It’s an honour to judge the Free From Food Awards and I love doing it every year.
I think I’ve been doing it now for about ten years which seems incredible to imagine.
Things were a little different this year with some judging panels conducted over zoom, for the Packaging and Labelling Category. Two huge boxes to navigate with judges notes to complete, all conducted via zoom! It was great fun and really worked well.
We were also able to do some judging face-to-face with the clever perspex screens that were bought in especially to keep all the judges safe.
Masks on if you left the table and windows open to improve ventilation, here I am with my warm scarf, ready to start judging.
The Free From Food Awards have come such a long way in that time and this year, once again, I discovered some truly amazing new favourites.
Here are my Top 10 Free From finds from 2012, in no particular order:
- Saintly Foods – Vegan pies – These were amazing! I got to try the Apple pie and and the Blackberry and Apple Crumble desserts and everything about these pies was special, from the clever eco friendly cardboard packaging to the beautiful look of them, the quality of the pastry and the delicious taste. They do contain spelt flour and almonds though so will not be good for everyone.
- Made for Drink Chorizo Thins – The ultimate accompaniment for a large glass of Rioja. Sadly the Free From Food Awards judging session failed to provide the wine! But these snacks were divine. They are free from all of the Top 14 allergens. The Thins are simply sliced and slow-roasted chorizo picante, made from: Duroc pork shoulder, Duroc pork belly, hot paprika de la Vera, salt and garlic. Absolutely yummers. I also loved that these were in plastic free and carbon neutral packaging.
- Shore seaweed crisps – These were delicious! Really tasty and nutritious! I loved them. They do contain pea so if you’re allergic to legumes, watch out. Check out their website for full ingredients.
- Breakin’Bread – thin seed crackers were amazing. Really simple ingredients and a delightfully crunchy bite. Packed with healthy seeds and really very tasty. I managed to snaffle a few leftovers from an opened packet at the end of judging to take home. The perks of being FFFA judge x
- Belly Goodness sauces – I discovered this product while judging their packaging and labelling but I was immediately excited to find a Nomato sauce because tomatoes are a real problem for me. They make me so itchy. I don’t think it’s an allergy but I am very irritated if I eat even a small amount. I rushed out to buy some and was not disappointed. It’s fantastic flavour and works great with pasta. Ingredients: Water, Sweet Potato, Carrots, Red Peppers, Beetroot Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Grape Vinegar, Cooked Grape Must, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Sea Salt, Oregano, Black Pepper. I really can’t recommend their sauces enough. They also do freefrom white sauce, curry sauce and more! Check out their website to find out more.
- VALA Energy – As a runner this product also really appealed. Again this was in the product labelling category and I couldn’t wait to try the product out. Having lots of allergies, most energy gels are not good for me. Of if they are OK they’re so sweet, sickly and artificial that I can’t bear to eat them. These date based healthy energy gels are not only really delicious but also really easy to use. The pouch rips open easily and the gel is dispensed in a controlled way so you don’t end up with it all over yourself. I am not a happy customer and love this product for long runs. Especially since finding food on the go isn’t easy, these tiny pouches can go in my pocket and fill me up will I get home.
- Herbfetti – FODMAP friendly seasoning – You can buy this direct from Sarah, a Scottish FODMAP blogger who also shares recipes online. Sarah has IBS and her recipes are brilliant! I’ve been adding Herbfetti to everything, from seasoning chicken, sweet potato and stir fries to soups and stews.
- Calvin’s Free From Coconut bread – Since discovering this bread I’m now a regular customer. This is the kind of product I love. It’s so simple with just five ingredients and it’s also freefrom the top 14 allergens. Ingredients: Water, Organic Coconut Flour* (20%), Organic Coconut Oil*, Psyllium Husks*, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and a pinch of Salt.
- Gnawbles from Creative Nature – If you’ve not tried these before, where have you been? Gnawbles come in many flavours buy my favourite has to be the Hazlenot flavour – they’re like a cross between Maltesers and a Fererro Rocher. Seriously delicious. I’m addicted. Seriously addicted. I can’t share. They’re so good. If you want to try them you can get 10% off at checkout with my promo code: WHATALLERGY10
- Guns Brewery – Chummy Bluster beer – My tasting notes say, “Smokey aroma and taste. Smells like trees and oak.” I love real ale, but with my wheat allergy I do need to be careful which beers I drink, and this one did not disappoint. Although I have to say, the standard of gluten free beers entered was really high. I loved them all. But Guns were my favourite.
Click here for more information on the Free From Food Awards Winners.
The Awards party took place last night and all the winners will be available on the Free From Food Awards shortly.
Coming up soon, more on the incredible news that I was voted Free From Hero for 2021! I’m still processing this, I can’t quite believe it… and I can’t keep up with all the messages and congratulations. Thank you everyone! My next blog will be about what this means to me and my life’s passion and calling to help the allergy community.
Stay safe and stay special. You are all super heroes.