A quick thought

A QUICK thought on the Free From Food Awards that occurred to me as I was scribbling up the winners’ list.

Not only is there an absence of properly nut free stuff amongst them but there are very few foods that are safe for those with multiple allergies. Heaps of gluten free (and dairy free) out there, which is obviously laudable, but I’m worried that gluten free is becoming the fall back for anyone who wants to claim a ‘free from’ or ‘allergy friendly’ tag.

The supermarkets are among the worst culprits – they’re showering us with their ‘free from’ ranges but precious few of the products are safe for nut or egg allergy sufferers. Unless all the main allergens are covered it’s a bit of a box-ticking exercise, no?

That’s why Bessant and Drury’s win for their (*deep breath*) egg free, soya free, nut free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan ice cream caught my eye. (I think they’re probably wheat free, too, but need to check on that.) They’ve created a product that is not just aimed at the food allergy market but that can still declare itself to be allergy safe for many. I’d like to think this is the future for free from foods: not a specialist niche but an attempt to create properly luxury products that exclude the main allergens, but where taste is all.

I think the Free From Food Awards are a wonderful, important thing, but next year I would like to see a few more nut frees, sesame frees, soya frees and egg frees alongside the no gluten and no dairy winners. That’s not just a challenge to the awards, it’s a rallying cry to the industry. Please?

* UPDATE 25/4/12 Would you believe it, I’ve since found out that Bessant and Drury’s ice-cream isn’t ‘nut free’ after all. It’s made in a factory where nuts are present. Unfortunately their website states ‘nut free’ here, which I’m sure is just an oversight and a result of the fact that labelling laws are so confusing. Still, only serves to prove my point, I guess! They remain egg, soya, gluten and dairy free…

And the best ‘free from’ products are…

From pies to beers, here’s the full list of winners from the Free From Food Awards 2012 – and details of where to buy ’em:

Best Pie, Flan or Ready Meal

The Gluten Free Kitchen’s Ovencrust Chicken & Bacon Pie (gluten, wheat, dairy free) “Crisp, golden pastry with a succulent, tasty chicken filling.” £2.50 from The Gluten Free Kitchen

Continue reading “And the best ‘free from’ products are…”

Bread!

A momentous day: Sidney’s first ever taste of bread. Granted, it’s fake bread (Dietary Specials’ gluten free brown loaf) and if I’m honest it’s not a little like cardboard. But if it looks like bread, acts like bread and, as far as Sid’s concerned, tastes like bread, then I’m happy to say that’s what it is.

We passed the soya home challenge a week or two ago but it’s taken me this long to get over the niggling doubts: what if we hadn’t done it properly, what if we missed something, what if tofu wasn’t soya after all… Ridiculous, but it’s the first time he’s actually passed a food trial so I was a bit discombobulated by the success.

Now there are quite a few more options open to us: not only the egg-free, wheat-free recipes that demand soya milk (like pizza bases and wraps) but where we’re precluded from buying most of the branded wheat-free breads, because they contain egg, the Dietary Specials range has soya instead.

I am beyond excited. Do you know what this means? It means sandwiches! It means toast! It means cheese on toast! It means something miraculously quick and easy to take out and about for lunch and snacks. It means if we get home late and Sidney’s starving and I haven’t defrosted or steamed one of his homecooked concoctions I can just whip out the bread (“bread”) and slap on the butter, or the cream cheese, or the tomato, or the avocado, and – instant food!

I take my thrills where I can…