Canberra Gluten Free Show 2011 - A Review
A Day at the Show
The long awaited date of April 2 2011, has finally set upon us 'Canberrans' - the date of the Canberra Gluten Free Food Fair and Coeliac Information Day. In fact, according to the Coeliac Society of Australia, "The first Canberra Gluten Free Food Fair was held in March 2007 as part of Coeliac Awareness Week. It proved to be an enormous success for the exhibitors and the 4,000 plus visitors who attended."
This show has been planned in response to the above activity that took place in 2007 (4 years ago), with today's being the second of (hopefully) many more gluten free shows here to come. With the admission-free event (not just limited to those with an official 'coeliac disease' diagnosis) commencing at 10:00am (concluding at 5:00pm) at the Canberra Southern Cross Club (92-96 Corinna Street, Phillip) there was plenty of time to 'check out' all that was on offer. Attending the show was a great way to get a bargain on many of Australia's favourite gluten free brands.
On arrival, we were each given a directory with printed advertisements (lingering on the sides on each page) of gluten free brands exhibiting at the show.
A Day at the Show
For the most part, the day was quite fun and fairly entertaining. There were approximately 38 exhibitors at the show, marketing their brands of products. These included gluten free breads, cakes, pizza bases, corn kicks, cereals, beers, mixes and more. Some of the products I personally bought included the following; Mamee Corn Kiks, Frevos, Gluten Free Wraps and Livwell White Rolls. These have been pictured below along with the muesli bars given out on entry (I personally ended up collecting about 3-4!!). I also bought some licorice bullets that are not pictured below (sorry, can't remember the brand - I ate them all straight away... om nom nom ;))
As a fourth-year university student, however, I have had to 'keep to budget' for the main part and make some difficult decisions. Thankfully, due to such few exhibitors here, it was easier to keep my own options (and amount of money spent) limited.
List of Exhibitors
List of Exhibitors
The following exhibitors were present at the show (in order of stand):
Tasty Bite (stands 5 & 6)
Julian's Pizza Bases (main supplier of Australian pizza food services)
Choices Gluten Free
Country Life Bakery
Aussie Health Snax
The Canberra Coffee Company
Third Generation Gourmet
The Coeliac Society (stands 22 & 23) - Show Presenter
Soy Products - F.G. Roberts
Old Time Bakery
Nuilife - Kokonut Pacific
Dish It Up
Whilst some of the exhibitors were exhibiting items specifically made for the gluten free market, others simply were there to create meal samples and show a range of ready-meals and other items that happened to be gluten free. There were confections and other treats on offer as well.
My views on the show was that it was both good and bad. Whilst the venue was really quite nice and all, it was a shame that there were such few exhibitors. It is also too bad that Canberra hasn't managed to hold another gluten free show since 2007 until this point in time. There were a range of breads and 2 pizza bases (made by Old Time Bakery and Julian's) to sample, however it was a shame that there were absolutely no cakes nor crumpets nor pancakes to try out. Such a crying shame, as I really could have done with a sweet treat (or a few!! :()
Anyhow here's the verdict.
Of all the findings here, there were (of course) some of great significance more-so than others. I have noted below some of the new discoveries at the recent expo.
Healthy Feast is a bakery based in Sydney who specialise in wheat and gluten free foods. Their range includes breads, cakes, pies, sausage rolls, pizza bases but of course (my favourite) LEMON MERINGUE PIE!
This looked absolutely decadently delicious and rich. I was seriously considering purchasing this, however getting it back home in its fragile state was a bit of a worry so I had to pass :(
NEXT TIME! THIS IS A MUST FOR ANYONE ELSE WHO CAN AS WELL!
Naturally Glutenfree wasn't too bad a brand at all. The breads tasted great, too bad the texture wasn't quite 'up to par', however. I particularly liked the more 'fruity-flavoured' loaves of theirs. All were soy, egg and dairy free which was also great to see!
Soy Products Sales
Paul Smith of F.G. Roberts was also there with his two latest bread mixes (the Cottage Loaf (which contains soy flour as a key ingredient) and Palmira's Multipurpose Bread Mix (which is soy free)). Both tasted quite decent (albeit slightly stale) but went down really quite well for gluten free bread. Much to my awareness, neither of these mixes are yet available at Woolworths and Coles due to apparent stock concerns.
Of course, these products do not account for all findings at the Canberra Gluten Free Food Fair, nor do they summarise my experience. I must admit, having missed lunch for this event, sampling became more a matter of eating, ESPECIALLY when it came to the prepared pizza samples made by exhibitors from the Old Time Bakery on their pizza bases! Yum! :P
So yes, it was quiet there; not too many people, however a fair range of gluten free foods along with a range of guest presentations on top of it. One notable one I listened in on was that of Graham Price's on labelling. One thing I hope is that I do not detract from the topic but would like to quickly mention that I went to the gluten free ‘food fair’ here in Canberra (I wouldn’t call it that). There were only about 38 stands and a couple thousand people throughout the day, but was interesting. You should have been there during Graham Price’s speech when he asked “does anyone here work for the ACCC?”. There was no response, then he seemed relieved. When discussing reasons for trying to change Australia’s gluten free labelling laws he made mention of blogs, posts and letters people have written 'to try and stop this activity of changing our gluten free labelling laws' at the detriment of coeliacs...
Alright rant over. Back to it!
the show was fun, a great way to get away and enjoy the day! Something every Canberran should do on a more frequent basis