Are you planning to buy a food-related present for someone who is living gluten free?
Do bear in mind that they won’t be able to eat anything that has wheat, oats, barley or rye in the ingredients. Some coeliacs can eat oats, but only if they are uncontaminated with wheat, and only in small quantities.
Do remember that there may be hidden gluten in the ingredients. Very, very rarely does a list of ingredients explicitly say ‘gluten’. Here in the UK, if it contains gluten, it should say so on the label, but it probably won’t say in the list of ingredients. Check.
Need ideas? Want to check if something might be risky?
Typical foodie Christmas presents include:
- chocolate and other sweets.
Pure chocolate should be fine; if it has added ingredients, be wary and check the label. Ask the manufacturer if necessary. Other sweets may well be risky: even if something is gluten free at one size, it may not be gluten free in a smaller/bigger size. Always check.
- jams, jellies, preserves and chutneys
Jams and jellies are likely to be fine, as are sweet preserves. Savoury preserves and chutneys may be a risk. Malt vinegar and Worcestershire sauce contain traces of malt extract, which some coeliacs cannot handle. Check.
- fancy oils and vinegars
Oils will be fine. Vinegars? Well, wine vinegars, cider, balsamic, fruit and spirit vinegars will all be fine. Malt vinegar – not so good.
Wines, spirits, cider and liqueurs are gluten free; beer, ale and stout are not (unless specially brewed, in which case the label will be clearly marked up as gluten free). For more discussion, see this post about which drinks are gluten free.
- cakes, pies and biscuits
These are high risk. Only offer those that you know to be gluten free; it will say so clearly on the label. If you’ve made them yourself, be very sure that you checked all the ingredients (yes, including the baking powder).
- coffee beans and fancy teas
Pure tea, coffee and cocoa powder are gluten free. But check sprinkles and toppings for cappucino, and all hot chocolates. Malted drinks are not going to be OK.
- spices, herbs and rubs
Again, possibly risky. Pure spices and herbs are gluten free, but pre-prepared mixes and rubs may contain flour as a carrying agent. Check carefully.
Presents are always welcome, of course, but it is nice to give something that you know will be safe for your friend to eat. Do check carefully.
What have I missed off this list? What other foodie presents have I forgotten about?
I’ve written a book summarising what we’ve learnt over 20 years of dealing with the gluten free diet, and it might be just what you’re looking for. It packs the lessons we’ve learned into what I hope is a helpful and straightforward guidebook. It’s available on Amazon, as a paperback or for your Kindle…