1. having total freedom and being able to eat any sample in sight - no restrictions!!! at first i would walk up to a table, thrilled, that they were offering whole cookies as samples of their product. by table 100 i felt like "please don't give me a whole cookie, i'm so full and i just want a taste!". it was amazing.
2. being able to hear it right from the horse's mouth, and ask all of my questions. is your product made in a dedicated facility? does it contain dairy? soy? where can i buy it? do you have any coupons that i could pass onto my clients? ;)
3. the opportunity to make so many connections with great gluten free resources for you and i both. connecting with restaurants and bread companies, play dough manufacturers and magazine editors - it all led to bringing more value to what i can provide for my own family, and to you guys. super stuff.
now let's get to the nitty gritty - of all the things i sampled yesterday, what was the most delicious? what stood out? what did i bring home? and what am i most regretting not bringing home? what was the greatest new product?
today we will conquer the most delicious, because where else could we possibly start?
this, my friends, is a three-way tie between the gluten free epicurean, wow baked goods, and the sweet tooth cakery. i loved them each for different reasons, and could see them fitting into the lives of my blog-reading friends as well as my clients for sure.
after tasting products from these bakeries, it was a total toss up for me - but after tasting samples from tens of bakeries throughout the day, these guys were by far my front runners. two of them got me with their cakes, and one with their cookies - they were moist, had great flavor, and the texture was so enjoyable. i have made many a cake and cookie myself, and i always notice the difference between the gluten-containing ones i used to bake and the gluten free ones i now create by the dryness and the coarse texture. each of these teams of bakers i'm about to highlight have found a brilliant way to provide moist, soft creations that are delicious!
if you're looking for healthy and/or vegan options, and you live in the greater vancouver area, then i'd say the gluten free epicurean is your go-to place. they have gluten free baking with dairy and eggs, which is really, really good, but they also cater to dairy free and vegan needs which i think is tough to find while still including flavor, texture and consistancy. my impression is that the epicurean puts more emphasis on nutrition, locally sourced fare, ingredients true to their roots and with little inclusion of chemicals, pesticides, etc. i love that - i am a healthy foodie, and any chance to nutrient our bodies while feeling like we're indulging is a win-win situation that i will whole-heartedly embrace!! i highly recommend popping in there if you're in the area, and treating yourself to some bites of amazingness!
while we're on the topic of cookies, my favorite cookies of the day were made by wow baking company. these do have dairy in them, and you can tell! they are soft, they stay together as you eat them, and they're amazing - probably one of the most impressive products that i taste-tested. every flavor was just as moist as the next, and had the perfect consistancy, but the snickerdoodles really tugged at my heart strings. there's something about a good snickerdoodle that makes me feel a little bit like a western washington local - well a wannabe, really. check out their site to find out where you can get your hands on these cookies, they are not limited to the greater vancouver area!
if you're looking for gluten and dairy free, and straight up indulgence, i am really impressed with the cakes from the sweet tooth cakery. i took dane (our 4 year old son) there today for a special treat, and the excitement he had over being able to choose from almost anything in the store was so much fun! i bought him everything he asked for, and made sure to let the girls at the shop know that i would never react like this at a toy store - true story - but seeing him bask in the ability to eat almost anything in sight was too exciting to resist. i caved, and didn't even remember how to say the word "no"!
we came home with a chocolate cupcake with dairy free buttercream raspberry icing, a carrot cake with dairy free maple icing, a ginger molasses loaf, and some chocolate chip cookies that will find a temporary home in our freezer and be pulled out for special treats. we also quickly and silently inhaled a vanilla coconut cupcake with buttercream icing as soon as we got in the car. no kidding, we were silent. you know it's good when....
so i give a major thumbs up for the cupcakes, i would buy those again without a doubt. same would go for their cakes as i sampled those on sunday and that's what initially reeled me in. they make brilliant wedding cakes and beauties for special occasions. if i'm being honest, which i hope you expect from me, the ginger loaf was really dry and the cookies were lack luster. in fairness, the cookies were marked down so that could be because they are nearing the end of their shelf life, i'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and maybe try them again next time. i wouldn't, however, recommend the loaf or the cookies, regardless of how good they looked in the package! i'm feeling good things for the carrot cake though - i'm so tempted to taste it tonight but i should probably wait until dane starts eating it, distract him, and steal a bite as to not deprive him of his beloved treats... somehow i feel like that is a better plan than having a bit while he's sleeping ;)
tomorrow.... what did i bring home? i will fill you in on what excited me enough to buy it and carry it around for the next 4 hours, how we've been enjoying it over the last few days, and where you can get your hands on it. stay tuned for highlights all week - even if you didn't make it to the expo yourself, allow me to breathe a breath of fresh air into your everyday gluten free life!