A Sainsbury’s freefrom Christmas Dinner

I was very lucky to be invited recently to Sainsbury’s HQ for a freefrom Christmas Dinner. Since Christmas is now next month it was high time to share the night with you.

We arrived to be greeted by the lovely Sainsbury’s team with drinks, gluten free canapes and…..a fully decorated Christmas tree. In October! Well if you’ve got a theme, go for it right? After introducing ourselves to the group which included each of us telling a secret fact about ourselves (one of our number could speak Swahili, very impressive!) it was off to the Sainsbury’s test kitchens in pairs to prepare some of the dishes for later. I had the pleasure of cooking with Penny who writes Penelope’s Pantry. We made a tiramisu which was really easy to make using allergy friendly ingredients from Sainsbury’s.

It was then back to taste the fantastic allergy friendly Christmas meal. Apart from a rather mighty looking turkey I really enjoyed the almond nut roast, fantastic roasted veggies, including my favourite parsnips. However, the particular highlights for me were the vegetarian stuffing mixes which I absolutely loved (will have to contact the team to ask for the recipe) and a pilav served with harissa. Everything was completely delicious.

After the Christmas dinner feast we were treated to a huge selection of allergy friendly desserts, including the tiramisu Penny and I had made. My favourites were the plum crumble and chocolate profiteroles. Yum!

Also at our FreeFrom dinner was Kirsty Henshaw who you might have seen on Dragon’s Den securing funding from Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne for her Worthenshaws Freedom allergy friendly desserts. She has an interesting story and real drive for her business – well worth checking out her story on the website. I tried some of the chocolate dessert and it was delish.

It was very interesting to meet the Sainsbury’s freefrom team. They’re a dedicated product development team and their goal is to be the leading provider of allergy friendly food in the UK. The whole Sainsbury’s team worked hard to put on a great event and I was impressed at the team’s motivation to produce a wide range of freefrom products. So what else did I learn? Well, Sainsbury’s are going to be launching an app for your iPhone soon which you’ll be able to use to check allergy information via the product’s bar code. Definitely something to watch out for.

The evening was also a fantastic opportunity to meet other gluten free / allergy bloggers. I was really pleased to meet Kate from Postcards From a Gluten Free Life (whose other half rather randomly has the same job as Mr D and she gave me some great recommendations for gluten free dining in London), Robin who writes Source it, cook it, eat it (who told me his first blog post some years ago was about how to chop an onion) and the fabulous Pippa The Intolerant Gourmet (who had that week just got an agent and a book deal, HOW exciting!). The room was full of really interesting people and it was a big shame I didn’t get to chat to everyone.

It was a really fun evening so a big thank you to Sainsbury for inviting me.

Just like real Christmas, after an amazing and very filling meal I rolled home to the sofa clutching presents from Sainsbury’s. A goody bag, yay!

Coming up next: Review of Sainsbury’s freefrom Iced Rich Fruit Slices from the goody bag.

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