As soon as you’re forced to cut things from your diet – things you REALLY like – there is nothing more exciting than finding versions of those things you CAN have. Especially if they’re actually pretty good.
Disclaimer at this point: I’ve forgotten what ‘normal’ – i.e. gluten-containing – versions of things like bread, biscuits, cakes and beers taste like, so when I pass judgement on things it’s not necessarily going to be a like-for-like comparison. But as I personally think it’s insane to cut out gluten (or any food group) without a medical reason for doing so, I’m not aiming these posts at anyone who could easily compare both.
I’m going to start with the thing I’ve been MOST EXCITED about: gluten-free Hobnobs. I’m not being dramatic when I say that chocolate Hobnobs have been the single thing I’ve missed the most since being diagnosed with coeliac disease. So imagine my pure, unadulterated joy when I saw McVitie’s post on Facebook saying that gluten-free Hobnobs WERE COMING.
I can honestly say I don’t think these are in any way inferior to the ‘normal’ version.
Biscuits seem to be a pretty tricky thing to get right, sans gluten. There are a lot of very dry, very crumbly versions around that are impossible to eat without making a mess and more importantly, impossible to dunk.
Another company with strong biscuit game is Tesco – but it has to be the Finest range. Not daft, Tesco.
Their standard Free From biscuits are nothing special IMHO but these ones are really, really good. Again, they’re what I remember ‘normal’ biscuits being like. Although again, my memory may not be *that* reliable. They’re chewy, not brittle and they’re an appropriate level of crumbly, rather than instantly disintegrating upon any contact.
After chocolate Hobnobs, the thing I missed most was beer – but the gluten-free beer market is becoming more and more diverse, with more bars starting to stock it (shout out to Jeremiah’s Taproom in Edinburgh which stocks a mighty FOUR different varieties, including one – Caesar Augustus – on tap. The joy of sipping a cold pint on a balmy summer evening should never be underestimated). Daura, Green’s and Brewdog are among my favourites and the most readily available, but recently Tennent’s and Peroni have jumped on the GF bandwagon. Recently for the UK, anyway – I believe both have been available in Europe for a while.
Both of these get a hearty thumbs up from me. I was never much of a beer snob, anyway – I had my favourites (ahem, Corona, if you could produce a gluten-free version pronto I’d be much obliged) but I wouldn’t turn up my nose at a few cans of Tennent’s at a house party. I think being very poor for most of my adult life made me less discerning than a large number of my friends. Like many other things, it’s just really nice to have a CHOICE available; and hopefully more pubs will start to expand their gluten-free stock, too.
Last but by absolutely no means least, something I’ve been searching for, quite literally, for years. I’ve been scouring supermarket shelves and online food shops alike, and then one day, purely by chance, it popped up on my Twitter timeline. Retweeted, by Coeliac UK (I think), a company I’d never heard of – Thornleys. A small company which makes pastas, sauce mixes and my personal holy grail: gluten-free Worcester sauce.
My spaghetti Bolognese has been restored to its former glory, and cheese on toast… well, cheese on toast is always amazin’. But I really like being able to put Worcester sauce on it again.
Have you discovered any amazing new gluten-free treats recently?