Everyone has their own way of going about their judging – but this was how most of the chocolate judges did it! Although some created a rather fancy pie chart into which they fitted each sample. To our disappointment, although much to the delight of the chocophiles, ‘Confectionery’ did turn out to be entirely chocolate. Excellent though the chocolate was, there are many other sorts of sweets that food sensitive people like to eat – so come on you manufacturers! Offer them up!!
However no shortage of interesting entries in Week 2. In our new Milk Alternatives category, for example, we had cashew cheeses, drinks made from black rice, from flax and from a mixture of rice, buckwheat and quinoa, Greek goat’s kefir, lactose free mascarpone and blue cheese and rice yogurts. Here are Nathalie (Intolerant Gourmand) Emma A (FreeFrom Farmhouse) and Emma H (Love FreeFrom) checking some of them out.
Sweet-toothed judges who had opted for the superly-well-supported-this-year TeaTime! category did slightly regret their enthusiasm once they reached the thirtieth sample and knew they still had eight to go….
Here are Kate McBain and Tom Treverton (of the Allergy+ FreeFrom Show) looking little dubious about their 34th sample!!
Although there were a number of excellent products entered into TeaTime! we were rather disappointed that out of the 38 entries only 15 were milk free – a somewhat retrograde step, we felt, after the great move forward in desserts where 22 out of 24 entries were gluten, wheat and milk free.
The Bread category, however, fully lived up to our expectations with a really great range of both high street and artisanal breads – all gluten and a number all-14-top-allergens-free. They included buckwheat and ‘rustic’ sourdough loaves, seeded bloomers, olive loaves, garlic loaves, naan bread, wraps and baguettes as well as sliced breads and table rolls.
It is really encouraging to see how breads, always the most difficult product to make gluten free, let alone all of the other allergens free, have ‘come on’ over the last few years. Although you could still tell, just, that some of the sliced breads were gluten free, you would have to be concentrating very hard to tell that many of the artisanal ones were. Check out the shortlist on the FreeFrom Food Awards site later in the week to get an idea of what some of them were.
All the week-two categories had their high points but I will just mention one more – then direct you to some of our blogging judges’ sites to see what they thought of the products they tried.
Our new FODMAP Friendly Foods category. This was sponsored by FODMAP Friendly in Australia (where low FODMAP diets were first studied) and we were slightly concerned both as to whether we would get any entries – and as to how we would judge it…. A low FODMAP diet, as anyone who has had dealings with one will know, is not simple!!
However, we need not have worried about either! We had perfectly respectable entry of just under 20 products and under the guidance of the wonderful Dr Megan Rossi, backed up by our own Christine Bailey, we sailed through the judging.
Megan is researching low FODMAP diets, particularly in the context of IBS, at King’s College and we had met her at Food Matters Live last year where she gave a presentation on low FODMAP diets. (For those who are interested, a period on a low FODMAP diet does seem to be very helpful for IBS.)
Anyhow, we are happy to say that the majority of the products entered scored 5/5, Megan’s top mark for being FODMAP friendly. Check out that shortlist next week!
Meanwhile, to get a few other angles on our two weeks of judging – here is a blog from Benjamin at ForEverFreefrom who did two days in week one, a vlog from Emma at FreeFrom Farmhouse and a blog from one of two new judges, Karen from SaferEating, and Finn from Do what you Love. Love what you eat, a blog from Christine Bailey on the Children’s category plus an article from Nathalie on why she thinks the awards are so important. And, just seen, blogs on Love Free From and Freefrom Inspired.
And if you want to know about our post judging party…… just wait for the next blog!!!