You read that right – I found a gluten free street food festival. Okay, perhaps I didn’t find it – the lovely people from one of my #foodie Meetup groups, The Gluten Free London Club (check them out if you like to eat out gluten free and want some company), found it. They found this festival a bit last minute and put up the meetup last minute….but I’m so glad they did because even though I was not able to meet them at the time they were meeting, I did reach to Camden Lock Market and enjoyed an excellent gluten free lunch of fish and chips, with a side of gluten free empanada and a glass of fresh watermelon juice. Sounds good? Read on to see what else was there.
Now advertise something gluten free and (I assume) like all gluten free people, you get ridiculously excited. Add the words “free” and “Whole Foods” and we come running (am I right?)…at least I do. So I made sure that I got to Camden Lock, even though I have crowd anxiety and had to fight the crowds on the road outside of Camden Lock market, got lost in the market (I did not realize that it was so large, nor did I realize that there were so many “yards” in Camden Lock? BTW where is the actual lock?!). I wanted to go to this (obviously).
So I went to the main food market that I knew about, assuming that it was there, but I was wrong….I did, however, walk around and find a few stalls that looked interesting – there are one or two that are gluten free naturally so I urge you to go searching…and no, I did not get photos because, you know me, I forget…plus that area was really crowded and I was hyperventilating a bit.
Anyway, I tweeted the lovely ladies at the Whole Foods booth with a desperate little “where are you?!!” just a minute before I turned around and saw a little green tent waaaay down from where I was with a “Whole Foods” written on it. I had found it. Whoopee!!! Gluten Free goodness here I come! It was a teeny little street food festival, but like everywhere in Camden market on a Saturday afternoon, it was quite crowded, and with good reason – there were some awesome restaurants and products put on display that day and all of them were emitting some super-yummy smells. My first stop was not Whole Foods, however, but rather, Romeo’s Gluten Free Bakery.
Romeo’s is a little gem of a bakery that I had discovered the weekend prior while strolling through Angel. Okay, fine – I had gone to Angel for a reason and googled Gluten free in Islington and there it was…it was a bit further from where I thought I was but it was definitely worth the walk on a beautiful day. That day had resulted in me buying one of their small olive bread loaves. I had the idea of olive bread stuck in my head since going to my gluten-eating cousin’s home and seeing them eat a gluten-filled version. I was a little jealous because it just sounded so amazing….and after trying the gluten-free version from Romeo’s…..well let’s just say I’m addicted. Luckily, there were still some bread loaves at the Romeo’s stand, and I immediately grabbed the last olive bread, as well as a sun-dried tomato bread. They were both large loaves, but they’ve been sliced and frozen for when I need ’em!
Then I went to the Whole Foods tent where two of the most gorgeous ladies I’ve ever seen were behind the counter – they had not started their demonstration yet, and were quite busy, so instead of chatting immediately, I checked out what they were selling at the stand. The first thing I noticed was the Free’d gluten free crackers. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently tried these lovely crackers and am in love (In fact, today on another outing out into Central London, I picked me up some avocado hummus, just for those crackers!). If you see them at Whole Foods – definitely pick them up – I’m loving the sesame seed and chia ones. Also on display were Biona products, The Living Food Kitchen granolas, Orgran pancake mix and others. Whole foods were also selling gluten free pizza, which my new friend from @GoGetGlutenFree, completely enjoyed (unfortunately there was dairy on it so I didn’t have it – yes I was being good that day). The lovely ladies at Whole Foods then did a demonstration on how to make millet risotto cakes, which I ate without taking a photo (as I seem to tend to do recently – sorry 🙁 ). They were lovely, crunchy, savoury little bites – the millet acting just like rice in risotto, the carrots and courgette/zucchini giving a little veggie surprise and was just oh so good that I sorta wished they were selling that for lunch instead of just demonstrating it!
What I DID have for lunch was gluten free fish and chips with a side of gluten free beef empanada. Yes. Not a very healthy sounding lunch, but definitely a yummy one – and yes, I forgot to take a photo….but this does bring me to a pet peeve. We’re at a FOOD festival. There were so many people there that I snuck into the the covered area by the entrance to one of the Market’s entrances only to have a lady next to me blow smoke right into my face as I was taking my first yummy gluten free bite. Lady. Really? So I moved cause I figured, if she was rude enough to blow smoke into my face, there was no way she was going to. I went to the other side near to the bins (because that was the only other place that smoke was NOT) only to get a dirty look from another lady who was eating. What I didn’t notice was that this second lady had a lit cigarette in the hand I did not see. after a little while, in the middle of me tucking in with my fingers (cause of course I forgot to grab a fork…), she leaned around me to throw her food containers and breathed a lovely cloud of smoke directly into my face as well.
Now if you want to smoke, that’s your business. Non-smokers like me have learnt to live with you smoking on the streets and throwing your used cigarette butts as if they will just dissolve into nothingness instead of getting wet and gross and mouldy on our public streets. At the very least, I believe that you can keep your smoky remnants of your habit away from my food. Please. I would say away from me but then that would discount many, many, MANY of my friends (who do smoke) and I don’t want to do that. If you smoke, please be aware of people and actions around you. Your actions do affect others.
Anyway, after pretending the smokey instances did not happen, I decided to take a second round and hit a few more stands including chatting with the lovely ladies from AmbuTree. I did not buy anything from them this time, but if you ever catch them at a gluten free food fair or festival, they are worth visiting. They have these amazing flavour pots that you can buy in bulk and freeze for a quick and yummy and gluten free weeknight (or weekend) dish in no time…just add your meat. My favourite of theirs is the Chinese Five Spice sauce, but they also offer a hot Tandoori sauce and a mild Tandoori sauce – both of which are quite tasty. They are usually cooking something at their booth, so if you’re a sample-loving-gluten-free-foodie, you will love them. Oh, and my gluten-loving husband loves their sauces too, even after I told him it was gluten free!
The (Annual?) Gluten Free Street Food Festival at Camden Lock market was a great experience – and I loved meeting all the ladies and gentlemen from the establishments that took place. No, I did not meet all of them – there’s only so much a gal can eat(!!), but if I could have I would have tried everything – including the yummy looking treats at Cupcakes and Shhht (all gluten free!) who I BELIEVE are regulars at Camden Lock Market, along with a few other great not-so-secrets like the popular Cookies and Scream.
Anyway, for your information and enjoyment, here is a list of some of the people who were at the festival and how you can contact them on Twitter, should you have any queries.
- Whole Foods Market – @WFMLondon
- Louisiana Chilli Shack – @LouisianaChilli
- Feed Me Primal – @FeedMePrimal
- Maize Blaze – @maizeblaze
- Sonita’s Kitchen – @SonitasKitchen
- Cupcakes And Shhht – @CupcakesnShhht
- Romeo’s Bakery – @RomeosGFBakery
- Ambu Tree – @AmbuTree
- El Patron Mexican Food – @ElPatronUK
- Olley’s Fish Experience – @OlleysFishExp
- Bratwurst Brats – @bratwurst_brats
- From The Earth – @ftestreetfood
- Savoire Fayre – @leracshack
Oh, and just cause I actually remembered to take some – here are a few more photos of the festival for your enjoyment. Do you know of any other upcoming gluten free festivals or fairs in the UK that I could check out?
**I was not compensated in any way by any of the businesses or products mentioned here, nor their representatives.**