Why The Allergy Show IS great!

If you read my blog you’ll know that I had a pretty bad time at The Allergy Show. I missed all the great talks which I think are one of the best things about the show. It’s an opportunity to learn from industry leads and hear our top experts sharing news, views, new advancements and techniques for coping.

It’s great to see all the major supermarkets vying for our freefrom spend; competition is good for us, the consumers and the ranges all are offering just gets better and better.

This event is also a great opportunity to do a bit of networking and discover loads of cool new freefrom products. Do take extra care when trying and sampling any foods – check ingredients, ask to see the packaging and question the staff if you’re not sure. So, here, finally, are my highlights from London 2012.

Genius going the extra mile

How to Cook for Food Allergies by Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne.

Proof - my signed copy of "How to cook for food allergies"

Today a parcel arrived. I wasn’t expecting anything and due to this unseasonably amazing summer weather I opened it in the garden in the sun.

It was from Genius foods and I wasn’t expecting anything, having not placed any orders, but when I opened the box I remembered…

A lovely lady on the Genius stand (they had dairy free spread so no cross contamination issues here) promised to get my copy of “How to Cook for Food Allergies” by Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne signed for me and also offered to post it back after the event.

This is the perfect example of when a great company goes the extra mile.

Despite the clamouring hoardes they took my name and address and hey presto, there it was, in my garden in the sun. It was a lovely surprise and really cheered me. Thank you Lucinda and Genius!

Gluten and dairy free doughnuts!

Catherine Rose of Sweetcheeks free from baking

Catherine Rose of Sweetcheeks

One of the things I have really missed about living freefrom is doughnuts.

I know there were a few stands doing them but I tried Sweetcheeks cinnamon doughnut which was small but perfectly created by Catherine Rose, owner of the company.

It was absolutely delicious. I went back to buy some more to take home and she had run out! They went like hot doughnuts!

You can’t see the doughnuts in this photo (my bad planning and photography) but you can see a tantalising array of vegan, gluten and dairy free cupcakes, biscuits and cookies.

Catherine was also demonstrating how to make her doughnuts but I missed that. We won’t go into exactly why…

I reckon it would have been even better warmed through and I’ll definitely be buying these soon next time I deserve a treat.

Oh yeah! I think I deserve a treat after last weeks events… don’t you?

The Angry Bird cake…

The Cake Crusader Angry Birds CakeOne of my favourite free from cake companies is The Cake Crusader, run by Liz Allan. [nb. The Cake Crusader is no longer in business, Liz Allan is now running Allergy Aware Kitchen – training food service professionals about allergies in the kitchen. Thought I’d leave the picture of the angry bird cake here cos it’s beautiful]

Her mission, or crusade, is to bring tasty cakes to everyone, even those who can’t eat gluten, dairy, soya, egg and nuts. Cakes should be treats, enjoyed with friends, and I have tried all her cakes now.

If I had to choose, my favourites are her chocolate brownie cake and her award winning carrot cake, but they’re all really tasty. The talk of the show, however, was Liz’s Angry Bird birthday cake, which all the kids adored.

It was a test for the adults to see if they actually knew what the Angry Birds were, but it’s really a great example of a company making fantastic celebration cakes for those who probably thought they wouldn’t have a special birthday cake ever again.

Cupcakes like you’ve never seen before

Another of the highlights was finally meeting Ms Cupcake, the naughtiest cupcake maker in town, oh no, sorry, that’s her cakes, which she says are ‘The naughtiest vegan cupcakes’.

I did see Melissa Morgan in action demonstrating one of her recipes in the cookery zone and plucked up the courage to introduce myself when she was having a much needed break and strolling round the show. Sorry – no time off for Ms Cupcake.
Ms Cupcake - The Naughtiest Vegan cupcakes

I was really chuffed to discover that Melissa loves the whatallergy.com blog and had just that week been researching ingredients and had found what she was looking for on here! Hoorah!

That’s exactly why I write it, because every time I want to find something out and trawl ten places for an answer I just have to share it in one place here, for all of you.

I found out that she has a TV show coming up; now anyone who has met her or seen her in action will be really looking forward to that.

She is such a charismatic woman and her passion for baking and experimenting with store cupboard ingredients shone through in her bubbly personality and smiling face. I bought a mint choc vegan and gluten free cupcake to take home. She did have cakes with nuts right over on the other side of her stand, but she openly shared that information so visitors could decide whether to try one.

I do have a nut allergy but my dairy allergy is far worse, so because the nutty ones were at the opposite end I risked it. Probably not wise given what happened to me shortly after meeting Melissa, but I took the cupcake home and it sat in its box looking all forlorn. Eventually I did eat it and it was delicious. Full of minty flavour, moist and soft and just right for a cupcake. My only comment would be that they are too much for me to eat in one go. The layer of minty topping was MASSIVE. This is the American way apparently and Ms Cupcake is bringing us cupcakes American style – mine lasted me three sittings!

If you’d like to try her cupcakes she has a shop in Brixton, London and is also going to be at the Speciality Food Show in September.

Pudding to die for from Pudology {sshh…dairyfree!}

Pudology - sshh dairy free
Another thing I really miss is puddings and I’m talking real puddings.

Chocolate, sponge, spotted dick, steam puddings, tortes… these are all off the menu when you’re eating out with allergies.

Not for long however if the clever lady behind Pudology, Lucy Wagner, is successful in launching her delicious range of desserts.

I tasted a chocolate mousse which just melted on the tongue, it was deep, rich and Mmmmmm.

All Lucy’s puddings are made without dairy, gluten or eggs. I’m not sure about nuts so worth checking that if you have a dairy allergy.

People couldn’t try it without uttering the obligatory and unavoidable, Mmmmmm.

This pudding is seriously good. Watch the news for this exciting new product from a very young entrepreneur. If all goes to plan it should be available in leading supermarkets near you.

You CAN have macaroni cheese!

Amy’s Kitchen make a huge range of freefrom ready meals that are gluten free, vegan and organic. I’m limited in which of her range I can eat due to multiple weird allergies including tomato and celery, which seem to an ingredient in most things which omit dairy. However I did discover their ‘Gluten Free/Dairy Free Rice Macaroni & Cheeze’ also referred to as rice mac and cheese, which was surprisingly tasty. Getting the melty cheese thing right without proper cheese is not easy.

Ingredients: (VEGAN): MACARONI (44%), FILTERED WATER, DAIYA CHEDDAR (FILTERED WATER, TAPIOCA AND/OR ARROWROOT FLOUR, SAFFLOWER OIL, COCONUT OIL, PEA PROTEIN, SALT, INACTIVE YEAST, VEGAN NATURAL FLAVORS, VEGETABLE GLYCERIN, XANTHAN GUM, CITRIC ACID, ANNATTO) (21%), SAFFLOWER AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL, SWEET RICE FLOUR, SEA SALT, NUTRITIONAL YEAST, MUSTARD POWDER. Contains mustard.

I’m looking forward to buying this product in the future, though we try to cook most meals fresh and from scratch, it’s a godsend to have something in the freezer for those days when you just can’t be bothered.

Be aware that they also make a normal macaroni cheese which contains gluten and dairy and looks exactly the same!

Why everyone with allergies should visit FoodsYouCan.co.uk

The www.foodsyoucan.co.uk website is a must for everyone with allergies and/or intolerances.
FoodsYouCan allergy and intolerance resource
It’s packed full with competitions, offers, information about places to eat out, holiday destinations, ideas for days out, recipes, product reviews and more. It was lovely to meet Bunmi in person, putting a face to the blog and twitter personalities just adds to the enjoyment of the show, networking with like minded people who know the daily challenges you face.

FoodsYouCan is one of my absolute favourite websites and is a great resource. Bunmi Sobowale, who set the company up after having serious health problems related to certain foods, also needs your help to make it even better. If you know of a great hotel, B&B or restaurant that caters for your allergy needs with care, thought and compassion, tell Bunmi. Share your favourite places and products and help make this website even better.

There is also a FoodsYouCan App in the pipeline so keep your eyes peeled for details on that, you can also subscribe to a free tailored newsletter to ensure you stay on the ball with new products etc. that would be suitable for your needs

Steph’s FreeFrom millionaire’s shortbread

Remember those millionaire’s shortbreads you used to get at the local bakery, before you got allergies? I thought my millionnaire shortbread days were behind me, but another delicious treat I discovered at the show was Steph’s very own millionnaire shortbread.

Steph's Free From Millionnaires Shortbread

This is a gluten free, wheat free, egg free and dairy free Millionaire’s Shortbread. With its crunchy biscuit base, layered with lashings of gooey homemade caramel, topped with a delicious dairy free chocolate it was the perfect melt in your mouth treat, and is a personal favourite of mine. You can buy a huge slab which divides into 8 generous slices, or more smaller ones.

Ingredients: Gluten free and wheat free flour, dairy free margarine, sugar, soya milk, golden syrup, vanilla essence, cornflour, xanthan gum and dairy free chocolates.

And finally… networking

It was fun to see lots of familiar faces at the show. Michael and Michelle from Allergy Essex, Tanya Wright who wrote I’m Hungry, the allergy free cook book and Monika from Fria and just too many people to mention. I’d like to organise a WhatAllergy coffee catch up next year – I’ve love to put some more faces to so many of you regular commenters.

Allergy show regulars Michelle, Cressida and Alex were there on the FoodsMatter and SkinsMatter stand – the FreeFrom Skin Care Awards winner was announced at the show.

Best FreeFrom Skincare Product 2012 was awarded to Peter Harwood of Planet Health for their Qsilica Remove Make up and Grime Cleansing Gel. These awards are really exciting; what we put on our skin is just as important as what we eat. Skin absorbs a huge amount of what we smother onto it. There are many products on the market claiming to be good for sensitive skin but these are the first awards focusing on freefrom skin care products – lets take care of our skin in the same we treat our stomachs.

One big problem in this industry is affordability. The paraffin and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate packed creams and ointments which are prescribed to those with eczema and psoriasis are very cheap to make are they really good for our skin?

We know that Aqueous cream is really bad for sensitive skin so why are we prescribed skincare products that are so industrial and empty of any natural ingredients?

Nature can provide us with so many ingredients that nourish, heal and refresh our skin. I’m looking forward to trying some of the products entered in these awards and discovering delicious food for my skin as well as all the goodies I’ve found already, some of which are mentioned below.

So here ends my review of this year’s London Allergy and Free From Show. Are you going to the Liverpool show? What was your highlight this year?

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.

Comments

  1. Janet Woodward says:

    Sorry to hear you had a fraught time (!) at the London event…and pleased your recovery is happening.

    Was good to meet many old friends..and make some new ones.

    Was only at London as research for the Liverpool event in October.
    See you there….

    Janet

    • Hi Janet. Only just really finally getting over the awful allergic reaction. It really put my body in a spin for a while. Been super, super sensitive and had awful eczema since it happened but things calming down now. I am umming and ahhing about whether to go to Liverpool. I did miss all the talks I’d planned to attend, so I MIGHT to and pack in as many talks as I can if I can justify a second visit. If I do I’ll pop by and visit you. Will you be having a stand? or just attending Liverpool?

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