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Melksham Gluten Free Food Fair expected to be biggest ever

MELKSHAMAssembly Hall’s annual Gluten Free Food Fair will be held later this month, and is expected to be the biggest ever.

At the fair on Saturday 22nd November, more than 20 companies will be offering their products to taste, share and buy. The event, which will run from 10.30am to 2.30pm, is being organised by the Bath and West Wilts branch of Coeliac UK, by way of Adrian Bass.

Adrian said, “Everyone is welcome to come along and see and taste the latest gluten-free products.

“We began the fair in Bath nine years ago, and have moved to Melksham  Assembly Hall where we have free parking and much more floor space. They accommodate us very well here and it gets bigger every year. We often have in excess of 600 people attending, and this year we have more exhibitors than ever.

“Coeliac disease affects one in 100 people in the UK, and it’s thought that there are about half a million people undiagnosed.

“Something a lot of people don’t know is that it’s  is a serious auto-immune disease – not an allergy. Eating gluten, a protein found in cereals such as wheat, rye and barley, causes damage to the lining of the gut and means the body can’t properly absorb nutrients from food.

“However, that doesn’t  have to rule out a host of tasty, nutritious foods such as meat, fish, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, rice and most other good things.”

Adrian began the fair with his wife Edith, who has coeliac disease. Edith said, “Diet is tremendously important in managing the condition; you simply can’t afford to get it wrong because it can make you seriously ill. Sticking to a gluten-free diet presents a huge number of challenges. Gluten-free ranges in supermarkets are often saturated with sugar and salt to try and replace the taste, so they aren’t very healthy. Eating out is difficult, but is becoming easier because many places are introducing gluten-free menus, or at least dishes. It’s also hard because a lot of people get the impression it’s a fad diet and don’t take the condition seriously.”

Among a host of producers and retailers taking part are Juvela, Lifestyle, Dietary Specials, Red House Foods, Gluten Free Foods, Innovative Solutions, Somerset Sausages, Christine’s Puddings, Drossa, Nairns, Bistro Express, Perkier Foods, Warburtons, Green’s Beers, Udis, Hop Back Brewery, Bath Bakery, Baked to Taste, Thornleys and Voakes Pies.

Dieticians from the Royal United Hospital in Bath will also be there to offer expert advice. Admission is £1.

For further information visit www.coeliac.org.uk/local-groups/bath-west-wilts/