Sunday, 22 November 2015

Tips For A Gluten-Free Christmas

Good food has got to be one of the best things about Christmas time, from the huge roast to Christmas puddings and Boxing Day left-overs it's always brilliant. But so many 'traditional' Christmas foods contain gluten and, until recently, decent alternatives are few and far between. So I thought I would compile my top tips and recommendations for surviving a gluten-free Christmas.

Gluten Free Christmas

Triple check the add-ons.
So many sauces and gravys are thickened with gluten so always double check before you buy/eat it. If you are eating out for a roast it is always worth checking in advance with the restaurant as I have found many are more than willing to make a gluten-free portion, but they can only do so if they know in advance, turning up and expecting them to definitely have some is unrealistic in most cases. Kallo do some lovely gluten-free gravys, and a little bit of fried onion popped in makes the perfect Christmas treat.

Make from scratch (where possible).
Can't find gluten-free stuffing, Christmas cake or pigs in blankets (or astounding by how far the prices are yanked up)? Then make it from scratch rather than go without. Gluten-free sausages are so easy to find now (many supermarket own brands, or 'finest' labels don't contain gluten now) so wrap them in bacon and make your own. Personally love the Mrs Crimbles Home Bake Sage and Onion Stuffing Mix (I picked one up from Sainbury's) and it's often easier to get hold of than pre-made stuffing. Now I know my version of make from scratch comes from various packets, but if it's easier to get hold of and cheaper, I'm in!

Order In Advance.
Now I now I stressed this a lot in my Christmas Planning post, but by ordering your Christmas dinner in advance guarantees you gluten-free food. Tesco and M&S have both marked a gluten-free symbol throughout their Christmas ordering catalogues to make it incredibly easy to know what you can and can't have. Marks and Spencer in particular have a brilliant array of turkeys, pigs in blankets and stuffing that cater for a gluten-free diet. I am very impressed by their party food platter, which would be perfect for any post-Christmas gathering. My only disappointment is the lack of puddings. I could only find a couple of really large fruit cakes, and as the only gluten-free one in my family, I wouldn't get through it alone. That being said, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose all have Christmas cakes in now with a fairly good selection in larger stores.

Check Your Chocolates.
Although chocolate in general is absolutely fine to have, it's always worth checking as some can really surprise you. I believe Hereos and Roses are absolutely fine, Quality Streets are under the Celiac limit but some people have raised concerned, especially surrounding 'the purple one'. Celebrations on the other hand are trickier, as only the galaxy and galaxy caramel are gluten free, but as they are all made in the same factory there are no guarantees. I found that one out the hard way after scoffing handfuls of Milkways last year without realising! The biggest disappointment is that Lindor, the melt in your mouth, probably the best chocolate in the world, contain gluten. And given the use of the same production line Lindt can't guarantee any of their products are safe.

I hope you have found this useful, and feel free to drop me a comment or an email if there if you have any questions and I'll be more than happy to do my best to help! 

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