Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mary's Gold Crackers

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The above picture shows renowned chef Jacques Pépin with Mary's Gone Crackers co-founder Mary Waldner at this summer's Fancy Food Show hosted in Manhattan by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade's (NASFT). At the food show, Mary's Gone Crackers won the Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation, Gold Award for Outstanding Cracker of 2008.

Yes, that's right: Gluten-free crackers got the gold in the cracker category! Will wonders never cease? (I hope not.)

While they were in town for the food show, Mary and her husband and partner, Dale Rodrigues, hosted a dinner (chaperoned courtesy of publicist Rachel Kay) at the GFRAP restaurant Lumi that was attended by myself, Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Fun and the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group (NYCCDMG), Nancy Lapid of About.com, and Cynthia Beckman and Dr. Peter Green of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University (CDCCU). While we waited for our orders, we munched on sticks and twigs piled atop our table. That might sound a little primitive unless you know that Mary and Dale recently branched out and added Sticks & Twigs to their product line. The "gluten equivalent" of these hearty and crisp snacks might be sesame sticks—so keep them in mind for dips and appetizers as well as attacks of the munchies.

A funny thing about our get-together was how some of us were virtually bubbling over with ideas about Mary's Gone Crackers—they should be vitamin fortified, they should come with something to educate people about what "gluten-free" means, etc. But the bottom line is that Mary's Gone Crackers are fine as they are—and that Mary's Gone Crackers has a very good track record in terms of working with reputable gluten-free causes, including the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF).

In fact, I think I first tasted the crackers because they'd been donated as refreshments at an event featuring Dr. Green (more recently, Sticks & Twigs samples were in the goody bags at the recent "Chill and Grill" CDCCU fundraiser in Queens), but the products really won me over after I used a coupon to buy some for myself at my local health food store. A 13-cracker serving contains 12% of the daily value of dietary fiber, 6% of the daily value of iron, and 4% of the daily value of calcium. And, as I've just learned this week, the Herb flavor goes well with peanut butter.

I've also heard some musings of combining the crackers with chocolate, but I haven't gone there yet.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Coeliac UK (CUK) named two winners in its Gluten-Free Chef of the Year competition, part of its Food Without Fear campaign. Vanessa Scott, of the Norfolk hotel-and-restaurant Strattons, won with her cheesy Twice-Baked Binham Blue & Potato soufflé [PDF]; Christine Bailey, a journalist and chef trainer [see article here], won with her Apricot and Orange Polenta Cake [PDF]. Catering student Sophie Haskins received "outstanding achievement" recognition for her Oshi Sushi [PDF].

Congrats to all!

Photo courtesy of the NASFT

2 comments:

CeliacChick said...

Glad you guys had a nice time that night. I couldn't make it.
How do you find this stuff out...like about Anne Lee? : ) I miss her already!

harpseal said...

Onion Mary's Gone Crackers goes wonderful with pineapple or hazelnut cream cheese! (Panera Bread is my Fave!)