Oh, how I love Easter!
Don’t ask me why but chocolate tastes so much better in Easter egg form!
I want to give you some tips to really enjoy a gluten free Easter. Thankfully lots of chocolate is gluten free now but there are some chocolate products which are not. Letting others know about some of the pitfalls will guarantee a safe and enjoyable Easter for everyone.
One of the most common gluten free misconceptions is the ingredient wheat glucose syrup. Only a few years ago, wheat glucose syrup was excluded from gluten free diets. Further research into the processing of wheat glucose syrup showed that it is actually gluten free. Check the Coeliac Society page for more details (http://bit.ly/b24kL0). This means there are now many food products that are safe for those following a gluten free diet. A useful tip when reading ingredient labels is that things ending in ‘ose’ such as glucose syrup are safe and things ending in ‘arch’ (and derived from gluten sources) such as wheat starch are unsafe.
There are so many choices on the shelves this year. Several companies also label their chocolate products ‘gluten free’. However, you don’t need to buy chocolate products with a ‘gluten free’ label as many are already gluten free. The tips below will help you when deciding what chocolate products to buy:
- Check all labels even if it was safe last year (in case the ingredients have changed)
- Wheat Glucose Syrup is safe for gluten free diets
- The most common unsafe ingredient is Barley Malt Extract (e.g. Lindt Milk, Heritage Milk Premium Bunny and Malteser eggs). Other more obvious unsafe sources include biscuit crumbs and wheat semolina (Cherry Ripe eggs)
Also put some thought into your entertaining over the Easter period. If you’re travelling don’t forget gluten free snacks and your emergency kit. If you’re visiting family or friends for celebration meals don’t forget to:
- Advise them of your needs in advance
- Offer to bring parts of the meal you know will be hard for them to cater
- Pack some back-up gluten free snacks in the event they accidently forget and add normal flour to the Easter cake!
Hugh Sheardown, President of the Australia Coeliac Society, shared one of his top travel tips last month which was a mini plastic container of gluten free gravy powder so every baked dinner can be properly finished. I love this as most people will revert to a baked meal (Roast Lamb or Roast Chicken) which is lovely but often the gravy is an afterthought and can ruin the event for you.
If you love Melinda’s Choc Fudge Brownie mix (http://bit.ly/g2teHd) and are looking for something a little different or are facing a dairy and egg free Easter put on your apron and get creative! My kids and I have had several pre-Easter events to attend in the past week and really enjoyed creating these lovely treats. We cooked the Choc Fudge Brownie premix in silicon bunny moulds and in the 20cm square tin using Easter biscuit cutters to create shapes. A delightful treat is to decorate your special Easter brownies with a basic chocolate ganache. The ganache recipe is 150ml cream to 300g gluten free chocolate, melted together slowly and rest until thickened. You could create a dairy free ganache option using soy cream and dairy free chocolate.
Have a happy and safe Easter!