Gluten-Free Holiday Shopping

This morning we got started bright and early to purchase our Christmas tree at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk, CT. It’s a fragrant, tall and skinny balsam…perfect for the spot in the living room.

After we found our gorgeous tree, we went food shopping. Stew Leonard’s is a regional grocery store with top notch butcher, dairy, fish selection, bakery and produce. My kids never go shopping with me, but they enjoy Stew Leonard’s for all of the “food demos.” The celiacs in my family rarely get to sample much. Today, however, was different.

Stew Leonard’s is set up in maze fashion, which is pure marketing genius since shoppers must wind through the entire store to get to the check out. Trust me, extra stuff always ends up in the cart…even more so with four kids in tow. As I rounded a corner, familiar gluten-free packaging caught my eye. On the shelf was Gilbert’s Goodies! As I was pointing them out to my son and picking a few packages off the shelves, Liz Gilbert appeared.

I re-introduced myself because we had met each other at the Colin Leslie Walk in Rye, NY. The first time I met Liz, she was selling her products at farmer’s markets and by word of mouth. Liz inspired a little section called “Baker’s Dozen” in Gluten-Free Living because I thought it would be good to promote new bakers in the process of building their clientele.

Gilbert’s Goodies had a little write up in New for You in the Vol 8, #1 in the first section of “Baker’s Dozen.” Then something exciting happened for me, I saw Gilbert’s Goodies in Whole Foods in White Plains, NY. It means a lot to me to see entrepreneurs succeed and I hope Gluten-Free Living played a tiny part in that.

But, I digress! It was a thrill to see a gluten-free food demo in Stew Leonard’s. My son was excited and another guy rounded the corner and exclaimed “Wow, gluten-free cookies, that’s one less stop I have to make today.” It turns out the gentleman in charge of food demos at Stew Leonard’s, Joe, is a recently diagnosed celiac.

Joe was struggling to figure out what he could and couldn’t eat and I had him write down my website. In the meantime, he was a little sad because he was also setting up a garlic bread and lasagna food demo today…foods that he loved but could no longer eat.

I explained to Joe that in time, he would figure it all out and be able to replace the foods he loved. He had already taken a proactive step by introducing a gluten-free product to his store.

Our tree is now in a bucket getting a large drink of water, the groceries are unpacked and we’ve already opened up all the baked goods. Congratulations to Liz! For more information on these places, click on these links Gilbert’s Goodies and Stew Leonard’s. I hope everyone has a gluten-free happy moment during this holiday season!