Birthday parties, meetings, events, get-togethers… what do they all have in common? Food. But not just any kind of food – large trays filled with finger-food like chicken fingers and nachos, or Italian favorites like chicken parmesan and pasta. The theme here? Neither are very gluten-friendly, which tends to make otherwise joyous occasions seem not so joyous.
Gio’s Gluten Free, a catering company based out of New Jersey, is the solution to all of us gluten free folks’ prayers. Gio, son of Gio’s founder, Alison Giardina, was diagnosed with Celiac at age 5. After watching Gio be unable to participate in family events and social functions that involved food, and having to watch his every move due to his severe reaction to even the slightest cross contamination, Alison created GIO‘s to bring delicious, healthy gluten-free foods to all consumers in a safe way. Alison, like myself, realized right away the importance of making gluten-free tasty and delicious, and as such, she and her business partner converted traditional foods into gluten-free varieties, and have now also created some stellar originals that are packed full of flavor and nutrients!
Yes, restaurants and catering companies have gluten-free options, like a simple roasted salmon and a tray of grilled vegetables, but Gio’s Gluten Free is 100% GF. Yes, I said 100%… meaning no cross contamination! Furthermore, their expansive menu of Italian and Greek fare was recently certified gluten-free by the GIG organization and Gio’s is the only dedicated caterer in the area! I’m based out of NYC, where gluten-free options are increasingly common, but I can say with certainty that Gio’s will be catering my parties from here on out!
So what are some of my menu favorites? First, the rice balls! I hadn’t had a rice ball since my gluten-eating days. One bite of Gio’s rice balls and I was reminded of what I’ve been missing out on. Filled with rice, cheese, and tomato sauce, these rice balls are literally incredible. Gio’s uses imported breadcrumbs that look, taste and feel just like the gluten variety! Next, I tried one of Gio’s most popular dishes, the Chicken Mckenna (sautéed chicken with kale, capers in a white wine and tomato broth, topped with cheese). No wonder why this is a crowd favorite! Each bite was outstanding. Meatballs are a difficult dish to recreate in a gluten-free form, and Gio’s meatballs tasted even better than the original! Served on top of gluten-free penne, this dish is even better! Another gluten-free pasta favorite, the pasta puttanesca filled with tomatoes, olive oil, olives, capers and garlic, was amazing, too! The Gio’s ladies source their pasta from a manufacturer in Italy that offers ~20 different cuts of GF pasta, which are all non-GMO, organic, AND gluten-free. For those looking for something a bit healthier, or a nice vegetable dish to compliment the meal, I recommend the brussels sprouts with bits of sun-dried tomato, and the swiss chard sautéed with chickpeas. Both sides are healthy and necessary supplements to your meal!
Gio’s caters near and wide, no matter how large your party! From small birthday and holiday events to large corporate conferences and galas, Gio’s will do it. At NOBREAD we take our taste-testing and recommendations VERY seriously, and we say that Gio’s is not to be missed! Check out Gio’s full menu and contact information on their website, here!