By Carolyn Neff

This feature is a little different this month, focusing on national virtual events you may like to “sample,” rather than a local business. As always, the post reflects our appreciation for the companies and institutions mentioned and is not sponsored. Enjoy these terrific events!

1. From the Experts: “All Things Celiac”

Logos of National Celiac Association and Harvard Celiac Program
The Harvard Medical School Celiac Research Program and the National Celiac Association are co-hosting monthly 75-minute Zoom webinars in 2020. “Celiac Disease and COVID-19” is the topic for Wednesday, September 23, with Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Jonathan Li, director of the Harvard University Virology Specialty Laboratory. Moderator is Dr. Alan Leichtner, director of the Celiac Disease Research Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Register for the September 23rd webinar.

2. The Online Nourished Festival

Nourished Festival logo

The Online Nourished Festival is taking place September 24-26 and is free and accessible to everyone. With in-person events canceled this year due to the pandemic, the Nourished Festival team wanted to find a way to continue helping the specialty-diet community connect with gluten-free brands.

Attendees can discover new products from over 270 exhibitors, get coupons, enter giveaways, chat with brands and watch dozens of educational classes—all from home. More classes will be offered compared to past in-person events and all sessions will be recorded for on-demand viewing.

The Nourished Festival began over 13 years ago as a way for people to take classes and try gluten-free products. It was founded as the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo by Jen Cafferty, who is still the company’s CEO. “As many of our customers began incorporating other specialty diets into their lifestyle beyond gluten free, we shifted our name to meet the times,” explained the company.

Every brand the Nourished team partners with is still gluten free, but many more specialty diets are now incorporated, including keto, paleo and plant-based. Pre-pandemic, in-person Nourished Festival events were held in locations across the United States several times a year.

While live snack sampling is not an option right now, brands are encouraged to offer sample and pre-packaged items. Some brands, including Barilla and Wasa, will offer free full-sized samples to the community. 

The Nourished team has had to make some big changes during the pandemic, but they hope to host a live or a hybrid model in the future.

The company’s mobile restaurant finder app, Find Me Gluten Free, also saw a shift with many diners opting for takeout or delivery. The Nourished team is working on a products database, compiling recipes and creating cooking videos to help the app community beyond just dining out and travel.

Visit for more information and to sign up for festival updates. Follow me @eatingwithelise_ during September 24-26 for a virtual trip to the Nourished Festival.