BIG excitement among Coeliacs in recent months over the new Pizza Express gluten free pizzas, and rightly so. But so far I’ve held fire.
The company is among the best in providing allergen information on its website but, somewhat oddly, while it mentions garlic and mushrooms among them, sesame and lupin – two of the top 14 under EU guidance – are not listed. For obvious reasons Sid’s (relatively rare) allergies to chickpea, lentil and green pea are also not on the list. So I wanted to find out for sure the full list of ingredients in this new gluten free base, not least because chickpea flour, lupin, psyllium husk and all sorts pop up in many non gluten offerings.
After several bids on Twitter and via email I received my response today, and it looks – dare I say it – promising:
Dear Ms Baracaia
Thank you for taking the time to contact us at PizzaExpress and please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in responding to you.
Please find attached our Customer Information Sheet which details all of our dishes and which contain gluten, eggs and nuts.
Unfortunately we do not have a definitive list of which of our ingredients/dishes contain wheat, sesame, chickpeas, peas and lentils.
Our gluten free base is made from a blend of maize starch, modified tapioca starch, rice flour and potato protein. Contains yeast. Product is wheat free
Our gluten free flour is made from a blend of of rice, potato and maize flour. Product is wheat free.
Our tomato sauce and cheese also do not contain wheat, sesame, chickpeas, peas or lentils.
You can then add the toppings of your choosing to create your own pizza.
I am sorry I cannot be of further assistance at this time.
Quality & Safety Assistant
I’m not entirely sure why she says she’s sorry she can’t be of further assistance, unless they’ve had enough and never want to hear a peep out of me again (sorry, lady, I haven’t finished yet). Judging by the email, the ingredients appear only to be “maize starch, modified tapioca starch, rice flour, potato protein and yeast” and the cheese and tomato topping seems to be wheat, egg, nut and sesame free.
Of course, being an Allergy Mum, I have emailed her straight back just to double check I’ve understood the ingredients correctly! (Paranoia comes with the job.) If I have, the next thing is to ask my local Pizza Express what the risks of cross-contamination are, for instance, from non gluten free pizzas and other, non egg free toppings. I can’t risk a few sprinklings of Gran Padano landing on the pizza during cooking, or nuts rolling about the kitchen while it’s being made. I note that the online menu warns “although dishes without this ‘N’ symbol are made without nuts, there’s a possibility that traces of nuts may still be found in them”.
Will keep you posted! Unless anyone else out there with a similar tally of allergies has first-hand experience..?