Small Bites: The Gluten-Free Fair is back and bigger than ever

Looking for more ways to live without gluten? The Gluten Free Expo and Information Fair, sponsored by Ingles Markets, takes place on on Saturday, March 24 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Asheville.

"This year we have 55 confirmed vendors and we usually try to get a mix of national vendors, nonprofits and locals," says Ingles dietitian Leah McGrath. "We have people like Dolce de Maria, World's Best Carrot Cake, and some new people like Roots — their hummus is going to be in our store come summertime." It's the largest selection of vendors yet, says McGrath. "It keeps growing — but we're not really concerned about having the biggest fair, we just want a quality fair with vendors that we think are really going to help people find alternatives to products containing gluten."

Gluten-free beverages and breakfast meats, breads and desserts will all be available for tasting — and safe tasting at that. This year, vendors are required to provide allergy information, useful for those with a severe gluten intolerance. "There's a lot of different shades of gluten-free," McGrath says. "There [are facilities] who use gluten-free ingredients, [those] who have a dedicated gluten-free facility and [those] that don't have a gluten-free facility, but take special precautions. So we've addressed that."

Cost to attend the fair is $5. For more information about the expo and other gluten-free events happening that weekend, visit http://ashevillegig.org.

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