Two bottles of beer, packets of stroopwaffels and speculooos

Going Dutch for a Day (Gluten free) – Beer!

It’s 5.30.  It’s Friday.  It’s Vrijdagmiddagborrel or Vrijmibo, AKA Friday evening, after work drinkies, AKA Pub Club.  And I have two gluten free beverages to test.

Two bottles of beer, packets of stroopwaffels and speculooosFirstly, Mongozo Premium Pilsener.  Ingredients: Water, Barley malt, Rice, Yeast, Hops.  I picked these bottles up a long time ago at The Free From Show in London.  I wasn’t absolutely sure how a product could contain barley and still be gluten free.  The Mongozo salesman did explain it to me, but he had quite a strong accent and really quite a lot of free samples.  So I don’t understand the process, but I completely trust him because he is my best friend…

Also, while we are at it, let’s clear up some pickiness.  These beers are brewed in Belgium, but it’s for a Dutch company so they are still legit for our Dutch day.  The Pilsener was crisp, mild and fizzy.  It made me feel slightly nauseous as it brought back unpleasant memories of my teenage years.  In summary, it was exactly the same as normal lager, but without the gluten.

The second bottle had got me really excited, because it is a white beer.  I love the flavour of white beer, but it was one of the earliest signs that gluten and me were no longer friends.  One sip would really make me very ill indeed, which was so unfair as I really loved that sip.  The ingredients are water, barley malt, rice, buckwheat, yeast and hops.  My hopes were so high for this product that it seemed inevitable that they would be dashed.  And they weren’t!  This really was a fantastic product.  Light, refreshing, gently hoppy with a hint of sourdough.  If you are ordering for me at the bar, then “mine’s a Mongozo Buckwheat White Beer.”  I am buying myself a case for Christmas.

And on that happy ending, I hope you have enjoyed our wheat free/gluten free day of Dutchness, and I hope you have a great weekend.

The flags of Scotland, The UK, and The Netherlands

Two bottles of beer, packets of stroopwaffels and speculooos

Going Dutch for a Day (Wheat free) – Stroopwafels

How is your Dutch day going?  It’s still raining here.  I think it is time for another snack, Molenaartje brand Spelt Stroopwafels.

Ingredients: Spelt flour (gluten), Spelt syrup, Vegetable oil (palm oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil), Rice syrup, Honey, Soy flour, Corn and barley malt syrup, Emulsifier: sunflower lecithin, Sea salt, Raising agent: sodium bicarbonate, Cinnamon, Citric acid.

May contain traces of milk, egg, sesame seeds and nuts.

These stroopwafels are about the size of a coaster.  They consist of two crisp biscuits with a sticky syrup in between.  Stroopwafels are generally very yummy and somewhat addictive.  The spelt version tasted a bit too healthy, but still had a big enough sugar hit. Thanks to that energy boost, I think I can stagger on for another two hours until the next blog, and it’s a favourite of mine.  It’s time for a borrel.  Intrigued?  See you back here at 5.30pm!

The flags of Scotland, The UK, and The Netherlands

Going Dutch for a Day (Gluten free) – Speculoos

We recently had a delivery from Holland At Home so we thought we would have a Dutch day.  Plus, it feels quite Netherlandsy round here.  Firstly, it’s raining a lot at the moment.  Secondly, the landscape in our part of England is very similar to the Netherlands.  This is probably because, thirdly, we are geographically very close to the Netherlands.  This means we have lots of Dutch tourists, which is why we have the Dutch flag flying in our town.  [Sorry for the poor photo.  The Allergy Brothers’ need to get to the playground trumped my need to take a nice photo of the flags.]

The flags of Scotland, The UK, and The Netherlands

If we were in the Netherlands, then it’s probably time for a snack and some coffee.  We tried the gluten free spicy speculoos made by Consenza.

Ingredients – Cane sugar, Corn starch, Butter (milk), Tapioca flour, Potato starch, Egg, Spices (3%)(Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Mace, Nutmeg, Allspice, Ginger), Dextrose, Thickener: guar gum, Lupine flour, Salt.

May contain traces of soy, sesame, and tree nuts.

These biscuits were really very cute as they are shaped like little windmills.  They had a pleasing, lightly spicy flavour, and a soft, cookie like texture.  This is particularly unusual in a gluten free product as these tend to be brittle and crisp. In fact, I was very happy with these speculoos until I got to the last one.  It had an unpleasant fibrous mass attached to it!  I can’t decide if I am glad or nauseated by the fact that it was the last one.  Certainly if it had been the first then I would have thrown the rest away, and I won’t be buying them again!

Oh well, better luck later.  We’ll meet again at 3.30pm for another fortifying snack and some more coffee (we’re going to miss lunch as a blog entry, but we’ll probably make a gluten free cheese toastie to keep to the theme!).

Cardboard box with packing peanuts and boxes of food

Holland At Home

Allergy Big is, in some ways, very English indeed.  He is a bit awkward about talking to girls, he says sorry often, and he knows that any crisis situation can be improved by having a cup of tea.  However, at breakfast, he likes to go Dutch.  Not in the sense of sharing; in fact, it is the exact opposite.  Allergy Big greatly enjoys his breakfast of rye bread spread with peanut butter and sprinkled with dark chocolate vlokken (a type of chocolate sprinkle made from ribbons of chocolate).  He started eating this when we went on holiday to The Netherlands, and he hasn’t seen a reason to stop.

When our holiday stash ran out, we had to find a source of Dutch breakfast sprinkles.  Luckily, this is not difficult these days, and, after trying a few different online suppliers, we have settled on Holland At Home.  This is an English language website that is an online Dutch supermarket.  The postage and packaging is based on the weight of the products so I like to get my money’s worth by adding on a few extra products to try each time.  This website is not really very good for allergen avoiding as often the ingredients information is missing all together.  Also, the search facility is a bit of a blunt instrument.  For example, if you search for gluten free then you will get gluten free foods, but you will also get other products, like baby wipes, that are technically gluten free, but not really what you were thinking of.

One time, when we ordered from Holland at Home, we found that the packets had been damaged so the contents were rolling around the box, and it wasn’t what we had ordered anyway.  The company dealt with this very quickly and sent us our original order again.  I was happy with this.  Mistakes happen and it is how a company deals with the inevitable mistakes that matters most.  However, I think there may have been a meeting at Holland At Home HQ to discuss how their shoddy packing had let down the whole country’s reputation as the world’s logistic experts because, since then, our order has arrived in almost comical levels of packing materials.

It seems quite innocuous from the outside, and look, they include a free memory game with Dutch images…


…but, when you turn it over.

A small boy has turned over a large cardboard box, and there are packing peanuts everywhere.

It was enough that Allergy Little could make “packing peanut angels”.  The boys had enormous fun playing snow games with all the packaging materials.

Cardboard box with packing peanuts and boxes of food

We often review products that we have purchased from this website, and we will be having a gluten-free Dutch theme day later in the week!

Suma Plain Chocolate Raisins

0008744_suma-plain-chocolate-raisins_300Ingredients – raisins, cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, glazing agents: gum Arabic and vegetable protein, soya lecithin.

Here at Allergy Towers, these are kept for the grown ups because a) I am not sure “vegetable protein” narrows it down enough and I like to know exactly what the Allergy Brothers are eating and b) they pack quite a punch as they are really properly dark chocolatey. They come into their own about 4pm on a rainy day in the middle of the school holidays when you need something to get you through the last bit before bedtime, but gin seems a bit wrong.