Camden Lock Gluten Free Festival!
Six weeks ago, a Press Release email arrived in my inbox promoting “London’s First Gluten Free Food Festival at Camden Lock”. Arranged by Sarah of the Louisiana Chilli Shack, there would be a number of gluten-free food vendors in attendance and gluten-free cooking demonstrations were to be given by the Whole Foods Market (who helped arrange the event). A Friday afternoon in the summer spent at Camden Lock eating and drinking? Of course I was going to be there.
I’ve never tried Colombian Food before so my first stop was Maize Blaize where I tried Ruth’s empanadas. I went with the beef variety, with chicken and vegetarian also available. At £2.50 each these were a bargain and were similar in look to Jamaican Patties, with a crisper corn-dough outside and a zesty filling of onions, beef, lime, chilli, coriander and other spices. If this is Colombian food, then it has a new fan.
Onto my old friend Romeos, who had brought along a range of their gluten-free treats and were giving samples of their excellent and deceptively gluten-free lemon polenta cake and brownies. Camden Lock resident Feed me Primal were selling primal and paleo fare including their grain-free flatbread, whilst other offerings included Mini Magoos with their allergen-free cereals, Cupcakes & Shhht with their gluten-free cupcakes and Rupert Street with their Vegan Street Food. Intermittently, cooking demonstrations were given from the Whole Foods Market stall using organic and gluten-free ingredients.
Making sure (for once) not to overindulge, before leaving I made sure to stop off at the Louisiana Chilli Shack, to chat with owner Sarah and try her famous Chilli & Sweet Potato Mash – a bargain at £4.
Sarah has been running the Louisiana Chilli Shack at Camden Lock for the past 18 months. Her food offers an authentic taste of the deep south, largely due to her spending much of her early 20’s living in Louisiana, where she “fell in love” with the cuisine. Sarah’s food is all gluten (and now dairy) free as she, her sister-in-law and cousin have gluten free diets, giving her three good reasons to bring adapt her cooking skills to the gluten-free world.
Sarah discovered her gluten-intolerance last year, when together with her husband she tried the slimming world diet. Due to her hectic lifestyle Sarah found herself constantly turning to pasta, which is unlimited on the diet and soon she found her eyesight began deteriorating. It was suggested she give up gluten this issue disappeared, as well as previous anxiety issues that had been diagnosed as SAD. This fits in with what Coeliac UK Chief Executive told us – there are many symptoms caused by but not traditionally associated with a gluten-intolerance.
It’s good news for us that Sarah has been encouraged to go gluten-free, as it means she can continue to organise these brilliant and educational events – the next one of which has just been given the go-ahead for Saturday November 29th from 12pm – 7pm. Watch this space for more info.