I recently attended the Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event in Winston-Salem, NC. Nikki Everett, director of educational events and trade shows for the gluten/allergen-free community, invited me to join her blogger team for the event.
The night before she hosted a dinner at Midtown Café & Dessertery for everyone. Dinner was awesome! The waiting staff was very accommodating of our allergies and took care of any special requests we had. It was very comforting dining with others who share the same allergies as me.
Their gluten-free menu was a little overwhelming at first. It's rare that I have so many different options to choose from when I eat out. I ended up ordering the Big BBQ sandwich. It came with their house cooked slow roasted pulled pork, apple BBQ sauce, and southern slaw on an Udi's bun with a side of fruit. If you're ever in Winston-Salem I highly recommend checking this restaurant out! During dinner, I had the pleasure of meeting two amazing bloggers, Tracy Bush and Tarah Jakubiak. They're more experienced bloggers so it was nice to pick their brains and get some feedback.
The festival was the next day. It was very informative and fun! There were about 50 vendors in attendance and 7 presentations. When I first walked in there was a nice display of samples from Enjoy Life, WowButter, and Lundberg Family Farms. I also saw a couple of familiar vendors such as Dolci di Maria, Gigi's Cupcakes, and the amazing JP's Bakery.
Enjoy Life is a brand I was already very familiar with. The sample they had on display was the Cocoa Loco Chewy Bar. It was my first time trying that product and like many other Enjoy Life products, I was not disappointed.
WowButter also handed out samples. For anyone dealing with a peanut allergy, it is an excellent alternative to conventional peanut butter. Not to mention it tastes great!
The Lundberg samples were a generous size bag of their Antique White Quinoa, Tri-Color Blend Quinoa, and Wild Blend Rice. I was first introduced to Lundberg at Nikki's event held in Charlotte and fell in love with their Santa Fe Barbeque Rice Chips. Since then I find myself looking for them each time I'm in the grocery store.
Dolci di Maria sent me home with some tasty treats as well. I tried the Very Vanilla and the very delicious Pear Fudge Cake which was so moist and very flavorful. I really enjoyed the Morning Spice Pancake Mix which was a huge hit over Father’s Day Breakfast. My father never tries anything gluten-free but he sampled these pancakes and he enjoyed them.
I had a great time talking to Gigi's Cupcakes. They had many gluten-free flavors available and even had a non-dairy Carrot Cake Cupcake for me to try that was very moist and tasty. The icing was perfect with just the right amount of sweetness to it.
One of the gluten-free communities favorite brands JP'S Bakery was in attendance as well. They had all their bread on display, including the Hawaiian rolls and their savory loaf bread. I was excited to try their vegan & dairy-free cinnamon roll which turned out to be so delicious. My gluten-free friends know how hard it is to find a good cinnamon roll so this was like heaven. They had an assortment of different pastries also. I tried the Vegan Pineapple Crumb Bar and it was amazing, to say the least.
Garden Lites was in attendance, sampling their Superfood Veggies Cakes, Chocolate Muffins, and Blueberry Oat Muffins. I love their Chocolate Muffins, but my new favorite is their Blueberry Oat Muffins.
Brasstown Chocolate had their nut, soy and gluten-free and vegan chocolates on display. They were several flavors to try, such as Brasstown Blueberry, Brasstown Chili, and Brasstown Sea Salt. As a chocolate lover, this booth was one of my favorites.
NutriMom had an excellent display, with samples from The Greater Knead, SeaBuck Wonders, Gluten Free & More Magazines, SunButter, and MadeGood Granola Bars. Tracy was very sweet and even put together goodie bags for the other bloggers.
There were many samples inside the bag. Natural Peppermint and Natural Ginger Tummydrops, a natural lozenge to help with upset stomachs were included. SeaBuck Wonders Himalayan Sea Buckthorn Exfoliating Facial Cleanser was also in the bag. Their products are vegan, non-GMO, paraben, cruelty, dairy, wheat, and gluten-free. I can't wait to try this facial cleanser soon. A large bag of The Greater Knead Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Chips was in there also. This was my first time trying this brand and I'm already hooked. SunButter, another great peanut-free alternative to peanut butter, were included as well.
Aside from all the samples I tried, I especially enjoyed speaking with the vendors promoting gluten-free home & skincare products. Scented Balance presented body butter and balms for all different types of skins as well as aromatherapy products. I have the Citrus Sunshine Room Freshener, an energizing and uplifting spray that smells amazing. Shannon with Healthy Home 123 provided us with Renew Intensive Skin Therapy Lotion. This product is great and provides long-lasting moisture to the skin. I tested it on my eczema flare-ups and it soothed that area immediately. Naturally, Me Products was there as well. They provide natural skin care for dry, sensitive, and eczema prone skin. I tried their LemonGrass Oatmeal Soap made with gluten-free oatmeal. This soap is very soothing and I noticed a difference on my skin within a week of using it.
After the event, my husband and I decided to grab a bite to eat before heading back to Charlotte. We stopped at a restaurant called River Birch Lodge. The customer service, cleanliness, and the food were amazing. It was a great way to wrap up the weekend. I was blown away by the separate gluten-free menu they offered. There were many different options to choose from, but I decided to get the Lodge Wings. It’s very hard to find gluten-free wings and they did not disappoint. While waiting for our food, the waitress asked my husband if he would like some fresh bread. He said yes of course. She then turned to me and asked would I like a couple slices of their toasted gluten-free bread. This was my first time being offered this and my face lit up.
My weekend in Winston-Salem was such a good experience. It was my first time blogging for an event and I’m so thankful for having the opportunity to do so. The festival was a ton of fun and I learned about so many different products. If you guys have any questions about any of the products or vendors please feel free to reach out. I will keep you all up to date with any upcoming gluten-free events.