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Where are all my gluten free friends? Living gluten free seems like it has become a popular American trend, but many are required to sustain this diet for a healthy wellbeing. If you think back five years ago, when you asked for a gluten menu, chances are you would get a look of confusion. As if you just asked the server a trivia question of some sort. Luckily, gluten free options are popping up all around the Chicago scene including grocery stores dedicated to specific diets like Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s. But, I have something greater than a menu; the gluten free gods are now bringing us the USA’s largest – The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo!

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On April 20th-21st, over 120 national and local Chicago vendors will take over The Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center and transform it into a comfortable tasting for those with gluten and allergen sensitivities. Vendors will not only be offering tastings of their goodies but share knowledge about recipes and general tips about lifestyle. All vendors will have signage indicating allergy information—have no fear! Not only can you sample and purchase some of the products but attend classes about cooking, baking, traveling and saving money.

Some of the vendors you can expect to see are Glutino, Udi’s, Enjoy Life, San-J, Schar, Truebar, Ian’s, Whole Foods, Smart Flour, Rudi’s, Holy Crap, Pamela’s Products, Kinnikinnick Foods, Zee’s Apparel, Crunchmaster, AST Enzymes, Andean Dream, Kiki’s, Health Yip, Freedom Foods, Bella, Zipfizz, Zemas, Surf Sweets, Gluten Free Passport, Hail Merry, Blue Diamond, Lucy’s, Penn Street Bakery, El’s, Tasterie, Lola’s Gourmet Chocolate, The Gluten Free Bar, Farmo, Keeki, Chicago Vegan Foods and many more.

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Calling all early birds! If you want to be first to meet the vendors the doors open at 9am both days for you! Tickets are $35 per adult and $10 for children ages 3-12. For 10am, regular admission, tickets are $20 per adult and $5 for children ages 3-12. For information about The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, go here. Hope to see all you gluten and allergy free friends trying all the new goodies and spreading the love!

Sammi Raines

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