Coeliac UK Plymouth Voluntary Support Group Food and Craft Fair, 1st November

12 Oct

The Coeliac UK Plymouth Group are holding their latest event at the Elm Community Centre, Estover on Saturday November 1st between 1pm and 4pm.  A gluten free food and craft fair will be held giving those requiring a gluten free diet in Plymouth a fantastic opportunity to stock up on some really great locally produced GF goodies.  The event is open to non-members so I hope that all Gluten Free by the Sea readers will come along on the day and get your hands on a wide variety of sweet and savoury treats.  Full details of the event from the Coeliac UK Plymouth Group can be found below.

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

Plymouth

The committee invite you to join us at the ELM Centre, ASDA Plymouth, for a gluten free food and craft fair.  For new members we will be available to give help with such things as prescriptions and best places to purchase gluten free products.

This will be a great opportunity to stock up on gluten free products from some of the finest local suppliers.  Let Them Eat will be present with their delicious cakes, Pomeroy Rare Breeds will have some fantastic GF pies and dairy free ice cream, a dietitian and nutritionist called Julie Sargent will be available and we’ve even got gluten free dog food available from K9 Pet Foods.  Westcounty Produce, Jackson’s Bakery and Sarah’s Tasty Treats will all be selling are a variety of sweet and savoury GF products.  Everything will be gluten free!  There are more traders set to confirm and we will also have a number of craft stalls selling items in the lead up to Christmas.  Glutafin, Juvela, Feel Free For Gluten Free, Nature’s Path and Perkier Foods have all donated free samples for members or raffle prizes.

In the Elm Centre we will have use of the excellent kitchen facilities, were Tea’s, coffees, biscuits and cakes will be available after 2pm.  For all you bakers out there, we welcome you to bake and share with other members.  There will be a £1 voluntary entrance fee to the meeting and members are also encouraged to bring unwanted prescription items for new members.

We are looking forward to seeing you on the 1st November 2014. Doors will open at 1pm with the food fair running until 4pm. We sincerely hope you can attend, and trust you will have a great time.

Programme:

  • 1pm Opening of the Food fair
  • 2pm: Kitchen open for teas and coffees
  • 2:30pm Raffle Draw
  • 4pm: Food fair closes

Directions/Parking:

For any of you who do not know were the ELM Centre is, it is located in Estover Plymouth adjacent to the ASDA Store.  If at the ASDA main entrance, turn right down the steps and the centre is at the far end of the courtyard.  Full address is Leypark Court, Leypark Walk, Plymouth, PL6 8UE.

There is some community centre parking, otherwise you can park in the overflow ASDA car park for 3 hours.

There are regular bus routes to the ASDA store, the number 50 City Bus.  You can catch the 27 or 27a if travelling from the City Centre.

Yours Faithfully

The Plymouth Coeliac Group Committee

Holland’s Diner Gluten Free Review

29 Sep

Well would you believe this is the 100th post on Gluten Free by the Sea?!  Hard to believe really that the blog has come so far from such small beginnings.  I must apologise that things have been a little quiet lately, I’m facing impending redundancy after 16 years in my current job so real life has had to be given some priority unfortunately.  So if anyone knows of any IT jobs going in Plymouth then please give me a shout!

Anyway, back to gluten free talk.  It seems like an age since I’ve added a new restaurant review, so it’s good to be able to add one for another local independent that is taking gluten free seriously.  I first heard from Chris and Tracy Holland back in March.  They informed me they were working hard to open a new retro American diner called Holland’s Diner, that would be based in Frankfurt Gate, Plymouth.  The good news was that Tracy and Chris were planning on offering extensive gluten free options.

As always my first question to them was about cross contamination.  Tracy’s reply gave me great confidence that they would be taking this extremely seriously.  If only we could get replies like this from all restaurants:

Yes we are aware of the cross contamination issues. We have coeliacs in the family – in fact my mum is coeliac and my son has a gluten intolerance. I am a qualified nurse and nursed many coeliacs during over twenty years in the profession.  Chris and I have spent many hours trying to plan the kitchen area to ensure there is no risk of cross contamination. We have separate prep areas, storage areas and cooking equipment specifically for the GF foods. We also plan to colour code everything to help staff, I have also prepared a simple teaching booklet to give all our staff a greater understanding of the disease and the implications of cross contamination. The reason we are so keen to provide the GF options comes from our own experiences of the limited options for coeliacs and the difficulty in families being able to eat together without worry. We will be offering our coeliac customers the chance to view the kitchen procedures so they can see for themselves that we know what we are doing!

In May Tracy and Chris took a table at the Coeliac UK Plymouth Group AGM and came along to show those present their proposed gluten free menu, and talked to people about their upcoming venture.  They also brought along their Wurlitzer jukebox to help give a feel of the retro look that would be the theme of the diner.  After seeing all the photos of the hard work that was going into getting the diner ready on their Facebook page, it was good to see the hard work rewarded with a grand opening in June.

Holland's Front

I’m not quite sure how it has taken me so long to get there, but the universe has seemed to get in the way on a few previous attempts to get my hands on a big gluten free burger.  However, this week a colleague was down from Exeter and we were looking for somewhere to have a late lunch.  At last the perfect opportunity!  So on Thursday, gluten eating colleagues Rich, Chris and Jill joined me for a meal at the diner.  Tracy and Chris have certainly achieved the desired retro theme, and the walls are covered with memorabilia.  The padded diner booths also looked great.  There’s also an outside eating area too.

Holland's Inside

I’d already checked the menu on their website in advance, and it was good to see the gluten free options marked.  The site also contains a page detailing the diner’s gluten free procedures.  The menus in the restaurant are also clear on the gluten free options, and in most cases GF options are available unless otherwise stated.  There are also some GF dessert options available, supplied by the previously reviewed Ladybird Bakery.  They are supplying apple pie, cherry pie and pancakes.  It’s good to see that local suppliers are being used, with all meat sourecd from local butchers.

Holland's CiderFirst things first though, having just finished interviewing for our own jobs we were keen for a stiff drink!  I was extremely intrigued to see a blueberry cider on the menu so it was a no brainer to give this a try, as did everyone apart from poor old Rich who had to drive.  Thumbs up all round on this one.  There’s also a strawberry cider on the menu which no doubt I’ll try in future.  The cider is made by a company called Hornsby’s Cider whose Anglo American roots seem to be a good fit with the diner.

Holland's Burger

As for the food, I wasn’t going to pass up the chance of a gluten free burger in a bun with chips any time soon.  There’s a good selection of burgers and from a gluten free stand point there’s barely anything to miss out on.  I opted for the Chrysler, a  half pound burger, salad, mayonnaise, Monterey jack cheese, topped with Holland’s chilli sauce.  The quality of the burger itself was excellent, really satisfyingly meaty (sorry Abby!), and the gluten free bun was extremely good too.  The chilli sauce gave great flavour, but due to the amount of sauce/mayo and salad I had to commit the cardinal sin and knife and fork it.  Oh the shame!  Overall the Chrysler was great and the chips were good too so I really enjoyed the meal.  The only downside was I was too stuffed to try any of the puds.

I’m pleased to report I suffered no ill effects from the meal.  It’s great to have another safe option to eat out gluten free in Plymouth, especially from an independent.  I should also say that our waitress gave us great service too and I’m sure this will not be my last visit.  If you’re a music fan also keep an eye out for their live music events.

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

Green’s Beer From FreeGo Review

7 Sep

A few months back I was offered the chance to sample a range of gluten free products from a new on-line retailer called FreeGo.  Their shop boasts a variety of GF sweet and savoury products, many of which were new names to me.  It is always good when a retailer can broaden your gluten free horizon and introduce you to something new.  Amongst the items I received were some fantastic flavoured marshmallows, an amazing Belgian chocolate orange biscuit bar and some lovely Smooze fruit ice which you freeze yourself at home.  The Smooze products are simply made from coconut milk and fruit juice so not only are they made with 100% natural ingredients they are also dairy free.

FreeGo2014-06-21 13.50.50

The lovely guys and girls at Freego, whom some of you may have met at this years Allergy Show, asked me if there were any other products that I would like to see stocked.  One area that I thought was lacking was gluten free beer and lager.  FreeGo took this advice on board and contacted me a few weeks back to say that they had chosen Green’s Belgian craft beers as their first gluten free beer to stock.  FreeGo have chosen to stock Green’s naturally gluten free beer, rather than a de-glutenised product.  I was lucky enough to be offered some samples to try out, and I managed to have my arm twisted to try some free gluten free ale ;-)  Readers may be familiar with Green’s if you’ve tried their gluten free pilsner which is available at Pizza Express.

Az keen to help with the beer sampling!

Az keen to help with the beer sampling!

Dry Hopped Lager

Dry hoppedPre-coeliac I was always a lager drinker rather than being in to ale, so this was naturally the first sample I went for.  I’d actually tried a small sample of this one at the Allergy Show and had been impressed.  This lager was a gluten free gold medal winner at the 2014 World Beer Cup so is claimed to be “officially the best gluten free beer in the world!”.  Naturally gluten free ingredients include water, sorghum, millet, buckwheat, brown rice and yeast, and brewed to a strength of 4%.  This lager is extremely fruity and refreshing, and would be perfect for drinking on a summers day.  If I remember rightly from the allergy show the “fruitiness” is in fact elderflower.  I sampled with a few colleagues from the Coeliac UK Plymouth group.  A few were unsure about the elderflower, and many felt it didn’t really taste like lager – though not necessarily in a bad way.  Personally I thought it was as good as I remembered from the Allergy Show, certainly different from a traditional lager but really enjoyable.

Discovery Ale

DiscoveryMade with similar naturally gluten free ingredients to the dry hopped lager, this ale is brewed to a rather cheeky 6%.  I’ve never really been an ale drinker but maybe my taste buds are maturing and I really enjoyed this one.  In fact this was generally the favourite amongst the tasters of the Coeliac UK Plymouth group committee, even being described as “bloody lovely” by an ale drinker amongst the group.  There was no fruitiness to this one and the taste testers generally agreed this tasted like a “proper” beer.  The experience of trying this would certainly lead me to trying more ales in the future.

India Pale Ale

IPAThe IPA was brewed to 5%, splitting the difference between the lager and the ale, but again made with similar ingredients.  I enjoyed it but I think the general feeling was this was perhaps the least favourite of the three amongst the group.  Again a bit of a fruit/floral taste to this one so almost a middle of the road between the two beers above.  This ale does have strong credentials though having been voted the best gluten free beer at the 2014 Free From Food Awards.

Overall I really enjoyed the three beers.  Since being diagnosed with coeliac disease I’ve very much become a cider drinker.  I don’t really miss lager, but when I get my hands on some now it always feels like a special treat.  I’d happily drink any of these beers again, and let’s hope in the future we might even see gluten free bottled beers in pubs.  Maybe we need to encourage one of the big chains like JD Weatherspoon to start stocking a gluten free beer and then others might follow.

As you might notice in the picture above, FreeGo also sent me some Kracklecorn, a sweet and salty popcorn made by Portlebay Popcorn down here in Devon.  My wife and I loved this and devoured a large bag over a couple of sittings, well worth a try.  The good news for Gluten Free by the Sea readers is that you can currently get £10 off your first order of £20 from FreeGo using the code “GFBYSEA10′ (exp 31/09).

Kevin, Gluten Free by the Sea

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