Eating cake, sipping hot chocolate and tasting fajitas – it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! Last week I sat down for the day to judge the Free From Food Awards for the second year running.
If you’ve ever seen the logo on products in your local supermarket, this is how it gets there. The Free From Food Awards have been running for 10 years now and celebrate and encourage innovation in the free from market. It is an honour to be involved with the awards and everything they stand for.
This year some of my fellow judges included Vicki from Free From Fairy, who knows a bit or two about developing a free from products, Cookbook author and publisher Grace Cheetham and Diana from The Gluten Free Centre.
We sampled over 60 entries in the storecupboard category and tasting that many products isn’t quite as glamorous as it might sound – there are only so many sauces and gluten free breads your stomach can comfortably handle! – but it is brilliant to see the array of items stocking our shelves.
We judged each product on a number of factors including taste, texture, product need, innovation and nutrition. My particular favourites were a vegan, gluten free carrot cake cake mix and a very useful gluten free and dairy free bread sauce mix.
There are 19 categories including a new ‘No Top 14’ and I can’t wait to see who takes the titles this year. The shortlist will be released on 8 February and winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 28 March.
Michelle Berriedale-Johnson who created and runs the awards, has also produced a fabulous new cookbook, Freefrom Itlaiana, with Anna Del Conte. Italian food is a favourite in our house – my husband’s grandparents were from Sicily – so it is lovely to see some authentic recipes with a freefrom twist. A lot of Italian cooking is naturally freefrom and these recipes explore some of the best, as well as explaining how to make even more dishes without gluten or dairy.