Saturday was a big whirlwind of busyness! The main portion was, of course, The Coeliac Society of Victoria and Tasmania's Gluten Free Expo for this year. It was held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and was well-attended by exhibitors and visitors alike.
So we started the day with a strong cup of coffee before heading to the Exhibition Centre. I've always enjoyed going there - it's right on the Yarra River and just has gorgeous surroundings.
We got really lucky - after last years expo, we filled in a survey to improve it and then about a week before this weeks expo (around the time the tickets went on sale), we got an email informing us that as a thank you for filling out the survey, we got a couple of complimentary tickets for this years! Epic Win :)
The crowds were pretty insane right from the moment the doors opened. The aisles were pretty packed with people and the crowds at each stall were crazy, but there's something about being there (regardless of the busyness) and knowing that they're all there for the same reason as you (plus a majority - if not all - are Australian Brands!).
For me, the natural first place to go is to Naturally Gluten Free, who were stocking HOT JAM DONUTS!!! Zomg, so amazing - just like the "normal" ones from years ago haha however, nobody else shared this sentiment, so I left them to be boring and went and got my donut :D
We then made our way around and experienced some new products, but (in my honest opinion) more importantly caught up with some old friends. Like "Uncle Rick". He is Rick from Rick Grant's Seasoning Mixes. We adore his Wedges mix, and if it were easy to get it here in SA, we'd eat wedges a lot more! However, this time around, I got his cakes and dessert cookbook :)
Next up was Brookfarm. I have eaten their Muesli for a while - my local Foodland stocks it all the time. Then last year before winter, they released a Porrij (Porridge haha) and I devoured that all through winter. This year at the expo, they had all new trail mixes which were pretty damn good!
And last, but certainly not least, was Melinda's.
We have had a long standing friendship with Melinda. I first met her 4 years ago at my first expo and she was lovely! Over the years, I've caught up with her numerous times when she's come here to promote new products. We've gotten so close, that if it's quiet, she'll wander the store with me while I do my shopping! Then last year, I actually won a competition through her company and won an iPad!
Melinda's is also a 100% Australian Owned company. In fact, I'm fairly sure that is her Dad helping her out above and below, as I've seen him at other events as well :)
A special mention must go out to Annabel from the Bikkie Dough Co. I briefly met her last year, but as we were driving back home, we couldn't find a safe way of getting her frozen Bikkie Dough back home. But having flown across this year, we contacted her again to get her thoughts. She said that as long as they were kept below fridge temperature, we would be able to re-freeze them. So we took Ice Packs and freezer bags across with us and got her to keep some aside for us to pick up at the end. We got incredibly lucky with Annabel as she is so lovely and was so helpful over the entire process of pre-ordering everything. Plus, we got super excited about her releasing biscuit mixes at the show as well!
We also got pretty lucky with our hotel - they put all of our frozen goods with the freezer bags in their kitchen's freezer until we were ready to head off to the airport! What good service!
After all the excitement of the expo, we left at around 2ish and headed back to the hotel to dump our bags and have a pick-me-up coffee. BTW: Holiday Inn on Flinders St's cafe do a wonderful coffee!
We then headed off down along the Yarra and headed back to the DFO to get a few things we didn't get yesterday. We then headed towards Albert Park to get to a wool shop Mum had heard about on Facebook called Wool Baar.
That night for dinner, we had decided to wander down South Wharf and see if anything caught our eye that we could eat at, and if not, we'd head back to Il Primo Posto.
However, upon wandering along South Wharf, we didn't actually find anything that mentioned anything about Gluten Free...so we just went back to Il Primo Posto. We even had the same waitress, who - to her credit - remembered us and our dietary requirements! But this time, I decided on what was my second choice the night before and what I wish I had actually got the night before - Spaghetti Bolognaise!! Side story, my sister is not a big fan of noodles, so it is very rare to have this at home, so I was very happy I chose to get it :) :)
After heading back to the hotel and grabbing a coffee, we unpacked everything we bought before roughly packing to get ahead for the following day. Here is all the food I bought;
So, what I got was:
- Yoghurt Bites and Choc Banana Bites from Food for Health
- Fruit Cereal, Florentines and Mince Pies from Kez's.
- Tomato and BBQ Baked Beans, Sticky Date Pudding Mix and Lentil and Quinoa Mixes from Celebrate Health.
- Rick Grant's Dessert Cookbook
- A couple of boxes of Corn Crunch from Simply Wize
- A couple of packets of Tasty Bite curries.
- A couple of Brownie Mixes from Melinda's Gluten Free
- Trail Mixes from Brook farm
- Baguettes by Dr Schars.
- Biscuit Mixes and Frozen Biscuit Dough from the Bikkie Dough Co.
- Different flavour Wafers from Eskal
All of these make me so excited to try them all out :)