The Free From Festival London is the UK’s first gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free food festival. It is a successful food festival which incorporates free from food and live music and makes for an enjoyable day out. The latest Free From Festival was based at Old Spitalfields Market London. It had a large array of dairy free, gluten free, paleo and vegan foods to try, with the odd tea company thrown in for luck. I have been very lucky to attend the previous festivals in my official capacity as a food and tea blogger. So when I was asked if I would like to have press tickets I of course graciously accepted. It was an amazing day out and I had the opportunity to try a range of fantastic foods and tea. So here is a snap shot of my day at the food festival.
What immediately struck me as I arrived was the size of the festival and how it had grown. I had to wait in a queue to get in. In fact the festival had proved to be that successful that it was old out and people were being turned away. I showed my press pass got my goody bag and tried to plan my day. At this stage I to confess to still being a state of surprise as too much it had expanded. So I took it all in did a bit of people watching and listened to the fab entertainment that was on offer. Here’s a snapshot of what I saw during the day.
My first stop was Eat Safe app to see Matt and his girlfriend. She is soya intolerant and has found this to be highly restrictive when eating out. So Matt helped devise the Eat Safe app as part of his masters degree. It is in its beta testing stages and will hopefully be available for all to try later this year. I’m sure that this app will prove to be very successful. Here’s a link to their website http://www.eatsafeapp.co.uk/
Onto the food. I love my mid morning snack it is part of my everyday routine. I popped along to The Protein Ball Company. Their snacks were created because the struggled to find clean healthy protein snacks. They are made from dates and cashews with a few extras thrown in. All of their flavours are gluten free and sugar free but only two are vegan. I tried the lemon and pistachio. The balls themselves were slightly firmer in texture when comparing them to similar snacks. On my close up sniff test they certainly had that familiar smell that I associate with this style of snack. I could smell the subtleness of the lemon and pistachio. On biting into the ball I liked the texture, it was initially slightly firmer than similar snacks that I have tried followed by a soft slightly gooey texture. As for the flavour the lemon was apparent but not to overpowering it worked well with the pistachio. I really enjoyed these snack balls, they make a nice change from a snack bar.
One thing I like to enjoy is fresh bread. I discovered Manna Vida. They had a variety of breads to sample all were gluten and dairy free. I sampled both their herb focaccia and their garlic & rosemary focaccia. I was suitably impressed it passed my sniff test. It smelt like a freshly cooked focaccia and the subtleness of the herbs was spot on. As for the garlic one the garlicky aroma was certainly present but intermingled nicely with the rosemary and was not to overpowering. The bread was light and springy and airy in texture. It was like eating a regular nice regular focaccia. I have to say it is one of the nicest free from breads that I have tried and I’m a tough critic. I just had to buy a packet of their earl grey & lemon bread to take home and try.
Continuing on the bread theme I have to confess to not liking any vegan spreads to date, I just don’t like the aroma or flavour. I often use mayonnaise instead or olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a dip for fresh bread. I was intrigued when I came across Pepo Papa pumpkin seed oil from Hun Foods I tried both the rustic and refined oil and preferred the rustic version. I dipped some plain bread in it and was pleasantly surprised. It was like my balsamic vinegar and oil dip but much nicer. It had a slightly nutty flavour and was smooth in texture. I was sold and treated myself to a bottle, this will become my new accompaniment to my fresh bread. I am looking forward to drizzling it over the recommended salad.
Of course I had to seek out the tea stalls. My new tea discovery this year was Macha Now. It’s a tea company that set up in the UK this year but has been trading in America for a while. It’s made from ceremonial grade matcha. The tea comes in a plastic bottle so its easy to have on the go. In the cap you have the matcha which you twist and this adds it to the water, you give it a shake resulting in a dark green drink. Of course I just had to sniff and taste this tea. It smelt like a regular green tea aka a grassy meadow but a lot more intense in aroma. On sipping it that grassiness hit my taste buds. I would describe as strong good quality cold green tea. It had a slight punch to it whilst being nice and refreshing at the same time.
Before leaving I opted over to see the guys at LEGGERO a gluten free Italian kitchen based in London. They were selling their freshly made pasta. Sadly, I couldn’t take any as I wasn’t heading home to late that day. I do hope to pop into their restaurant in the near future as I was gutted to not be able to make their launch earlier this year.
I had another fantastic day at the Free From Food Festival and would recommend it to everyone. So thank you Free From Events for my press tickets I really appreciate it. I can’t wait for the next food festival.