By Megan Stulberg
Free samples are a foreign concept to me. I work in a patisserie and at least once a day I’ll have a customer say something like, “Wow! How do you not get fat while working here?” or “I bet you love eating all the samples!” and a few times I would answer their questions by explaining Celiac disease but gave up when eyes started to glaze over.
The third Gluten Free Garage took place last Sunday. Over 60 vendors showcased the best gluten-free foods in the GTA and there were samples available at nearly every table. So I was obviously very happy about this. I brought a friend with me who somehow suffers from even more food allergies than I do, and we both left the event full and free from belly aches.
Click here to read more information about the event in an interview I conducted with GFG founder RonniLyn Pustil.
The market was held at Artscape Wychwood Barns. It took about an hour for me to check out every table because the event space was packed with people. Curse Gluten Free Garage for being so beloved!
After navigating myself through the crowd I decided to stop at Chocosol’s table for a taco. Chocosol‘s fresh corn tortillas are organic and non-GMO. I opted for the vegan option: local and organic black turtle beans, mushrooms, greens and Mad Mexican salsa.
Second stop: Tori’s Bakeshop. Tori’s Bakeshop offers a large selection of gluten-free products and all of their products are dairy-free, egg-free, casein-free and refined sugar-free. A cake-sized doughnut was on display for a contest and I’m seriously regretting not entering it. We opted to buy a slightly smaller version for ourselves. Pink glaze and white sprinkles: too cute and too good.
Every vendor I spoke to was extremely friendly but the two sushi chefs running Akasaka‘s table blew me away. I chatted to one of the chefs about the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, as I ate there when I visited Japan earlier this year. Part of what makes an event with a specific focus like the Gluten Free Garage so enjoyable is the comfortability between vendor and customer.
Akasaka Japanese Restaurant and Teppanyaki Steak House operates in Richmond Hill and offer many gluten-free options. I sampled a freshly made avocado roll smothered in gluten-free soy sauce. Mmm…too oishii!
I’ve mentioned Bunner’s Vegan & Gluten-Free Bakeshop twice in previous Fat Girl Food Squad posts. That’s how much I love this bakery. Bunner’s had a variety of cupcakes, cookies, savoury pockets and other treats available for sale at the event. I opted for what I usually get: a delectable date square, gooey and warm like it should be.
Saigon Soul Food‘s table at the event was run by owner Tâm Nguyen and her mother. Their whole set-up was very sweet and welcoming. Saigon Soul Food offers a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes, available both fresh and frozen. My friend Alex bought two fresh rolls wrapped in rice paper and stuffed with tofu and veggies. After having a bite of hers I ended up buying an entire jar of Saigon’s plum sauce to take home because yeah, it was that good.
Other favourite vendors include Queen B Pastry, Sol Cuisine, Antipastos Kitchen and Magic Oven. A complete list of vendors can be found on Gluten Free Garage’s website. Without a doubt, I will be back next year. I can’t wait! Be sure to follow Gluten Free Garage on Facebook to keep up to date with the organization’s updates and future events.
All photos by Alexandra Courts.