Author: Issi

Gluten free in Italy- Naples and Ischia1 (1)

Gluten free in Italy: Naples + Ischia – aka the joy of pizza

Eating gluten free in Italy is the stuff of dreams for people with coeliac disease. I’ve written before about how great it is that Italians don’t automatically assume you’re a fad dieter, how Italian chefs think it is no big deal to cook for a coeliac (and are in fact offended that you think it will be), and how Italian gluten free food actually tastes good.  This summer I spent five glorious days in Naples and Ischia, and I want to share the gluten free joy with you. Naples Within about half an hour of arriving in Naples, I was eating a gluten free pizza. I hung out in Naples on the way to and from the island of Ischia, and on both visits, I filled my happy face at Ciro Oliva Concettina ai Tre Santi, a cosy little pizzeria in central Naples. They serve some of the best gluten free pizza I’ve ever had. I chose this pizzeria as it is listed by Gluten Free Roads. I didn’t experience any problems after eating here, but it wasn’t 100% clear to me what steps they were …

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Lifestyle eating? Why coeliac disease is NOT a lifestyle choice

Coeliac disease is not a lifestyle choice ‘Gluten-friendly’, ‘Gluten-conscious’ and ‘Lifestyle Eating’are just a few of the strange and questionably legal labels I’ve seen applied to gluten free food recently. ‘Freefrom’ is the term that has traditionally been used to label gluten free, dairy free, and other allergen-free foods in supermarkets. Unfortunately, I was greeted with a rather less useful sign when I walked into Sainsbury’s this week: ‘Lifestyle eating’. I got a bit cross, and after some nudging from the excellent Gluten Free B, I decided to break my blogging silence and write about it properly. ‘Lifestyle eating’ insinuates that eating gluten free (or any allergen-free) is a lifestyle choice, which is rather insulting when you have to eat that way due to a chronic health condition. It perpetuates the assumption that people with coeliac disease and/or food allergies are fussy and faddy, and this has a direct consequence for people with coeliac disease; it leads to people catering for us taking us less seriously and potentially making us ill when they think that ‘a little bit won’t hurt’. Rebranding …

La Polentaria (1)

La Polenteria – 100% Gluten Free Restaurant in Soho, London

Another addition to the Gluten Free in London food map, La Polenteria. I’ve been meaning to visit La Polenteria for yonks, but having been away from London (I’ve been camping out in lovely Bath) it’s been difficult to sample as many places as I would like. I finally bit the bullet when I won a voucher to eat there at last year’s Allergy Show. I took it as a sign that the universe wanted me to eat (even) more gluten free Italian food. The Food The food is Italian with a twist; polenta, otherwise known as cornmeal, serves as the base for most of the meals. Having endured several disastrous polenta-themed meals as an exchange student in France (I think polenta was the only gluten free thing my host-mother knew how to cook *memory vom*), I have not been polenta’s biggest fan. However, since my FODMAP ordeal, pickiness over food is a luxury I cannot afford. I am now game to try pretty much anything. I was happy to find that though polenta is ever-present …

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Bath Gluten Free Fair: 5 Ace Brands

I love food fairs in general, but I love gluten free fair’s most of all. They are THE place to discover new products, catch up with the latest in the coeliac and gluten free community, and perhaps most importantly, sample delicious 100% gluten free foods. Here are the brands that most excited me at Bath & West Wiltshire Coeliac Society’s recent gluten free fair. 1. Gingerella Gingerella are a fledgling gluten free company, only a few months old. They are based in Manchester and sell freshly baked gluten free cookies. Their gluten free cookies are properly big and squidgy. Not weirdly hard, not crumbling into dust, not ‘cookie’ with a side of sawdust. Yum. The flavour combinations are amazing – it’s like they’ve peeked inside my head and seen all my favourite things. Chocolate and orange. Pistachio and white chocolate. CHOCOLATE and chocolate. Refreshingly, they don’t claim that their gluten free products are healthy, ‘clean’ or better for you, they are simply good quality indulgent products made by a coeliac. Essentially, I want to throw my …

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Cote Brasserie’s Gluten Free Christmas Menu *

*This meal was free for review purposes from Côte Brasserie. I have dined at Côte on my own dime plenty of times, and would not write about it unless I was happy to recommend to fellow coeliacs. In many restaurants, the ‘gluten free options’ are meals with an element missing; a burger without a bun, a salad without croutons or a roast without gravy. The same cannot be said for UK chain Côte Brasserie. Their gluten free meals are as good as anything ‘regular’ on the menu, probably due to the fact that there is not a lot of difference between the two. There are always plenty of gluten free options and you don’t feel like you are having a ‘lesser’ meal than anyone else. I was therefore very happy when Côte invited me to come and review their gluten free Christmas menu. I visited the Bath branch with my friend Sian, and we enthusiastically got to work. For those that don’t know, I have had some previous involvement with Côte Brasserie. Last year, I …

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The Low FODMAP Diet + Coeliac Disease: Two Years On

It’s now been two whole years since I started on the low FODMAP diet, a medical diet used to treat IBS symptoms. You would think that one special diet would be enough, but in my case, the strict gluten free diet did not solve everything. Just when I thought I had the whole coeliac thing figured out, I started to get ill again. Daily upset stomach, pains and fatigue. Regular unexplained symptoms that were similar to those of coeliac disease, but which made little sense as I knew I was sticking to the gluten free diet. Apparently, this is not uncommon. ‘20-30 % of coeliac patients on a gluten free diet still have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms’, according to one study*, and the low FODMAP diet is now a recommended treatment. (Read about my experience getting diagnosed, and the low FODMAP meal ideas that helped me to stay sane.) I thought it would be interesting to check in a couple of years down the line, share with others in a similar boat what I have learned, and hopefully …

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Gluten Free in Lisbon: Portuguese custard tarts, McDonald’s & piri piri chicken

I’ve been in Lisbon for the past week; hiking up hills, hurtling up and down cobbled streets on the 28 tram, and admiring the view from 16th century palaces and castles. Oh, and eating as many gluten free portuguese custard tarts (‘natas’) as possible. I was holidaying with my boyfriend, David. We stayed in a cute little Airbnb in the up and coming former sailor’s playground of Cais do Sodre. Think bars that used to be brothels mixed with pavement pastelarias, stout old ladies peeking out from their balconies watching the young hipsters move in. We fell in love with Lisbon. It has a brilliant mix of old and new; centuries-old monuments and fortresses but also a bang up to the minute food scene, and more nightlife than you can shake a nata at. I’ll be honest, I found eating gluten free in Lisbon quite a bit harder than eating gluten free in London. Coeliac disease and the gluten free diet do not seem to be all that well known in Portugal, and it is not common for restaurants …

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Gluten Free Hate: Easy Money for British Newspapers

(just in case you’d forgotten the worst clickbait-master of them all…) Have you seen today’s gluten free clickbait? This ‘gluten free hate’ article in the Guardian has triggered a mixed (mostly bad?) reaction in the coeliac community today. I am accustomed to seeing stuff of this ilk from the Daily Mail and The Spectator, but have to confess I was disappointed to see it in The Guardian. The article follows the classic internet tradition of riling people up to get clicks. Clicks = advertising money, and gluten free dieters are an easy target. You might think as a coeliac, that I would be on the side of the author. Sure, I do an inward eyeroll* when someone tells me that they are ‘going gluten free’ because ‘it’s healthier’ or because they think it will help them lose weight. Or when someone says they are gluten intolerant, but eats gluten when it suits them. As I’ve written about before, there are problems with the way that ‘gluten free’ has become less of a strict medical term, and more of a ‘healthy’ buzzword. It is …

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Manna Dew – 100% Gluten Free Patisserie in London

There’s a new gluten free patisserie in town. I say new – Manna Dew has been around for about a year and a half, but tucked away in less touristy South London, it is a bit lower on the radar than gluten free favourites like Beyond Bread and Artisan Gluten Free Bakery.  I first visited when the team invited me to come and sample their menu (#livingthedream), and have since been back several treat-filled times. I wanted to share it with those gluten free folk who may not have discovered it yet. Here's to deliciousness served fresh. Everything is #guaranteed #glutenfree . Our cakes are primarily sweetened with natural sweeteners. Tarts, Cheesecakes and Specialty Creations. Indulge yourself! #glutenfree #artisan #patisserie #sw11 #glutenfreebaking #glitenfreelife #healthy #delicious #battersea A photo posted by Manna Dew Cafe (@mannadew.london) on Mar 2, 2016 at 4:52am PST The Food The food at Manna Dew is 100% gluten free, and also free of refined sugars. Originally developed by an ex-Laduree chef, the menu is full of Mediterranean-influenced delicacies. One of my readers likened it to Helmut Newcake in Paris. …

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Allergy and Freefrom Show 2016: Fresh Pasta, Profiteroles and Craft Beer

Last Sunday David and I spent a very happy day eating our way through the London Allergy and Freefrom Show. The Allergy and Freefrom Show is THE gluten free event of the year. It is a huge tasting and shopping event showcasing gluten free and other allergen-free products, as well as talks and support for conditions like Coeliac Disease, IBS and eczema. It is a prime opportunity for sampling lots of gluten free foods for free, buying your favourites at a reduced price, and meeting like-minded people with similar health issues. Here are my favourite discoveries from the show. Enjoy! Bakel’s – Bakel’s make gluten free cookie, cake and bread mixes. The (many) cookie samples I tried were divine. Rule of Crumb – I tried my first ever gluten free profiterole courtesy of Rule of Crumb! Amazing. I obviously bought a box to take home. Buy online on Ocado. Delicious Alchemy – Delicious Alchemy’s products WORK. I love their branding too. I bought their vanilla cake, brownie, and white bread mixes. The Freefrom Fairy – Vicki aka The Freefrom Fairy has made an innovative …