Review: It’s Gluten Free up North

We were dead excited about the first ever Gluten Free Fair in Newcastle organised by Taste North East, which aimed to champion local food and drink.  Sometimes it can feel like Liverpool and London get all the attention what with the Gluten Free and Allergy Show and the Natural Product Show

As Taste North East’s Jane Hogan said before the event,

We wanted to organise a gluten-free event this year, as we know that one in 100 people in the UK now suffer from coeliac disease, and many more struggle with an intolerance to gluten. This will allow us to show that gluten-free needn’t be taste-free, as some of the best local food and drink businesses offer tasty gluten-free produce.

We eagerly popped along to the show last Saturday at The Castlegate Melbourne Street with our £2 entry fee at the ready. What would we find? Lots of local cake bakers or a bounty of gluten free food & drink gems?

We struck lucky. Although there were about 200 people at the event and around 20 gluten free stalls it was easy to see straight away that there was a good range of products. From savoury to sweet it was Coeliac heaven!  There was a great mix of both local and national food producers.  Of course Warburton’s (recently re-named as Newburn Bakehouse) were there, showcasing their great new gluten free products made in Newcastle, alongside household name Glebe Farm. Then there were smaller producers like Voakes Gluten Free pies, Red Rascal and the Allendale brewery.

In fact we saw and tasted so many great products and drinks we’re not sure that we can do them justice in this blog. As you can see from our picture below, we had a great day and came home with lots of new exciting products to try!

So if you’re beginning to feal jealous fear not, you can visit the Taste Club’s website here to buy some of the products from the show online.

Our Food Highlights

It’s always tricky to pick out favourites from events like this as often it’s all down to personal taste. However, some products which caught our eye and tickled our tastebuds were:

1) Eskal’s pretzels

Crunchy, crisp and moorish we loved these. Often Free From supermarket shelves are laden with sweet products.

Yet we find we miss our savoury favourites the most. These are great for work snacks or parties and we’d love to see them more widely available. We also picked up a bag of their yummy looking gluten free pasta (it’s gluten free, wheat free, egg free, soy free and low in fat). We’ve not tried it yet but will blog about it when we do! Eskal’s foods are in health food stores across the UK and in some stores in Northern Ireland.  For any businesses wishing to stock them their products are available from the following distributors: Tree of Life, The Health Store, Goodness Foods, CLF Distribution and Queenswood.

 

If you’re off to the Gluten Free & Allergy Show this year don’t forget to visit them at stand 157 to sample and purchase some delicious gluten free (and some nut free & dairy free) products. And don’t forget that you can grab their tickets for free via various links and blogs online. We’ll be posting up more news soon.

Discover more about Eskal here.

2) Beckleberry Cakes

We’re not really sweet toothed Coeliacs but these won us over. Beckleberry’s are a small family North East company who make hand made patisseries, fresh ice creams and sorbets – all based on traditional recipes and methods.

As you can see from our photos we bought a few of their 2 packs of cakes. Their dessert’s we were delicious! It’s rare to find a gluten free adult style cake that isn’t overly full of fat, salt or sugar. These were classy, tasty and delightful.

 

Discover more about Beckleberrys here.

Our Drink Highlights

1) Allendale – Pale Ale

An exciting new gluten free ale by a young team based in the North East. This is their first venture into Gluten Free ale and they’re looking to launch their drink sometime in May.

What we loved about them is that their product tasted fab and unlike many gluten free beers it’s actually made with naturally gluten free ingredients to begin. So there’s no adding enzymes to de-glutenise the beer at the end of the process like there is with other gluten free beers. This focus on healthy and natural beers is the focus of Allendale Brewery and we’re looking forward to them launching this ale and creating more variations. After all there’s plenty of room for more gluten free beers on the market. Just like wine we all have different tastes. Let’s hope some savvy supermarkets snap them up soon so more Coeliacs can enjoy them.

 

Discover more at Allendale Brewery.

2)  Glebe – Gluten Free beer

Most of you will know Glebe as the makers of Glebe flours and other gluten free cereals. But often people forget that they also make a great gluten free beer, Pathfinder.

Did you know that during World War II a Mosquito aircraft crashed into the fields at Glebe Farm whilst attempting to land at RAF Wyton?  No? Well this inspired them to name the beer in remembrance to the heroes of the Pathfinder Force who lost their lives. It’s a brown hoppy beer (330ml Alc. 4.2% Vol) and we think coeliac beer lovers will enjoy it.  You can order it direct from their website here.

3) Greens – Gluten Free beer

An old favourite of ours. After diagnosis this was the only beer we could find in mainstream supermarkets.

Sadly they have disappeared from many high street supermarkets which we think is a mistake, especially as they do 9 gluten free beers!  And no – we didn’t know that either until we visited the show! The good news is that you can buy it from http://www.gluten-freeshop.co.uk/  Plus Green’s beer is THE beer of choice for Pizza Express’s new gluten free menu that launched on the 30th May. And our pals Gluten Free Guerrillas have blogged about it and the new menu here.

 

Discover more at Gluten Free Beers.

Our hero product!

Voakes Quiche / Pie
We couldn’t decide they were both so good! If you’re anything like us you’ll often long for a nice crisp pastry or a nice quiche.

After all much like finding a great gluten free bread, pastry is the next holy grail for us Coeliacs. When we got home we tucked into the Feta and caramelised onion quiche and the chicken pie. The crust on both was amazing. We all agreed that they were ‘proper crusts’. In fact if we didn’t know better we’d be tempted to wonder if they really were gluten free – that’s how good they were!

 

They told us,

We spent ages over the last few years to perfect a gluten free product range to be proud of. We hope our Free From range combines our passion for gluten and wheat free pastry. We believe in combining our generations of commitment with the highest quality home reared pork.

Sadly Voake’s aren’t yet sold in any venues in Newcastle yet. They’re based in Yorkshire so if you know of somewhere that is looking for great gluten free savoury products get in touch with them!

 

Discover more about Voake here.

Brands to watch…

Allendale Brewery – Pale Ale

As above we feel sure that this will be a hit when launched. There’s no predicted retail price available at the moment but their website will be updated with news as soon as they launch fully. So keep your eyes peeled!

Discover more visit their website here.

Frank – Health bars

The Frank food company has an interesting story. It was founded in 2012 by former Everton footballer Neil Robinson.

All their bars are ‘Free From’ gluten, dairy, nuts or seeds. We learnt that the aim was to create ‘honest food’ without compromising on taste. We loved their Blueberry bar which has a fudge like texture and look forward to trying the rest that we bought. A great product for when you’re hungry on the go and need something healthy to nibble on. Look out for Frank bars at your local Planet Organic shop.

Discover more here.

Gluten Free Kitchen

This is a dedicated bakery that creates gluten, wheat and dairy free cakes, puddings, savouries and bread.

All of their products are additive and preservative free – which we love to hear. We tried their cakes and love them. Look out for them popping up in shops soon.

Discover more here.

Taste Club

If you want to find out more about Taste Club and the venue then have a look at these handy links…

 

http://tasteclubhq.com/collections/gluten-free

Or buy the products online here  http://tasteclubhq.com/search?type=product&q=gluten+free

 

Twitter: Follow @TasteClubHQ It’s THE club for northern foodies

 

The CastleGate

Melbourne Street Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2JQ

Tel: +44 (0)191 233 2288

Email: enquiries@thecastlegate.co.uk

[By our Coeliac in Newcastle reporters: Niamh, Fiona & Jessica]
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