The Specialty Food Awards is a new initiative to support small, emerging Canadian Food Producers who are making new products that are delicious and safe for those with special dietary requirements like Gluten Free, Diabetes, Food Allergies, and more!
25 Finalists from all over Canada will be at the Specialty Food Expo, and every attendee will have the exclusive chance to nominate the recipient of Product of the Year Award by voting for their favourite new product. Your vote could help these products connect with Canadians all over the country!
The Winners of each category will have the opportunity to meet with leading industry experts to help take their amazing products to the next level.
Support you local ‘Gluten-Free Hero!’
Debbie Esposito was determined create a cookie that her food-sensitive toddler Benjamin could enjoy. Many batches of cookies later, Benjamin’s Bites‘ was born, free of the top allergens: gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds or sulphites. Benjamin’s has become the go-to cookie for anyone who loves a delicious treat! Sunbutter, Chocolate Chip and Double Dark Chocolate, Benjamin’s Bites – and now Benjamin’s Bites Brownies – are available at retailers in Victoria, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
The following was excerpted from Thrifty Foods, We Pick BC First – Benjamin’s Bites:
- Debbie discovered her son, Benjamin, had multiple food allergies so she started making him his own cookies.
- Benjamin’s Bites contain no gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds or sulphites.
- She doesn’t have a background in baking, but her mom is an amazing cook, so it came naturally (there was more than one dessert at their house at all times).
- Her cookies were a huge hit at playgroups, so she decided to sell them. She’s now in her third year of business.
- At the moment, Debbie is a one-woman show but hopes to grow the company in the future!
- When Debbie picks Benjamin up from school, she usually has a little cookie for him in her pocket!
- Benjamin prefers to eat his cookies a little cool, but still enjoys them hot out of the oven as well.
- The best compliment she has received is “Oh my goodness, they taste normal”. Her goal was to create an allergen-free cookie that tastes like the ones her mom used to make.
- Debbie’s first job was a childhood educator – for almost 26 years!
- She was born and raised in Victoria, BC.
- If she could take a visitor to BC anywhere, she’d take them somewhere that shows off Victoria’s greenery, like Beacon Hill or Goldstream Park.
- She’s a vegetarian but eats fish once in a while (she is from the coast after all!)
- As well as baking, Debbie loves to cook. Benjamin’s favourite is the Chickpea Daal she makes.
- After a hard day at work, she likes to hang out with her family – go for walks, to the library, or swimming!
- Beyond enjoying her allergy-friendly cookies as a treat, try them in these Thrifty Foods Recipes!
Learn how Thrifty Foods Makes Gluten-Free Living Easier for the gluten-free in Victoria, Vancouver Island and in Metro Vancouver.