Gluten Free Expo 2016 takes place this weekend

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      Known as Canada’s largest gluten free event, the annual Gluten Free Expo returns to Vancouver this weekend with even more products and exhibitors than before.

      The event will be held at Vancouver Convention Centre East (999 Canada Place) this year (January 16 and 17) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., which is a big step up from its previous venue—the Croatian Cultural Centre.

      There will be around 150 booths featuring 300 to 400 gluten-free products, and most will be available for sampling and purchasing. Some of these products include ice cream, popcorn, pastries, ciders, and much more.

      “There will be some really good show specials happening on the show floor that you won’t be able to find anywhere else,” said Margaret Dron, the Gluten Free Expo event producer, in a phone interview with the Straight. “This year is bigger than it has ever been before, and we will have more things to showcase and provide to consumers.”

      Registered dieticians, doctors, chefs, and leading experts will be available to answers any itching questions you might have in mind. The Canadian Celiac Association will also be onsite. 

      Event Highlights

      Some of this year’s event highlights include a newly introduced cooking stage, fully equipped with a complete kitchen for celebrated chefs to do some cooking demonstrations.

      Award-winning chef Hamid Salimian will be showing guests how to make a homemade mushroom and truffle sauce. Other renowned chefs will also be making appearances and demonstrating gluten-free recipes, such as handmade gluten-free pizza. Don’t worry—you won’t be left hungry during the event because the creations will be offered to audience members to taste test and sample.

      A gluten-free beer aisle will also be set up at the expo, and guests will be able to try beer from Bard Beer, Daura Damm (imported gluten-free beer), Glutenberg (gluten-free craft beer), Lonetree Cider, Mongozo Premium Pilsener, and Whistler Brewing Company.

      The kids won’t get bored at the expo as there will be a 600-square-foot area for kids to play in—twice as large as last year’s set up.

      “For kids, it is challenging to understand their own dietary restrictions,” said Dron. “It is great for them to know that it’s safe here and there’s nothing they can’t eat.”

      People who have purchased their ticket to the Gluten Free Expo will also have access to the homesteading expo taking place in the same venue. Booths in the homesteading area will provide tips and advice to help people grow their own food.

      Vancouver Food Bank

      The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is the gluten free expo’s choice of charity, and each year the organizers like to use this event as a way to rally up food donations.

      “Every year we continue to raise money for the food bank, and attendees are encouraged to bring food for donation,” said Dron. “Gluten-free food is typically more expensive than non-gluten-free food, so it is harder to get gluten free food by food banks.”

      The participating exhibitors in the expo will donate any leftover food to the food bank, leading the way as gluten-free food donors.

      People who work for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank will be accepting food and cash donations at the expo. All proceeds will go towards the food bank.

      Advance tickets ($12) can be purchased at London Drugs until January 15 or online. Tickets at the door ($15) are cash only. Children ages 10 and under get in for free.

      For a detailed list of exhibitors and more information, click here.