Have you ever bought a product labeled gluten-free, vegan, or any other descriptor that promotes making an alternative diet easier, yet it ends up tasting like cardboard? With or without eating restrictions, everyone wants food to taste good. Many products fail at this mission, but some succeed. Lucky for me, I was introduced to four companies (listed below) that made diet- and allergen-friendly food palatable. Good bye snacking on cardboard!
Now We’re Cookin’, a food incubator and culinary space in Evanston, hosted its second tasting panel, and I was extremely excited to be a guest. A group of fifteen bloggers from the Chicagoland area and I were all ready to taste the main attraction: diet- and allergen-friendly food products. We began seated around a table discussing our own blogs while tasting Kitchfix’s cashew yogurt and granola.
A plethora of Bearded Brothers’ energy bars, in flavors like coconut mango and orange kale, lined the table, ready and waiting for us to munch. The packages to all these snacks were covered with words like “paleo,” “gluten-free,” “vegan,” but from the taste, I would have never guessed they were intended for a niche consumer.
Next we entered the full-fledged, you-wish-this-was-yours, kitchen where we split up into teams to cook pre-measured meals from D-ology’s pizza dough and Modern Table Meals pasta sets. These products were very easy and quick to make. I secretly wish it took longer just to have a reason to stay in Now We’re Cookin’s kitchen, it's that pretty, folks. The pizza crust was made from almond flour, but I would not have known that if I wasn't at a gluten-free tasting event.
The pasta was made from vegetables and beans, but the texture was so similar to semolina wheat pasta, that I would not have missed the “real thing.” The bloggers did agree that if we were making these meals at home to feed family of four, we would add some fresh vegetables to bulk up the gluten-free and (mostly) vegan pasta varieties.
Every company featured at Now We’re Cookin’s tasting panel supported real, unprocessed ingredients in their products. Their corporate missions were even greater - supporting healthy lifestyles and making diets easier to follow with great food. I suggest you check out the companies and their products at your local grocery or health foods store, you won’t be disappointed. In addition, go ahead and check out Now We’re Cookin’, along with their tasting panel series, they offer a ton of events, commercial kitchen space, and workshops that can really open your eyes, like they did mine, to food and food companies.
Have you tried any of these products? Let us know what you think by commenting below or sending us Tweets or pics on any of our social media sites. Don't forget to tag @Foodseum and use the hashtag #FeedYourCuriosity for a chance to be featured.
You can find Jessica Ang in the kitchen experimenting with a new ingredient, replicating a recipe, or eating the last cookie in the jar. Much of her love for cooking comes from her curiosity to explore different cultures. Being able to share what she learns through cooking, tasting, and traveling is what keeps her palate adventurous. Also an avid runner, Jessica loves being outdoors and can be seen running through her neighborhood day or night. She always appreciates a good patio for dinner and drinks and is willing to bake birthday cakes for anyone.