The Vegetarian Food Festival is one of our favourite happenings in the city. It’s a fantastic foodie event for our daughter Lily, who has celiac disease, because there are so many healthy and delicious gluten-free offerings—many of them made locally!—that she can indulge in (this photo is from last year’s VegTO). This year we planned on heading out on Saturday but we weren’t brave enough to brave the rain. On Sunday morning the sun was shining as we did the Parkinson’s Walk. But after that Lily was too pooped to head down to Harbourfront Centre so I picked up my aunt Anne (aka Honey, she’s not vegan!), coach and therapist extraordinaire who’s visiting from Vancouver (coachinginanutshell.com), and we headed down to VegTO—with strict instructions from Lily to get some good stuff.
Our first stop: The Simply Bar. (Note: Vendors in this blog post are in order of appearance as we walked the show.) These gluten-free bars are like a healthy rice crispy treat. Key word: “healthy”—each bar contains 12 or less ingredients. Simply Bar’s bragging rights include vegan, high protein, low sugar, non-GMO and free of gluten, casein, dairy and additives. Simply put, they’re really good for you. And, with flavours like cocoa coffee and maple pecan, they taste good too! Simply Choices also makes protein chips and a new sweet protein crunch snack.
We made a beeline to Bunner’s, where we spotted co-owner Kevin MacAllister munching down on one of their vegan, gluten-free baked goods. Who can blame him?
We bought 3 Supersonic Cookies, knowing we’d need all the energy we could get to make our way through the festival. I polished off my cookie before we made it to the next booth.
The words “gluten free” beckoned us to another one of our favourite local companies doing wonders with gluten-free baking, Sweets from the Earth. My aunt Honey couldn’t make up her mind about what to get but I knew exactly what I was after…
Hello dolly! Come to mama!
Sweets’ owner Marc Kadonoff got some words of wisdom off his chest. As long as the cookies are gluten free, we couldn’t agree more.
We all scream for ice-cream sammiches!
One day last week Lily came home from camp feeling sad because it was ice-cream sandwich day. A few days earlier I had received a call from the camp director asking me if there was a gluten-free ice-cream sandwich that they could get for her so she could have what everyone else was eating. I told him about a brand I had heard about that we hadn’t tried yet and where he could pick them up. I felt grateful that he had called and I was happy that Lily wouldn’t feel left out.
So why was she upset? She said that it wasn’t a real ice-cream sandwich, that the outside was hard and crumbly like a cookie instead of being soft like the other kids’ treats. She understood that the camp had gotten that ice-cream sandwich especially for her and she didn’t want to make anyone feel bad so she had wrapped it up and put it in her napsack. This is my seven-year-old gluten-free girl.
A couple days later I’m trolling around on Facebook and up pops a post from Bunner’s Bake Shop with a pretty pic of what they called a “classic ice-cream sandwich” wrapped in tissue and tied with a ribbon—their latest vegan, gluten-free (re)creation, available on weekends only. I had faith in this ice-cream sandwich because, well, it’s Bunner’s and they don’t mess around when it comes to gluten-free baking. Case in point: Their “fauxstess” cupcakes. So Friday rolled into Saturday and we rolled into the Junction.
“It’s a real ice-cream sandwich!”
She would have given it two thumbs up if she wasn’t holding her sammich in her other hand.
While Lily was living it up with her gluten-free ice-cream sammich, I spotted this happy woman coming out of Bunner’s sporting a GFG tote bag! Move over sammich…this gal made my day!
We paid a visit to one of the new vendors who will be at the Gluten Free Garage: Tori’s Bakeshop, a sight for sore eyes on Queen East in the Beaches.
From the confectionary storefront…
…to the eye-catching mason jar lights, Tori’s is not only warm and inviting…
They’ve also perfected the gluten-free version of this Canadian staple!
Franny goes pink-a-licious with sprinkles on top.
I have my eye on a chocolate glazed.
On a more savoury note, this is the Best. Cornbread. Ever.
Sisters and official GFG taste-testers give Tori’s fresh-baked goodies four thumbs up!
Tori’s is not a gluten-free bakery but they take enormous precaution to ensure that cross-contamination does not occur. They are well aware of the importance of this, they have an extensive list of practices and strategies about it for their staff, and they clearly list all ingredients on a tag next to each baked good. As such I consider their bakery to be celiac friendly. Lily has enjoyed their delicious baked goods on several occasions and has felt nothing but tummy love.
To celebrate, I picked Lily up from school at lunchtime and we had a date at Cocoa Latte, our favourite gluten-free-friendly restaurant in the ‘hood.
Then it was back to school, where we shared a box of cinnamon sugar donuts from Bunner’s Bakeshop with Lily’s class. She and a friend are gluten free, another girl in their class is dairy and egg free, and the entire school is nut free. I was reluctant to bake something at home…just in case. Thank goodness for Bunner’s! Lily and her friends gobbled up these finger-lickin’ fresh baked babies. Yes, a vegan, gluten- and nut-free donut can taste this good!
Lucky for us, some kids in Lily’s class didn’t show up to school. After dinner the birthday girl made a wish and blew out her candles. We sang happy birthday and then enjoyed some leftover donuts for dessert. Hey, you only turn 7 seven once.
Me and the birthday girl xo
Bunner’s is returning to the Gluten Free Garage on April 28th with their famous gluten-free and vegan baked goods!
How sweet it is
to be loved by you.
First, Bunner’s Bakeshop made the “fauxstess” cupcake—its own gluten-free vegan version of the iconic Hostess Cupcake. And now, in time for Valentines Day, their newest creation: the gluten-free vegan version of the famous oversized Treats cookie! Nobody does retro or yummy like Bunner’s.
The cookie made Lily’s day, and she made mine.