At the very tail end of last month, I had the absolute honour of being a judge at The Free From Awards at the Royal College of Physicians in Regents Park, London, now in its 10th year. And, WOW what an evening to remember- with oodles of fantastic nominations across a variety of different categories, it was no mean feat to decide on an overall winner.
Seeing so many deserving, friendly faces all under one roof really is one of the best feelings about being a judge for the Free From Awards. I get a genuine buzz from seeing how genuinely excited the winners are because they all have so much invested in what they are doing and trying to achieve.
Working as personal/ private chef and food consultant covering not only Leicester but the whole of the UK, I spend my days, and nights, surrounded by delicious, wholesome food and undoubtedly love being a part of this fantastic organisation. Therefore as you can imagine, being asked to be a judge at this year’s event was the icing on the cake for me!
Taking this all into consideration I wanted to give you a little low down into who was crowned as the overall winner this year and who was pipped to the post.
The Winner of the FAIR trophy for the Best FreeFrom Food 2016 was awarded to the very worthy winners- BFree for their gorgeous Sweet Potato Wrap
Building on the popularity of sweet potatoes in recent years, The BFree Sweet Potato wrap is the first of its kind, and tastes absolutely delicious, no questions asked! Free of all of the major 14 allergens, BFree have created something completely new and delicious, which has been described by the panel as ‘enormously versatile, beautifully soft and pliable, a lovely warm colour and tasting delicious’.
And to top it all off, BFree’s Sweet Potato wraps are only 96 calories per wrap, but really pack a punch when it comes to taste – ‘just what a freefrom ought to be!.’ While they low in calories, the wraps also have no added sugar and are a good source of fibre and antioxidant Vitamin E making them the perfect lunch time treat or on the go snack.
‘I would normally expect a wrap to be bland but this adds a really interest and flavour of its own. Beautifully pliable, great colour – and so freefrom! Brilliant for lunch boxes.’
And now to the very worthy runners up:
Green's Dubbel Ale
Bottle re-fermented and naturally gluten free, Green’s Dubbel Ale is the latest edition to the range of beers created from ancient grains to create gorgeous tasting ale. The dubbel style originated in Belgium, possibly as a “second style” offered for sale by monastic breweries and still makes for the perfect ale, regardless of all the years passed! Green’s Dubbel is the world’s first version of this style produced from ancient grains and boasts all gluten-free ingredients and so it’s no wonder they enjoyed great success at this year’s awards!
‘Very dark with a hint of a rich aroma. Rich, rounded taste – deceptively mild but with a strong alcohol hit. Good mouthfeel – typical Belgian dubbel.’
Naturally Coconuts Mint Choc Chip
Unrefined, low GI, crazy healthy with absolutely no added colours or artificial flavours, Naturally Coconut’s Mint Choc Chip ice-cream really is something rather special! Taking the best organic coconuts and transforming their into yummy ice cream, sweetened with unrefined coconut sugar, Naturally Coconut’s ice cream is perfect for vegans, is 100% organic and without question, utterly delicious!
Made with love in beautiful Cornwall, Naturally Coconut’s Mint Choc Chip ice-cream is perfect for kids and adults alike! So, don’t miss an opportunity to try their highly sought after flavour at a freezer near you- you’d be crazy to miss out on this one!
‘Exciting product, super quality cacao and great, complex flavours. Mint is impressive, chocolate almost harsh but it works.’
West Cornwall Pasty Gluten and Dairy Free Traditional 'Everybody' Pasty
The only pasty to make it onto the runners up list, the famous Traditional Cornish Pasty is both Gluten and Dairy Free, packed to the rafters with Traditional tastes of Cornwall and encased in a perfectly perfect hand crimped crust.
Beautifully made in a dedicated gluten free factory which has all checks and measures in place to avoid gluten ever entering the factory, this very delicious pasty stays free from cross contamination, making them absolutely spot on for sufferers of Coeliac Disease and those needing to avoid Gluten and Dairy. Not to be missed this one!
'Amazing to be free of so many allergens but still be a really good pasty! Nice pastry, good and meaty – and available at train stations!’
Yau's Thai Style Satay Sauce
Gluten free, low fat and 100% delicious, Yau’s Thai Style Satay Sauce delivers authentic, fresh-looking Oriental food experiences in a bottle to enjoy in your own home, without the guilt or worry! What’s more, with no MSG and no artificial colourings or preservatives, Yau’s Thai Style Satay Sauces are produced in the UK and therefore support the local economy and businesses, adhering to strictly controlled standards for total peace of mind.
'Really fresh & spicy with a real kick – lovely. Brilliant to have a nut free substitute for satay which tastes just as good – if not better! Great fresh simple ingredients list.’
And last but by no means least in celebration of the Awards 10th Anniversary Clare Marriage of Dove Farm Foods was crowned as the Awards’ Freefrom Superhero. The huge contribution that the Doves Farms flours and foods have made to the Freefrom industry over the last ten years has been recognised by the whole judging panel and I’d just like to pass on my own congratulations on this fantastic award!
I myself wholeheartedly agree with the comments in terms of how far the industry can progressed over the last decade. Everywhere you look now there are fantastic equivalents to standard products- all delicious and often healthier than the originals so it’s no wonder the UK and the rest of the world are supporting the growth in Freefrom Foods! Long may this continue and I very much look forward to being a part of this fantastic movement for many more years to come, should I be so lucky!
Here to help you
If you would like help, advice or suggestions in terms of cooking delicious, home cooked meals suitable for those allergic to allergens, get in touch with me today and I will happily provide helpful advice and food consultancy from the comfort of your own home. Alternatively, as a private/ personal chef I am on hand to prepare and cook meals for you, saving you the time, effort and hassle of trying to create allergen friendly dishes for you and/or the whole family.
I am here to help so don’t delay, get in touch today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling now on 07789 326 547. I look forward to hearing from you.