The Earth Day Food & Wine Festival is known for its tantalizing array of locally sourced dishes and award-winning wine and they are raising the bar this year ready to showcase another Central Coast secret: that gluten-free can be just as robust and flavorful.
There’s often quite a bit of communication at festivals between attendees trying to avoid gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale). Whether they’re trying to avoid gluten themselves or have friends who are, you’ll hear people buzzing intel to each other like “that booth is serving on a corn chip instead of a pita chip,” or “that soup was thickened with cashews instead of flour,” or “this marinade doesn’t have any soy sauce in it.” Yes, soy sauce – check the bottle in your pantry; odds are it’ll have wheat in it.
At this year’s Earth Day Food & Wine Festival to be held on April 20 (website for more details: http://earthdayfoodandwine.com/ ), the ever-growing list of gluten-free options already includes yummy food from AJ Soups, Negranti Dairy, Carriage Vineyards (salad), BeeWench Farm (spinach salad), Leo Leo Gelato, Nature’s Touch, Fig Good Food, SeaVenture Hotel, Gardens of Avila, the General Store, and baker Maurica Zimmerman.
For Chef Casey Walcott of the SeaVenture, preparing a gluten free offering for the event was a conscious choice because “over the last couple years I have noticed a large increase of people in need of gluten free choices when it comes to dining. When I think of the Earth Day event, I think ‘health,’ ‘sustainability,’ ‘community,’ and ‘being in this together,’ so I keep that gluten free idea in mind when creating a dish.”
Arriving at gluten free from an entirely different perspective is Chef Robert Trester from Gardens of Avila, who’ll be preparing roasted baby beets with toasted buckwheat (not related to wheat, btw). His whole approach to food is “to take great local ingredients and prepare them in a way that celebrates them, without covering up or muddling flavors … This dish was just a natural progression of that — taking the beets and letting them speak, and enhancing the flavors with the accompanying ingredients. It wasn’t necessarily thought out or conceived as a gluten-free dish, it just naturally progressed that way.”
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more about the efforts of our Earth Day Food & Wine Festival Food Artisans to provide gluten free fare. Until then, check some more of those labels in your pantry. You’ll realize what a sneaky little thing we’re dealing with – even as ubiquitous an ingredient as hydrolyzed vegetable protein is often manufactured with grains or products containing gluten.
For more information contact Kyle Beal Wommack at 805.466.2288 or firstname.lastname@example.org.