Welcome to the first guest post on Naturally Gluten Free. Whilst I love to travel, I am in no way an expert on local areas, and the best people are those who live there. So I shall be inviting free from foodie experts to give us recommendations from their area. First up is Vicky covering Devon…
Devon’s finest food and drink festival in Exeter, championed by 2 Michelin starred chef Michael Caines, takes place every April and Vicky, aka the Free From Fairy gives a great taste of the event below, including some of the producers she loves:
Every year for as long as I have lived in Devon, I have visited the festival and come away enthused and inspired by the variety of food producers out there. For the past few years I have had a special eye out for producers who go the ‘extra mile’ and create products that those of us on restricted diets can eat!
Top of my list of Devon producers has to be Clives Pies whom I have loved for a long time. The love affair started when I was living in central Exeter, vegetarian and gluten-free and my local independent health food shop stocked his gluten-free pies. It was a wonderful treat to pick one up on my way home from work and not have to do any cooking! What was even more wonderful was that when my daughter was born and diagnosed with dairy and egg allergies before going on to be diagnosed with coeliac disease, she could eat and enjoy these while I got to grips with what to feed her!
The ingredients are all organic and contain no strange words which is always reassuring! Clive produces wonderful, tasty pies and has since expanded his range into veg pots, cakes, dips, pasties and rolls (read vege sausage rolls!). You can buy the products online, at various independent health food shops, Ocado, Goodness Direct and Holland and Barrett.
Second on my list would have to be Kays Cakes A fabulous lady who bakes fabulous gluten-free (and some dairy-free) cakes, and who has recently started to produce pasties and frozen pastry too.
I want to keep her a Devon secret. Her brownies are to die for…in fact I don’t think you will taste better (even mine!) as are her cakes. My particular favourite? The caramel and walnut slice; rich, sticky, crunchy and decadent describe it perfectly. Unfortunately if you want to try out these delights you need to get to East Devon where she stocks a select few places.
Everyone has heard of Burt’s Crisps, but did you know they were from Devon? Delightful, crispy, ‘artisan’ type crisps with a huge array of flavours, the majority of which are gluten-free! They can be found in most supermarkets now which is testament to the quality and appeal of the product!
A ‘find’ at last year’s food festival was chocolate company Caprine Capers who produce luxurious and delicious chocolates from their own heard of goats that are gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free and obviously cows milk-free! They do a mail order service so you can discover these delights from the comfort of your own bed…I mean sofa…I mean kitchen!
Born To Bake were this years discovery. All their products are gluten-free and they have a good selection that are dairy-free too. Once again, you will have to get yourself to Devon as Amanda currently only stocks local cafes and restaurants and fulfils bespoke orders for those around the Torbay area.
Another free from baker is the company, Baked to Taste. Although not at the show, they do stock cafes and delis around the county. Amongst other things, they make gluten-free sausage rolls (much to Mr M’s delight!), quiches, pasties, cakes and pies and have been incredibly supportive of our local Coeliac UK support group. They deliver their products anywhere in the UK so if you fancy trying them out and supporting a lovely artisan company then visit their website!
On to delicious healthy soups and sauces made by Tideford Organics. These are probably the best soups that I have ever tried…fresh and interesting with a huge array of new flavours always emerging. They are gluten-free, have no sugar, are low in fat and many are dairy-free too. The reason they are so good? Because they taste homemade! They are being stocked in a few supermakets now along with Abel and Cole..so get them added to your veg box if you get one!!!
Another company that I found at the Exeter Festival of Food and Drink is DW Simply Sprinkle. These guys make incredible spice mixes that are just that…with nothing else added. No wheatflour, no sugar or salt, no artificial flavours or preservatives. They are all gluten-free and I can vouch for the fact that they are simply delicious!
Finally, is another company that I came across this year…Boom . They create gluten-free, natural curry kits that are free from anything artificial and make fantastic curries in less than 30 minutes. If you are looking for a quick, healthy meal you certainly can’t go wrong with these; so much better than a ready meal or a takeaway because you are in control of what you put in!