Regular readers will know that each year I have my own little awards ‘ceremony’ where I acknowledge the best products / companies in various categories.
The awards for 2016 are obviously a little late(!) and as my blog posts were few and far between last year, due to a certain little person taking all my attention, the 2016 awards are more a summary of my blog reviews from last year.
Despite my inability to blog of late, it’s great to have had over 58,000 blog views since Not A Trace began. I am also very proud to see the constant stream of views every day even if I haven’t blogged for a while. Thank you to you all!
So, on to the awards / 2016 round-up….
Bristol’s Best Gluten Free Restaurant
Venue 35 in Westbury-on-Trym has hosted the Coeliacs in Bristol group for two Christmas meals in a row now, and myself and Rich have also visited for an amazing gf breakfast. Quite frankly it’s just amazing!
Josh and his team are always very accommodating and love being able to support the coeliac community in Bristol, including sponsoring the Bristol Coeliac UK Local Group’s newsletter.
My review of our first Christmas meal can be found here. The second one hasn’t been done yet and I was unable to do one of our breakfast, but hopefully we can visit again soon and do an updated review!
Best Homegrown (Cornish) Gluten Free Restaurant
Renaissance Cafe Bar & Restaurant in Penzance was the venue I chose to celebrate my birthday and Cornish baby shower in April last year.
They always have gluten free options on their menu and combined with their views across Mounts Bay, it’s a great venue for breakfast, lunch or dinner! You can read my blog review here.
Best Out Of Area Gluten Free Restaurant
It’s always nice to try out new venues, especially ones that are close to family!
O’Joy Bistro in Shrewsbury had only just opened when I visited last year and although it focuses on a vegan menu, a lot of the menu items are naturally gluten free.
You can read my review in full here.
Best Own Brand Supermarket
For the last three years Marks & Spencer has won this category, but things are certainly getting a lot more even in terms of own brand products now, which is great to see!
Although M&S still do a great range, ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have definitely all upped their game. For me I think Sainsbury’s slightly edge it, although that looks like it could change this year given the recent introduction of new products from Tesco.
It’s great to see so many own brand products now and long may it continue!
Best Stocked Supermarket
Sainsburys and ASDA have both won this category before, but surely Tesco has to be the winner now? Although some stores are quite frankly appalling, the big superstores really do have a lot of stock. It’s a shame you often have to travel further to find these stores, but they’re worth it when you get there!
Aldi and Lidl have increased their ranges lately and Iceland have some bits now, so it’s all open for this year’s award!
Best Homemade Cakes
Last year wasn’t a particularly cakey one for me, but I was still able to try out the homemade delights from LoveCakeLisa based in Cornwall.
Lisa takes a lot of pride in her cakes and that comes through in their taste. You can read my review here.
It would be fair to say that I have a bit of a fondness for a certain independent Italian restaurant in Bristol – La Grotta.
Their takings must certainly have gone down since I’ve been on maternity leave, as I was there quite a bit pre baby and introduced a lot of my non-gf friends to its delights too.
The restaurant has been a previous winner of a Not A Trace award, but this year’s is for their dedication to perfecting the most amazing gluten free pizzas!
Best Local Takeaway Fish and Chips
A recent revelation to me was finding out that my local chippy (Georges Fish Bar) sold gluten free fish and chips! Granted it’s only on the first Monday of every month, but that makes it feel more like a treat, so I’m more than happy with that!
Best Out Of Area Takeaway Fish and Chips
Our babymoon last year took us to Windermere in the Lake District, and our hotel was conveniently placed on the opposite side of the road to Vinegar Jones, an amazing fish and chip shop.
Life really can’t get much better than eating gluten free fish and chips whilst looking out across Lake Windermere.
You can read my review here, but if you are ever in the Lakes you really should pay them a visit.
Best Restaurant Fish and Chips (yes, I like fish and chips – I am Cornish after all!)
If you’re looking for a restaurant with stunning views then look no further than Salt & Malt at Chew Valley Lake. Add to the fact that they have a great gluten free menu that not only includes fish and chips but also battered sausages, what more could you want?!
We visited as part of a Coeliacs in Bristol group outing and absolutely loved it.
Best New Products
There are joint winners of this award and both are firm favourites of Not A Trace.
Zizzi and Pizza Express have both added gluten free dough options to their products in the form of garlic bread and dough balls respectively.
Although Zizzi don’t advertise it on their menu (I’m still not sure why?!), they can make a gluten free garlic bread on request and it tastes fab!
Pizza Express have widely advertised their gluten free options and to be able to walk into any restaurant and request gluten free dough balls is a great feeling. Previously being lumbered with a salad just didn’t feel fair!
Best Snack Bar
My final award goes to a set of products that I actually had in the middle of last year, but only got around to blogging about at the start of this year!
LumberJack Bars undoubtedly helped me sustain some sort of energy level in the first few weeks after giving birth. Proper meals weren’t a particular priority at the time, so I relied heavily on snacks and these ones are probably the best I’ve had.
So there we have it, that’s my round-up of 2016 as a coeliac. Congratulations to all of the winners!!
I’d love to hear from you if you agree or disagree with any of my selections – please leave a comment below.
In other news, I am heavily involved in the Bristol Coeliac UK Local Group with launched last summer, so a lot of my time is now taken up with ensuring that the group is a success, so blogging may again become limited, but it’s all in a good cause!
If you’re in the Bristol area and are a member of Coeliac UK I hope to meet you at some of our events, particularly our food fair on the 22nd April 2017!
Thanks for continuing to share my coeliac journey with me!!