It had been some years since I attended this annual foodie extravaganza, not having found much in the way of free from back in 2013 – but times change, the show has expanded, and both vegan and gluten free food certainly made its presence felt this year. Here’s a selected round up of some of the brands and products I came across.
I’ll start with what might excite a fair few – Miiro Ice Cream. It’s hard to avoid describing it as a free from ‘Magnum’ – so I shan’t try – but it is one that is gluten-free and vegan. The ice cream is coconut-based, there’s pea protein and natural sweeteners such as dates, and the chocolate coating is made from raw chocolate – easily the best bit. Subtle coconut taste to the ice cream itself. Sadly, there’s a milk trace warning. Just launched, the makers hope it’ll be in Planet Organic and Wholefoods Market by November.
Pizza dough calzones from Upwards Foods look like a promising on-the-go option for coeliacs – all that is required is a several minute blast in a microwave, from frozen. They come in chicken, greens & grains, and margherita flavours – with a sweet chocolate option too.
Despite the curious name and the somewhat dreary packaging, the fresh pasta from Evexia Thrive looks good and is expected to be in Sainsbury’s by the end of September. Varieties are penne and chickpea fusili, and spinach and ricotta / tomato and mozzarella tortelloni.
More savoury options are always good in the brownie-saturated world of free from, and The Free From People‘s Buttercup Meadow range of seasoning mixes are GF, DF and egg free. Mix with meat, fish, vegetables to make, well, burgers, bangers and balls! They come in hot and spicy, lemon parsley and thyme, rosemary and garlic, sage and onion, spicy Moroccan and sausage mix. Currently available direct from the website, or Wholefoods in Scotland, and some farm shops.
Irish brand Wicked Wholefoods offer multiple-free granola baked with raw organic virgin coconut oil and interesting spices such as cardamom. Very tasty …
I liked The Nut Kitchen‘s range of nut pastes and creams. Some do contain milk and egg, but notable among the eight-strong range is the almond milk paste, from which you can make your own unsweetened milk, and which is delicious. It’s a convenient way to whip up some almond milk as and when you need it, and there’s no ‘may contain milk’ warning on the product either. All are gluten free as well.
I did not expect Fravocado ice cream to taste of avocado, but it’s not disguised by the coconut it also contains at all – and is all the better and more distinctive for it, in my view. Sweetened with agave nectar, it comes in three flavours – raspberry and basil, raw cacao, and original. It’s only currently got limited distribution in Devon, but – given it is free from all 14 allergens with no ‘may contain’ warnings – it really does deserve to be picked up for national distribution.
Irish brand Boutique Bake offer a trio of gluten and refined sugar free mixes – including cacao protein bites mix and almond and cacao brownie mix. But it’s the oat and seed energy bars mix which caught my eye and is the most original – just added bananas and coconut oil needed to make 16 gluten and dairy free vegan bars.
The British Quinoa Company make some new ready to eat quinoa meal pouches (including black olive and pesto, apricot and harissa), but possibly their signature product is their smoked dry quinoa which has an extraordinary smoked fragrance – and which they recommend for Moroccan or Mexican inspired cooking. They also offer some quinoa and oat cereals – granola and muesli – which are made with GF oats.
There was a lot of chocolate, and quite a bit of it raw, so again I’ll just mention two brands – both from Sweden. First, Rawchocolad-Fabriken. Notable because they are nut-free – as well as vegan and free from other allergens. I really liked their mint flavoured chocolate. Second, Malmo Chokladfabrik – which is again free from all allergens (except milk in their milk varieties) and who do a spectacular liquorice flavoured chocolate.
Gato and Co do gluten and dairy free desserts – the most interesting of which is their chocolate fondant with aubergine and spirulina.
Minioti ice cream are milk-based but deserve a mention because it’s made in a nut free environment – and is gluten free with no added sugar.
I’m not one to bang on about crisps and the fuss some people make about them remains a bit of a mystery to me, so I’ll restrict myself to just one collection – but easily the best and most flavoursome of the brands I did get around to tasting. Leighton Brown offer beetroot horseradish and dill crisps – which were deliciously savoury – as well as sweet potato cheese and jalapeño, and parsnip and manuka honey. They are gluten free.
See also Cressida’s round-up of the show at Foods Matter here.