A show in a place like Kensington Olympia that claims to be all about helping people find things they can eat sounds like a brilliant idea that will be crammed full of tasty things.
But that whole thought process seems to only apply to the event if you are intolerant to gluten. If like me you went along because you are allergic to ground nuts, tree nuts, peanuts, most legumes (kidney beans, peas, chickpeas, the list is endless) and soya then you are pretty much screwed.
Basically every stall was focussing on being gluten free which is fine but that meant a lot of them were using things I could not eat as a replacement. I am the sort of allergic to things that mean some of them will make me sick pretty much instantly (black beans and mung beans I am looking at you) where as other things will just make me feel a bit queasy and puffy for a few days so I picked my samples carefully.
I should have known it was going to be a disaster for me by looking in the freebie bag at the start and realising everything had nuts or soya in (apart from the drink). How anything other than gluten free friendly eh..
The show itself was interesting and there were some great stalls there and I certainly found some new brands that I am going to be looking into in a little more detail but on the whole it was completely pointless for me. Perhaps they should just re-brand it The Gluten Free Show because that was how I felt when asking what stuff was made of and them saying red kidney bean powder or chickpea flour or me looking at the lists of allergens and it saying nuts and soya over and over again.
There also seemed to be a focus on vegan and vegetarian which again is great and completely possible for people that only have a gluten allergy but, as I have discovered for myself in the past, if you have the allergies that I do it is pretty much impossible (you cannot get protein from beans and tofu etc). So I had hoped that there would be things in there like pretend falafel that did not actually contain chickpea or there would be discussion of a way, other than eggs, that people like me could get all the nutrients they need. Sadly not.
Basically the whole event was a bit of a fail for me. I, as expected, ended up feeling pretty ill that night and the following day after consuming things that I should not have done (but if I had not then I think I basically would have sampled nothing at all apart from beer – I do not even like beer..).
If you have a gluten allergy I would highly recommend you go to one in the future but otherwise there is very little point. Over the next couple of weeks I will do a review post on some of the things I sampled or ended up grabbing information on but please bear in mind most of them made me terribly ill so my positivity will be limited.