Written by Renee, Special Contributor
I recently made an awful discovery…I’m gluten intolerant. Truth be told, I suspected it for a long while, I just didn’t want to give up all of that amazing gluten filled food, so I lived in denial. But then there’s nothing like horrible stomach pain and digestive “issues” to push someone out of denial. For a self-proclaimed “foodie” this was a devastating realization. I know that sounds dramatic, obviously there are many, many more horrendous things…but I’m sure those of you who are faced with the same issue are feeling my pain. No more bread, pasta, brownies, cookies, etc…unless I wish to consume one of the myriad of “gluten-free” alternatives out there. Yes, I’m grateful to be living in a time when there truly are a multitude of options, but so far my foray into those options has, with a few exceptions, been less than appetizing.
Being half Italian and growing up in a family where food (specifically pasta) was love, one of my first priorities was to find gluten-free pasta. I tried Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta with less than happy results. Simply put, it was gummy, regardless of my efforts not to overcook it. I then searched a few blogs and found that several recommended Tinkyada, which is another brown rice pasta. I purchased a bag of fusilli and I carefully followed the cooking instructions (as advised by the bloggers). Sadly, I wasn’t impressed. The texture was a little too soft and the taste was well, like brown rice (what a surprise).
Still on the hunt, I ventured into the Simply Gluten Free Specialty Grocery (behind Roxy’s deli on TO Boulevard), and I asked for a recommendation. The woman told me that there was a brand that was virtually indistinguishable from the real deal. I was in, or at least willing to give it a go. I purchased two packages of Schar (made in Italy…and Europe’s #1 gluten-free pasta!). To my surprise and delight, it was actually very good. Not indistinguishable from the real thing, but good nonetheless. Two minor complaints. Number one, if I’m going to pay nearly 6 bucks for a package of pasta, please give me a full pound! The Schar packages are 12 ounces. Number two, the pasta fell apart a bit when I reheated it to eat as a leftover. All in all, I’m loving my Schar pasta and I’m bellyache free!
Stay tuned for quest #2…best gluten-free brownie!
If Dan’s been particularly sweet to me, or if I’m just in a lovey mood, I’ll splurge and buy him a 5 Star Chocolate Bar by Lake Champlain Chocolates at Whole Foods. They’re not cheap — $3.49 for a 1.8 oz bar. But they are oh-so-good. They’re made by hand, and the Peanut one is the best — the peanut butter is smooth and creamy and has chunks of peanuts and crisp rice all coated in a very smooth milk chocolate. But don’t keep it in the fridge like I did last night. It’s way better at room temp.
Get one for your honey the next time you’re even remotely near Whole Foods.