I am fortunate that I do not suffer from any food allergies, and only have an intolerance to cream-based sauces. Both my parents are lactose intolerant. I used to work for a man who was diagnosed as being Coeliac, amongst many other allergies, in his older years and had to overhaul his diet as a result. His wife, who did all the cooking, adopted his diet most of the time as well because it was just too time-consuming preparing separate meals for the two of them. There were so many things that he had to eliminate from his diet that there remained very little that he could eat.
So I was quite interested to hear about The Coeliac Society of NSW hosting their annual Gluten Free Expo at Sydney Showground, Olympic Park, a couple of weekends ago. When my boss was first diagnosed the food alternative options were quite limited, with very little being available at the supermarket and sporadic products supplied at health food stores. I remember him having to pre-order gluten-free breads which were sometimes not available for weeks on end due to supply or delivery issues with small suppliers. These loaves of bread were dense and solid like bricks, dry and crumbly in texture, and only really palatable after toasting.
It’s great to know there are much more alternatives available now, and through more mainstream and convenient sources. The expo is in its sixth year and was a free event open to the public. Mistress and I attended after having yumcha with friends nearby and after picking up Ms Sourdough along the way. With none of us being coeliac we were there really to have a look at the variety of products on offer and to compare their taste and texture to the non-gluten free versions of which we are accustomed.
There were many nut-based products and we did come away with some nut snacks as well as some tapioca samples. We didn’t step into the expo until 3:30pm after having a little trouble with parking (someone rudely ‘stole’ our spot) and a lot of exhibitors had sold out of their products which was good to see. I believe it would be very restrictive diet-wise to be gluten intolerant as well as to have a nut(s) allergy. Mistress almost got caught out when being handed a brownie sample as she is allergic to walnuts, but not other nuts.
We also purchased a gluten free chocolate cake to share between us which was beautifully fudgy and less sweet than what we expected. The texture was also much smoother than that of a flour-based cake. We speculate that it may have something to do with gluten free flours being finer and behaving differently when sugar is added? Unfortunately none of us know enough about gluten free baking to come to a firm conclusion, and it's probably an area that we can delve further into.
If you’re a confirmed coeliac or cook for someone who is, or perhaps you’d just like to find out more about gluten free food products and cooking ingredients, keep your eye out for next year’s Gluten Free Expo.
Mademoiselle Délicieuse attended this event after being notified by Natahsa Nikolovski of WordStorm PR.
The 6th annual Gluten Free Expo, The Coeliac Society of NSW
6-7 August 2010
Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park
happy cooking & happy eating!