Friday, February 6, 2015

News & Notes: February 6, 2015

European-based gluten-free baker Schar will be bringing gluten-free croissants in the U.S. come March. While the idea of a gluten-free croissant is a novel one, what's more unique is that it's the first Schar product available in America to include certified gluten-free wheat starch - processed to remove gluten - as an ingredient. The wheat starch allows Schar to add a durability to the dough that is key to achieving the croissant’s trademark crust. The use of gluten-free wheat starch is allowed in gluten-free products according to the recently enacted U.S. Food & Drug Administration guidelines so long as the ingredient is disclosed on the packaging and the product tests to less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The croissants come in classic and hazelnut cream-filled varieties.

According to Pam Cureton, R.D., a Celiac Disease specialist at the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment in Boston, “Products made with gluten-free wheat starch are absolutely safe, even for people with particularly high sensitivity to gluten.”

Schar's Director of Nutritional Services, Anne Lee, R.D., told me by email that "first and foremost, we test all of our ingredients before they are allowed into the production facility and we test batches during production as well as the finished product to assure there is no gluten entering our production facilities and no cross-contamination of any kind anywhere along the production and packaging process."

According to Lee, Schar has been working with certified gluten-free wheat starch for several years, as it increases the taste and texture of gluten free products. "In practice as well, we only use the wheat starch in a limited amount of products where the inclusion of the wheat starch is necessary from a sensory and quality necessity. That said, however, we are scrupulous in the process and selection of the end product as well as the supplier and the processing mill."

Lee says that Schar only uses Codex-certified gluten-free non-GMO wheat starch. "We have a very close collaboration with specific mills and research and development to process the extraction of the wheat starch to achieve a end product that is well under the Codex-allowed level of 20 ppm." She notes that the product is not acceptable for consumers who have wheat allergies. (You can read much more about gluten-free wheat starch in the current issue of Gluten-Free Living magazine; the article is posted on the magazine's website.)

The latest new product from Pamela's - gluten-free graham crackers - comes in both Traditional Square and Mini Size, available in Honey, Cinnamon and Chocolate.

Trader Joe's has a "new and improved" gluten-free Chocolate Chip Brownie Mix, featured in this month's circular. A 16-oz. box sells for $3.99.

Responding to a query on its Facebook pageDunkin' Donuts says it's testing additional gluten-free offerings. You may recall that the coffee chain tested gluten-free donuts and muffins in 2013 but pulled the plug on a national roll-out.

Glutino recently expanded its line of gluten-free pretzels to include salted caramel-covered and buffalo style varieties.

I reviewed Kellogg's new gluten-free Special K cereal in Tuesday's post. The cereal is making its way to more stores weekly; look for it in the cereal aisle.

Locally, salad/juice bar/sandwich shop Fuel has opened an outpost in Ardmore (5 W. Lancaster Ave., 610-896-3835), where customers will find gluten-free panini.

Cupcake in a Jar, available at b.good
Marlton's better-for-you burger joint b.good (500 Rt. 73 S., 856-988-0275), which offers gluten-free burgers and fries, has added desserts from Doylestown's The Grain Exchange. Diners can choose from Chocolate Brownies, Caramel Delight Bars and Cupcakes in a Jar.

The Good Eatz Cafe and Bakery in Reading has closed. The bakery was one of the oldest gluten-free bakeries in the area.

To mark this week's publication of "The Gluten-Free Revolution" by Philly's own Jax Peters Lowell, Barbuzzo (110 S. 13th St., 215-546-9300) will be hosting a celebratory dinner on Monday, Feb. 9. The $95 four-course dinner includes gluten-free food, beverage pairings, and a copy of Lowell's book. (You can check out the menu here; it includes brioche and options like pan-seared potato gnocchi, veal skirt steak and brown butter cake.) RSVP via email.

Have a great weekend!

- Michael

With the Gluten Free Philly app for iOS and Android devices,  find more than 1,400 area gluten-free-friendly businesses on the go, search by cuisine or neighborhood, make reservations and more!
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