Let me begin by saying I am by no means allergic to gluten or any foods, really. My gal bladder prefers I don’t have extremely oily foods or heavily fried foods, and mayo is out entirely. Of course, we all know about my red dye allergy, but that’s kept pretty well in check by eating things that aren’t extremely processed. So, other than the aforementioned, I’m a ‘see it and eat it’ kind of girl.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I began taste testing at the event and actually enjoyed all of the samples I tried.
The event took place at the Harris Campus of Central Piedmont Community College, out near the airport.
Upon entering the main doors, I checked in at the front desk and received my official blogger goodie bag. Inside were full size samples of gluten free yummies including a Bumbalooza oatmeal raisin bar mix, granola, coupons, informational packets, a gluten free living book, and my favorite, Nicks (meat) sticks of the turkey and spicy beef variety. I’ve always been partial to eating jerky of all types, so a meat stick (hold your jokes) that only had 5-6 ingredients, all of which I knew and could pronounce was an awesome surprise.
Considering the size of the hall, there were a TON of vendors. I don’t think I realized so many shops and restaurants offered gluten free options or survived solely off gluten free patrons.
Two of my favorite vendors were the Bumbalooza booth and the (don’t act too shocked) Tito’s Vodka booth. Bumbalooza appealed to me initially because of the bright and cartoon-like backdrop (yes, I’m easily distracted by bright and shiny things too). When I finally ventured over and began inspecting further, all of their samples looked heavenly.
I tried the cookies & cream and oatmeal bar samples and they were DELICIOUS! Unfortunately, my stay there didn’t last long as the table beside it was Fuel pizza.
I’ve always been a fan of Fuel Pizza and was surprised to find out they not only offered gluten free crust options, but vegan cheese. As much of a cheese connoisseur as I claim to be, I was hesitant to try something that wasn’t good ole’ dairy (or goat) cheese. My first bite, albeit odd, was exceptional. Had the woman dishing out samples not told me, I never would have known I wasn’t eating my usual slice of cheese pizza. Props to Fuel for creating something delicious and socially pleasing.
Of course, once i had my pizza and dessert, it was time for a drink – one of the alcoholic types.
The next booth was Tito’s Vodka. I’m not really a vodka person after
mass consumption in my younger years, but Tito’s is far and away my favorite. Besides, it’s a scientific fact that any liquid that comes from a quality distillery is going to be amazing (okay so maybe not truly scientific but as a whiskey and bourbon lover, I speak from years of experience).
I chose not to sample the beer, but did get my paws on a glass of the All American Basil Lemonade. The lemonade was one of those cocktails that you sip sitting out in the sun on a warm summer day. After an hour or two, and having no concept of the amount of alcohol you’ve actually consumed, you’re pretty well intoxicated. Needless to say, it was delicious and I’ll no doubt be making a jar of it this summer.
Overall, I was pleased with the event. Everyone was extremely kind, the samples were tasty and I never felt like an outsider for not being gluten free.
Thanks for the opportunity, Pam!