My trip to Scotland was so memorable and so enjoyable for me on many levels. One of my favorite GF memories was going to a local Tesco and seeing how many GF options are available!
The main brand of gluten-free goodies I found was a generic Tesco brand called “Free From”. Free From offered the typical gluten-free pasta and such while also enticing me with things like “belgian chocolate wafers” (ie. Kit Kats!) and tarts for high tea. It took so much self-restraint not to buy everything in sight; the amount that I was buying already looked comical!
I was very surprised at how many breads were available! You can see a bit of what was offered at the top of the picture, but this didn’t span all of it. They had SO much gluten-free bread, and even with the exchange rate, it translated to about $3.50 or $4 for an entire loaf. (PS. I was also pleased to see the Genius Gluten Free brand available in breads as well!) Whole Foods and other specialty grocers who sell gluten-free bread have loaves that average $6. While the hefty price tag that accompanies our US gluten-free bread helps limit my carbohydrate intake anyway, I still found it was interesting that gluten-free is more affordable. My friend has been buying gluten-free breads and pastas exclusively as she lives in Glasgow and sees no reason not to continue due to their affordability. Why is it that we make gluten-free have a feeling of exclusivity through our increased prices? It could be due to the certified gluten-free process we have available in the US.
The other thing that I found interesting about their gluten-free bread is the fact that the UK does not freeze their gluten-free breads. Overall, my friend explained, the UK uses less preservatives than we do in our food, and for that reason, breads, eggs, fruit, etc. go bad quicker than in the States. While I can’t vouch for the preservative intake in our US gluten-free breads, I do wonder if the UK would benefit from keeping their GF bread frozen. My friend buys a double-loaf bag that is vacuum-sealed, cuts it down the middle, and freezes one half to preserve it herself. Of course, I have no control over this, but I still found it interesting!
Overall, I felt that Scotland (and the UK in general) are more conscientious about being gluten-free than when I visited in the fall of 2011. And, for that matter, the States has followed suit, trying to offer gluten-free items in popular restaurants. The thing that I cannot guarantee is how gluten-free their items are. Since I do not have Celiac’s Disease, I sometimes become lax about reading the nutritional specifications regarding if an item was processed in a facility that also handles wheat. For this, I apologize, my dear Celiac’s readers!
After my gluten-free experiences in the UK, would you consider taking a trip yourself?