Gluten-Free Cooking Spree: Appetite For Awareness!

Boy, has it been one amazing weekend! Not only did I get to visit my cousin in Philly, but I also had the pleasure of attending the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness – Appetite for Awareness. This was an event that I had been literally looking forward to for months, and was so excited to be able to finally attend.

From the moment I woke up I couldn’t stop smiling. I knew the event would be wonderful, but had no idea what to expect. 1PM couldn’t come soon enough! I was excited to meet up with fellow gluten-free bloggers, excited for delicious gluten-free food, and was thrilled I was able to share this experience with my cousin who is also gluten and dairy free.

Although being gluten-free does not define me, I love being a part of this community. As I walked to the event and saw the line to get in, I was amazed, {even more excited}, and felt a sense of happiness that I feel when I am surrounded by members of the gluten-free community. The gluten-free community has been a place where I feel so connected to others, a place where I feel as though I don’t have to explain anything, and is a community I have so much passion for. You know when something leaves you with a good feeling inside? This is how I feel when I am surrounded by members of the gluten-free community.

Everything about the event was wonderful. it was hard to pick one moment that was my absolute favorite because honestly I enjoyed every second. However I am going to share with you some of my top moments and favorite finds of #A4A12:

1. Sharing this experience with such a special person: To be able to share this experience with my cousin was amazing. We share many things in common, and although I never considered myself a “foodie” we concluded this weekend that I am one! She just moved to  Philly for school so it was wonderful this event allowed her to discover so many restaurants that are gluten-free friendly!

2. Connecting with old gluten-free friends and meeting new ones: One thing I love about gluten-free events is it gives me the opportunity to connect with some of my “social media friends.” It was great to see Amie of The Healthy Apple and it was wonderful to catch up with Erin of Gluten Free Fun. I am so glad I also bumped into Maureen of Hold the Gluten and the honorary guest, Michael of Gluten-Free Philly. I have been listening to Maureen’s podcast since day one and Mike gave me great restaurant recommendations on a recent trip to Philly!

3. Being surrounded by such amazing food, that was SAFE!: There were so many great foods that were being showcased at #A4A12. Whether it was a gluten-free company such as  Udi’s, Rudi’s, 1-2-3 It’s Gluten FreeWay Better Snacks, or local restaurants in the Philly area such as, Melograno , Brodo, or Jar Bar.

Top 3 New Favorite Finds: Crunchmaster’s Grammy Crisps, Sweet Note Bakery Bagels, and Taffet’s Bakery – Breads.

Top 3 Favorite Restaurant Booths: Food for All, Pure Tacos, Pasta Pomodoro Ristorante

4. The excitement and happiness I felt: With everything that has gone on during the past few weeks it was wonderful to escape it all, and was exactly what I needed. I’m on such a “high” and am so grateful for this experience.

5. Meeting up with a family friend: School has felt different without certain people on campus. It has especially been different without members of what my family likes to call the “Royal Family”; a group of families that are part of my brother’s swim team. Since our family friend is a local doctor he attended the event and we were able to catch up. I even caught him decorating  gluten-free cupcakes!

6. Having the opportunity to sit down with NFCA founder, Alice Bast: I couldn’t have asked for a better way to close out the event! Between all her behind the scenes work, I had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with Alice. It left me truly inspired. Don’t worry, I want to spread the inspiration with you all, and will be writing about this experience in an upcoming post!

From the chef demos to the food, this event truly showed you how wonderful gluten-free foods are. Congratulations and thank you to the whole NFCA staff for putting on such a wonderful event. I can’t wait for the next one! To learn more about this organization visit their website, or find them on facebook and twitter.

Did you attend #A4A12? What was your favorite part of the event?

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