts have been few and far between since our little guy arrived. Because time is pretty short these days, I’m going to start posting short “Featured Favorites” on a more regular basis, and then still have the occasional longer post with recipes, etc. So keep an eye out for some new featured favorites as Expo Weekend approaches.
|Did I mention free food???
I hope to see some of you soon in Worcester..AKA the happiest place in Massachusetts…for one weekend anyway 🙂