The Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo held at the Perth Convention Centre over this weekend was a feast for the gluten intolerant with numerous free tastings of all sorts including biscuits, cakes, beer, raw foods, popcorn and gourmet condiments. Four separate stage areas provided both captivating entertainment and educational sessions making it easy for us to stay for most of the day. Having been to many food festivals it was such a nice change to not have to ask if anything was gluten free! Make sure you go to the expo on an empty stomach because there was so much free food on offer you will be glad you have the room. Better still you can do what we did and make the most of all the discounts on products and buy extras to take home and eat later! For the hungry punters with larger appetites there were also more substantial dishes for purchase. We both had a busy and fun day out and look forward to seeing what is on offer next year!
Here are my top ten highlights of this fantastic day out.
1. The aroma from Tasty Bites
The luscious cooking aroma from the Tasty Bites stall hits you as soon as you walk in the entrance. Throughout the day they were cooking a variety of tastings using their Asian and Indian ready meal packs. For example they made a very moreish omelette using the Mumbai Mushrooms pack which literally vanished in seconds. Later in the day we sampled a san choy bow that was equally scrumptious. Both dishes contained small amounts of onion so for those with fructose malabsorption you should be careful on intake depending on tolerance.
2. All the cakes at Well & Good
The Well & Good stall was very popular and we had to fight our way to the front to see what the fuss was about. And once we did we realised why. Nearly every type of their cake mix had been baked for free sampling with chunks of carrot cake, chocolate mud cake, jam rolls and other delights. All were soft and spongy. All were moist and delicious. They even do a dairy free, gluten free custard mix. Neither of us could help ourselves and we made the most of their special offer buying the Chia, Linseed and Sunflower Bread mix, the Chocolate Mud Cake mix and the All Purpose Cake mix for a total of $15.
3. Everything at Hot Pot Popcorn
It is true; I am an incurable popcorn addict and have already been well acquainted with the Perth based poppers Hot Pot Popcorn. Make sure you try their caramel and sweet chilli flavours, but be prepare to eat the whole bag because you will not be able to stop at one handful. They had an expo special of three bags for $15 so of course we bought three!
4. The beautiful smiles at Slendier slim
In our household we are regular eaters of the brand konjac pasta called Slim Pasta and we use it as a replacement for noodles and rice in order to minimise calories and maximise our fibre intake. Slendier Slim were kindly giving away free recipes and packets of pasta to all expo attendees.
5. The entertainment at the Stage Sessions
We attended a number of the stage sessions and I loved the variety and scope provided. We saw the Master Chefs Michael Weldon and Courtney Roulston cooking up a storm, listened to seminars on Coeliac disease by Dr Jason Tye-Din and the low FODMAP diet by nutritionist Lindsay Peacock. We ended our day watching Kim McCosker cook up some family favourites using just 4 Ingredients.
6. It tasted like real bread at Strange Grains Bakery
This was the first I had heard of this Leederville based company called Strange Grains Bakery. They make all their own breads on site and none of them contain soy flour which is great for me as I react to this flour in breads. Their breads are light and fluffy on the inside with a great chewy crust. Even my cat Rollie approved as he snuck onto the bench, ate through the plastic and devoured a big hole in the middle of the loaf! So naughty!
7. The sauce even Rob Brodfield loves at Sayaka’s Kitchen
The team from Sakaya’s Kitchen were enthusiastically cooking up a storm and were very passionate about their product. Their gluten free Teriyaki sauce is made with an authentic 100 year old family recipe and its flavour profile goes well beyond any complexity I have tasted in teriyaki before. Apparently it even gets the tick of approval from Rob Broadfield! Bottles of it sold like hot cakes and you can be sure one made its way into our busting bags.
I love that the raw food movement that is taking off with such a high velocity in Perth. However whilst all Rawsome’s stunning sweets are gluten free there were no fructose friendly sweets on offer. After already sampling some food containing onion from Tasty Bites I didn’t want to push my limits and reluctantly missed out. The non-intolerant Boy happily took a hit for the team and tried a sample of their Carawmel slice. It was a total hit and as a result he insisted that they scored a spot on our highlight list. Next year I’ll bring my glucose tablets to the expo so I can try them with him.
The team from Simply Paella were cooking up a storm with a number of Spanish dishes for purchase including gazpacho, meatballs and paella. The meatballs at $5 were a hit and had already sold out by lunchtime. I was lucky enough to get the last serve and it felt like Christmas being able to eat them as meatballs are so rarely made gluten free. They were so tender soft and flavoursome and you would have never guessed I had already been eating all morning as I demolished them in a heartbeat. The Boy’s paella wasn’t as tasty and for $10 per small serve he would have liked more seafood than just one calamari ring.
10. Finding a beer even I enjoyed at O’Brien Beer
Please don’t judge me but I hate beer. This dislike is greatly biased by the fact that I cannot drink most of it as it is not gluten free however it is a great source of disappointment for my beer swilling husband. We stopped at the O’Brien Beer stall and I was pressured to at least try one so on recommendation I tried their Pale Ale. It actually wasn’t THAT bad! It tasted like sparkling fruit juice with a slight but not unpleasant taint of beer. This description of mine did get a few one brow raises and exposed my naivety to beer drinking but I actually liked it enough to drink the whole sample which is a first. I may even consider buying myself a whole one next time I’m down at The Precinct. My first beer, what a concept!Coles Gluten Free & Healthy Living Expo 2014 Pavilion 3, Level 1 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mount Bay Road, Perth Saturday and Sunday March 15th & 16th from 9.30am to 4.00pm Admission: Adults $14, Concession (aged, health, student) $10, Coeliac WA members $7, Children under 16 with a parent or guardian FREE