As seems to be my practice, here is my report about the Gluten Free Party I went to last weekend — Saturday, September 20th. It was a great event that introduced me to even more people, Celiac awareness and gluten free recipes!
To start at the beginning, we arrived at the Affinia Hotel on 7th Avenue in New York City and found a large ballroom filled with gluten free vendors including Erin Smith, a Celiac awareness spokesperson and champion (click here to read my previous post featuring Erin), Michelle from WhippedPastry Boutique, and Kyra Bussanich of Cupcake War fame. Kyra was the first and only gluten free cupcake winner on this Food Network show.
Kyra was kind enough to take some time and speak with me about being gluten free and shared her Celiac journey. She was diagnosed at 27 but prior to her diagnosis the straw that broke the camel’s back was when she was advised to remove her intestines to alleviate her pain, discomfort and illness. Wisely, Kyra thought to try a less invasive method — food elimination — and discovered her gluten intolerance which lead to her diagnosis. Today, she’s healthy and successfully running her gluten free bakery. Oh, and a snagged a copy of her cookbook Sweet Cravings! The cupcakes look sooo good!
L to R: Me, Kyra Bussanich, Arianna, Madison
I also saw GW Garcia Chips at this GF Party and the rep shared with me a great Columbian/Venezulian food to make called AREPA which is easy to make. Here’s a great Arepa recipe from Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen featured on Guy Fieri’s Triple D. The GW Garcia rep also told me about a restaurant that sells arepas called Caracas; there’s one in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) and one on the Lower Eastside in the City.
Of course, Schar was on site and had an awesome table for targeted for children at the event. They had tables set up for coloring t-shirt giveaways and gluten free cookie decorations and tons of gluten free honey graham crackers for the taking. This is where Arianna (my daughter) met Madison, a very cute 4 1/2 year old. They played together for practically the whole time we were at the GF Party!
There was also a table for labeling your gluten free utensils, pans, and take-out containers. If your household is only gluten free the labeling is not as critical. However, if you are in a mixed household — like I am — labeling your pans, utensils and plastic containers as gluten free is a stupendous idea. I picked up the round silicon tags that I will be placing on the brand new pans I’m going to purchase! The tags are dishwasher safe too! The company is called Gluten Free Labels: Label it. Tag it. Flag it. The company is owned by Kelly LeDonni who was diagnosed with Celiac in 2008.
I have to give a major shout-out to Michelle of Whipped Pastry Boutique in Brooklyn, NY. Michelle’s desserts and breads were moist, delicious, melt in your mouth good!!! The chocolate s’mores were unbelievably soft and decadent. I could not believe her baked goods were gluten free and, in many cases, dairy free. She is even going to have a line of cake mixes for the retail market soon so be on the watch out for them! If you need a customized cake for a birthday, or other occasion just give them a call and she will work with you on design and ship it out to you so your baked goods arrive fresh and tasty! (Yeah, she ships!!!) Here’s Michelle with my daughter — oh, and see the chocolate s’mores below their picture. Again, the s’mores are to die for!