As 2012 winds down I thought it was time to wax nostalgic and take a look back at some of my favorite gluten-free moments of the previous twelve months. First off, thanks to all my readers for once again making this a truly amazing year and I have thoroughly enjoyed all the comments and questions so many of you took the time to send – and keep them coming.
So let’s take a look back at some of the products and experiences that helped make my year truly fabulous and delicious.
In January I was all about Euforia Thousand Layer Cakes and their Civet coffee. I am all about small gluten-free companies helping to change the gluten-free product landscape. These cakes are truly unique and simply delicious. Being married to a Bermudian, I tend to spend a fair amount of time there so thought it was time to start a Gluten-Free Guide of some of my favorite gluten- and food allergy-friendly favorite places. In the nearly fifteen years I have be frequenting the islands there has been a tremendous influx of products and overall awareness that has taken place.
Glutino’s Gluten-Free Parmesan Bagel Chips helped make February all the more delicious. I had tried the plain before but these cheesy bits of goodness were quickly a new favorite of mine. February was also the first time I ever recommended a cookbook but was impressed with gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and egg-free cookbook from Tami Credicott, The Healthy Gluten-Free Life.
El’s Medleys new Cheddar and Sour Cream and Onion flavors were a pleasant surprise in March. Another new find yielded adult sodas that didn’t come with all the proverbial baggage that most mainstream varieties do. Spindrift Sodas provided a natural approach to a previously guilty pleasure that I would very rarely indulge in. It also helped that they made for perfect mixers for more adult-type cocktails.
April showers yielded, what was for me, one of the most amazing gluten-free finds that helped address a HUGE void that had been in my life since my diagnosis many years ago – great gluten-free beer. Yes, there seems to have been an explosion of companies trying to get on the gluten-free bandwagon but I can count on one hand the number of brands that actually taste like the real deal. Omission Beers became one of my go-to gluten-free beers at first sip. April also saw me venturing south of the equator to Lima, Peru which proved to be a culinary delight that prompted me to begin work on my gluten-free guide to Lima.
Which is a perfect segue into May and my Gluten-Free Guide to Lima. I instantly fell in love with Lima and could easily see why it is fast becoming the culinary capital of the Americas. My three part guide focused on: The Flights (proving you can enjoy gluten-free luxury at 35,000 feet); The Hotel; and perhaps the most important – The Food.
One of my go-to gluten-free brands Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery launched a much needed new product that I reviewed in June – Gluten-Free Tortillas. These come in three different flavors (plain, spinach, and fiesta) and are actually ready to go straight from the package. I had many a wrap during the month and these were gone just as quickly as they came. Another great gluten-free experience was a new restaurant, Rodizio Grill, in Stamford, Connecticut. Now I am not typically a fan of chains but the owner of this restaurant happens to own several locations of The Melting Pot in the area and those locations go above and beyond to meet the needs of their food allergic diners.
July yielded yet another small local gluten-free business, Butterfly Bakery, that creates delectable gluten-free treats with a range of muffins and pound cakes. On the snack front, I came across Two Moms in the Raw Granola which are amazing gluten-free granola bars that worked great in my gluten-free contingency packs that I take on the road with me while travelling.
Columbus Foods surprised me with a salumi selection in August, all of which were gluten-free, and truly delicious. These were artisanal gluten-free at its finest. The assorted flavors and types were so versatile and were served at a few of my entertaining evenings and were a hit with both gluten-free and non-gluten-free alike. Another summer find became a bit of an obsession with me and that was Late July Organics Multigrain Tortilla Chips. Their Dude Ranch flavor quickly became one of my go-to chips – now if I had just found them in, oh, say late July, that would have perfect. If it’s the end of August that means I am heading to Montreux, Switzerland for some hardcore relaxation…
…and upon my return in September, I usually have tons of new gluten-free finds. This year’s trip yielded so many new surprises that I created a Gluten-Free Guide to the Swiss Riviera complete with a look at how SWISS International Airlines Business Class handled gluten-free. Some standout European finds included: Laboratoire du Fournil Le Sarissans Organic Chocolate Fondant and Les Recettes de Céliane Bâtonnets Chocolat au Lait. September also saw me going gluten-free in Dallas, Texas where I was able to enjoy a gluten-free sandwich at Subway and, for the first time since my diagnosis, a real gluten-free chicken fried steak at Company Cafe.
November found me taking a moment to re-visit my Celiac journey after there seemed to be increased swirl about what it meant to be gluten-free and some of the he said she said types of media discussions taking place. I wanted to just take a moment to capture what being gluten-free meant to me from a celiac point of view.
At now to the gluten-free present. December was jam-packed with work and the holidays but there was one gluten-free product that completely floored me and that was yet another small gluten-free artisanal baking company reaching out to me – Luce’s Gluten-Free Artisan Bread Mixes. This literally changed everything for me and produces the most amazing gluten-free loaves of bread I have ever pulled out of my oven. Hands down, this was the most innovative gluten-free product I came across in 2012.
So that’s a (very) quick re-cap of my gluten-free year and here’s wishing you a healthy, happy, and most importantly delicious gluten-free New Year.