On the tenth day of a gluten free Christmas …crackers for the cheese board

The tenth day of Christmas...gluten free crackers

For the tenth day of Christmas we taste tested gluten free crackers. If you are planning to serve a cheese board post dinner, then we have done all the hard work for you, by reviewing the crackers on offer. There is so much availability and choice now in all the main supermarkets, so it was simply a case of which crackers we preferred!

It is very rare, actually like most things we have taste tested, for me to be served crackers with a cheese board when eating out. In fact I can actually only think of one occasion where this has happened in the twenty plus years I have been diagnosed as a coeliac and that was in a very posh hotel about sixteen years ago!

Although some coeliacs can be lactose intolerant, most of us aren’t and so we would enjoy cheese as a course to finish off a special meal and how wonderful it would be if one could be served gluten free crackers with it too.

As always, all of the products are reviewed independently and the commentary is our own.

Click the video below to see the results of our taste testing.

On the eighth day of a gluten free Christmas …pigs in blankets

The eighth day of Christmas - gluten free pigs in blankets

One Christmas trimming that is often forgotten about for coeliacs is pigs in blankets. I know you can just buy gluten free chipolata sausages and wrap smoked bacon around them, however, the purpose of this ‘12 days of a gluten free Christmas‘ series of blogs is to make it very easy for caterers to source and purchase gluten free alternatives.

Like many of the Christmas foods we have tried for this, I have never been offered gluten free pigs in blankets when eating out. My dining companions get the whole shebang – stuffing, pigs in blankets, gravy and I end up with just the meat and vegetables. There is plenty of time to source some of these trimmings and shove them in the freezer for your coeliac diners. I cannot over emphasise what a difference it would make to mine (and my fellow coeliacs) enjoyment of a Christmas meal out.

As it happens, we had quite a tough time finding pigs in blankets. In fact at the time of taste testing, only three retailers sold them. Hopefully, as we creep closer to the main day there may be more stockists.

As always, all of the products are reviewed independently and the commentary is our own.

Click the video below to see the results of our taste testing.

On the seventh day of a gluten free Christmas …brown bread for starters

The seventh day of Christmas - gluten free brown bread

For the seventh day of a gluten free Christmas we decided to try a selection of gluten free brown bread, so that it can be served to complement a starter or used for sandwiches.

In the past, gluten free bread has left a lot to be desired. In fact when I was first diagnosed as a coeliac, over twenty years ago, you could only get it from specialist health food shops and on prescription, prior to that it used to be sold in a tin! However, since then, there has been nothing short of a revolution. We started making and selling fresh, gluten free bread over 10 years ago when we ran our gluten free bakery, but the national availability of ‘fresh’ gluten free bread from retailers, has only really been in place for the past two/three years approximately.

This has made it so much easier for caterers (and friends and family) to ‘buy in’ gluten free options for the coeliac guest. What is important to remember though, is just buying in gluten free options is not enough. Managing them is another matter all together. Coeliacs react to the smallest amount of gluten – in order to label a food item gluten free, by law in the EU it must contain less than or equal to 20 parts per million gluten. To put that into perspective it’s equivalent to one teaspoon per 500 litres of liquid. Or to put it another way:

An average slice of bread weighs 50g.
The average slice of whole wheat bread contains 4.8g of gluten.
A coeliac will react to less than 20 parts per million of 4.8g
So, as a proportion, 20 millionths of 4.8g equals 0.000096g.
Therefore, a coeliac can only safely consume 0.0048g of bread a day (50g multiplied by 0.000096)
…a minuscule amount, so as you can see – even a few crumbs on a butter knife will make the coeliac guest ill.

Different food stuffs contain different levels of gluten, so for example pasta contains more gluten than bread and thus the amount safely allowable to consume is less. Moreover, all the food ingested during the day is cumulative, so a minor amount of gluten at lunch, plus a bit at dinner can make a coeliac very ill by the end of the day.

So, if you are providing a gluten free option, please ensure that clean utensils and boards are used, and that all steps are taken to reduce any potential risks.

As always, all of the products are reviewed independently and the commentary is our own.

Click the video below to see the results of our taste testing.