The paper chaos that reigned all over the tasting table as the children chose their favourite products for the Children’s Food category of the FreeFrom Food Awards needed to be seen to be believed – but they were very efficient in totting up all their numbers – and very definite in what they liked.
And what did they like? Well, far from going overboard on the chocolates and the ice creams, it was the savoury products that won their favour – and not for the first time. So take note, all those who wish to make freefrom foods for children! Ice cream and chocolate are all very well but what the kids actually want is lots of nice savoury products which look and taste just like what their friends are having. In fact, what they really, really want is savoury products that their friends can also eat and not even realise that they are eating gluten-free or dairy free food.
And, to a large extent, that is what they did get. While in previous years there have been some pretty ‘ugh’ moments, this battle to get their teeth into a rather large lump of chocolate was probably as bad as it got this year!
This is Josh doing the biting, while Eve and Maisie look on!
The children’s judging sessions are run for us by nutritionist and FreeFrom Food Awards judge, Christine Bailey, in her house near Reading, as she is able to recruit a fine collection of judges for us from among her patients. She is also hugely skilled at keeping the show on the road and under control – not an easy task when you have such a wide age range (7 to 16) and over 20 products to taste!
As in previous years, we had a cup cake mix for the kids to make up and here are Josh, Simeon, Christine (in the background supervising), Isaac, Maisie and Oscar mixing up one box of mix while another baking crew did a second box of mix down the other end of the table.
The cupcakes then had to be cooked while we worked our way through a number of the other entries before the kids all piled back into the kitchen to ice them – and then back into the judging room to try them!
Nathan (Christine’s eldest coeliac son, seen here sorting his notes) and his friend, Josh are great at keeping the younger members under control – and are regular attendees at the presentation party in April. Indeed, Nathan was a judge for the manufacturers’ category of the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards last summer. A seasoned campaigner!
And here are Josh and Tom (Cressida’s son who came as our ‘lay’ taster this year) working on their scores after Tom had done a fine job of filling in his score sheets.
Filling in score sheets is a very important part of the business of judging and one that the children take very seriously. Christine has impressed on them how important their scores and their notes actually are as their comments will be fed back to the manufacturers and may genuinely influence what will appear in next year’s awards. Here are James and Tom busily filling in their forms and below them, Eve and Isaac.
But whatever about writing notes, you cannot write notes if you have not tasted.
And here are Simeon, and Oscar and Isaac doing just that…
Meanwhile, James contemplates his next sampling and Maisie evaluates a lolly!
And finally, back with Charlotte and Eleanor who we saw right at the beginning sorting out their judging sheets. I am not entirely sure what it is that they are trying here but, from the look on Eleanor’s face, she was not impressed….
* The Children’s Category was sponsored by Delamere Diary.