Gluten Free Canada

Saturday

Review: Delicious Without Gluten





I was recently contacted by the folks at Delicious Without Gluten and asked if I would like to review some of their products. They were kind enough to send me a lovely care pack with a variety of their baked goods.

Some quick facts about Delicious Without Gluten

  • Everything is made without gluten, dairy, peanuts and tree nuts
  • They are certified by the Canadian Celiac Association, thus bearing the logo
  • Products are Kosher
  • They have expanded into the Foodservice industry, offering a variety of goods to cafeterias, hospitals, convention centers, and restaurants
  • A Canadian company, based out of Quebec
  • They offer custom orders 
  • You can find their products throughout Ontario and Quebec
  • Everything freezes and defrosts beautifully

So What Did I think?

Full disclosure: I had heard a lot about Delicious Without Gluten and was beyond excited to sample away. One of the first things that I noticed was how fresh everything smelled and tasted. You can really tell that that a lot of thought has been put into creating this product line. 

I'm happy to report that the bread items can be enjoyed without the use of a toaster. That's right, they were light, airy and didn't fall apart. Awards should be given out for gluten-free bread that can be eaten sans toaster. But, if you do enjoy your bread products toasted, they fair well in the toaster as well. Both the bread and paninis make fantastic sandwiches. 

Side note: The Challah Rolls make for some excellent french toast.


 Banana Chocolate Chip Cake


Gluten-Free chocolate chip banana bread
I have a love-hate relationship with banana bread so I went into this unsure of my expectations. What did I think? Well, the Banana Chocolate Chip Cake was pretty wonderful! It had just the right amount of chocolate chips to provide a sweet surprise, but not take away from all that yummy banana. I enjoyed it both with and without a light spread of margarine. Both options are extremely enjoyable.


Chocolate Chip Muffins

 


Look at all of those chocolate chips! Seriously, these muffins were AMAZING. They're fluffy, full of chocolate chips and not at all dry. It's wonderful to be able to eat a gluten-free muffin that doesn't disintegrate into a crumbly mess. These are top of the line in my opinion. 


I usually try to find both positives and things which can be improved upon when I do a review, but I honestly loved everything I sampled. The only downside I can think of is that Delicious Without Gluten is not widely available on store shelves across the country. To that I say, if you enjoy their products, contact your local grocery stores and ask them to carry DWG products. 

You can find out where to buy Delicious Without Gluten products by searching their store locator.


Keep up with Delicious Without Gluten on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram



Wednesday

Le Marché Émilie: Review


While vacationing in Quebec, I found what I consider to be a hidden gem - Le Marché Émilie and it will pleasantly surprise you. The store itself is a beautiful old post office building which has been converted into a colorful and vibrant gluten-free cafe and grocery shop. It is located in Pointe-Claire and within walking distance of the breathtaking St. Lawerence river.


Gluten-Free Grocery Store
Le Marché Émilie

What's So Special?


The entire store is 100% gluten-free! That's right - grocery staples, desserts and hot food, ALL gluten-free. It's not often a Celiac finds a "safe" place to eat, let alone one that is completely dedicated to gluten-free. They serve freshly made pizza and have a pretty magical ice cream bar. On top of that, the store also sells both frozen and shelf stable gluten-free groceries.


Gluten-Free Shop
Eating area


Right away I was in awe of the shops colour palette. It gives off a really fun vibe. Although not large in size, the layout makes for a spacious and enjoyable atmosphere. Everything about Le Marché Émilie is absolutely darling. Including the people who work there. I was greeted the moment I walked in, with a friendly "Bonjour!" If you're not versed in French, don't worry - Pointe-Claire is a pretty bilingual area and the staff at Le Marché Émilie speak fluent English. Most of the signage is also in both English and French.


Pointe Claire Quebec
Groceries


We looked around the shop and discovered lots of product which is not available in Ontario. So much so that I will dedicate a future post to it. Since we visited Le Marché Émilie on our way back to Ontario, I decided to do a little souvenir grocery shopping in the freezer section. My husband was able to purchase a bag of ice at the convenience store across the road so I took a chance and bought about a hundred dollars worth of frozen food. I'm happy to say that all of the frozen food held up during our 6-hour drive home!


Just look at that pizza


Gluten-Free Pizza
Pizza


I ordered the personal size marinara pizza with 3 toppings. It cost me around eight dollars or so. The pizza base is focaccia, which was light, pillowy and filling. Portion size was generous in and in my opinion very worth it. Something else to make note of is that the pizza is dairy free on top of being gluten-free. Normally I can spot dairy free cheese a mile-a-way, but not the case here. The cheese was soft and velvety.


We need to talk about the Sundaes


Gluten-Free Ice Cream Shop
Ice Cream Menu



There are several varieties to choose from and they range from basic to extreme. I ordered the "Kid In A Candy Shop" sundae. It's vanilla ice cream which is coated in milk chocolate, m&m's, sprinkles, strawberry sauce and topped off with cotton candy. All for $5.95 plus tax. There is so much going on in this dessert and it all works perfectly together! I had no idea ice cream and cotton candy could make such an enticing combination. Much like the pizza, serving size is ample and you won't be disappointed.


Gluten-Free Sundae
Kid In A Candy Shop Sundae


Final Thoughts



I absolutely adored Le Marché Émilie and plan to stop by during future Quebec trips. It's the type of place I could see myself visiting on the regular had I lived closer. Cost wise, I was happy. They charge a fair price and don't gouge the way some places do.

If you will be visiting Quebec, please stop by and give them some well-deserved love! The Celiac community needs more dedicated gluten-free shops like Le Marché Émilie.

You can follow them on social media below:






Tuesday

Gluten Free Garage 2017


Less than 2 weeks to go until this year's Gluten Free Garage


I went last year for the first time and quickly became a fan. The pop-up gluten-free event feels like a farmers market, hidden away in the city. 


What you can expect from this year's event


  • Discover local bakeries, restaurants, and retailers that cater to their gluten-free needs
  • Sample and purchase gluten-free food, beverages and related lifestyle products from a wide variety of vendors
  • Enjoy delicious gluten-free food prepared onsite by local chefs and caterers
  • Get information about celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and the gluten-free diet
  • Learn more about the gluten-free lifestyle from guest speakers
  • Grab a free tote bag for all their gluten-free goodies
  • Take home coupons for future purchases as well as samples of gluten-free products


Learn more about the history of Gluten Free Garage by reading my interview with founder, Ronnilyn Pustil.




GFG


Hope to see you at this year's event!


Sunday

Review: Pikanik


I was provided with free product for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Gluten-Free Pancake and Lava Cake Mixes



Meet Pikanik


If you haven't discovered Pikanik, let me introduce you.
 Pikanik is a gluten-free and allergen safe bakery located in South Surrey British Columbia. EVERYTHING is free of gluten, wheat, peanut, tree nut, dairy, soy. Some products are even egg free.


They sell everything from bread, muffins, and cupcakes to pasta, baking mixes, and Vegan caesar salad dressing. For a flat $10.00 rate (on orders $30.00+) Pikanik delivers's from West Vancouver to Abbotsford and some surrounding areas.





Single and Lava'n It Chocolate Lava Cake Desset Mix


Gluten-Free Chocolate Lava Cake


Price: 
$8.95
Makes 6 single servings

Chocolate lava cake is new to me. Well, making it is anyways. Being the avid Food Network viewer that I am, more than a few of these have come across my screen. Watching chefs talk about how fussy and intricate these heavenly cakes are to make was enough for me to leave it to the pros.

So imagine my surprise when a mix for chocolate lava cake shows up at my home. I'll admit that I was a wee bit scared at first. I'd be crazy not to be right? Once I read over the extra ingredients and effort required, I was confidently pleased. All you will need on hand is a little bit of oil, coffee (optional), water and sugar.

The recipe is set up so that you can make individual lava cakes or a big one. I opted to get some use out of my ramekins and make individual ones. Cooking time and temperatures vary from oven to oven so please keep this in mind as you may need to make some adjustments. I had to crank the temperature slightly and leave the lava cake in a little longer. Once you figure out your oven, it's easy peasy. And don't worry, a delicate hand is not required for success.

Taste Test

If you are a chocolate fan, this mix is for you! Lava cake #2 (#1 was taken out too early...whoopsie!) was a wonderland of ooey gooey delicious! As you can see from the above photo, some of it stuck to the ramekin, but hey, it looks super rustic and cute! You can taste a nice sweetness, but you're not left with that overindulgent feeling. Though the cake was slightly dense it was lovely and paired spectacularly with whipped cream and powdered sugar. Next time around, I'm going all out and making an ice cream sundae lava cake! The fun combinations are endless. Especially considering the minimal effort needed to make the lava cakes.



Flippin' Fantastic Flapjacks Pancake Mix


Pancakes

Price: $10.95
Makes 60 pancakes

Silver Dollars, Flapjacks and Hotcakes are just some of the that names pancakes go by. For most people, mornings would not be complete without them. I love to make big batches and freeze them for quick (and sometimes late night) snacks.


Like the lava cake mix, this one doesn't require a whole lot of extra ingredients. All you need on hand is oil, eggs, yoghurt, and milk. I replaced the yoghurt with apple sauce and used Almond Milk for our pancakes.


Taste Test

The pancakes turned out pretty great. They flip flawlessly with a spatula which is really important to avoid a muddled mess in the pan. The addition of applesauce added a gorgeous scent and flavour. The pancakes turned out fluffy but slightly thinner than I'm used to. This could be due to my applesauce swap. I really loved that they were not overly sweet and were quite delicious with maple syrup and just a bit of butter. I'm thinking these pancakes would be great for school/work lunches - just spread your favourite jam or nut butter on a pancake and roll it up. Or go wild with a filling of sliced banana and Nutella.


Some Final Notes


  • The packaging of both mixes is resealable. How brilliant and ah-mazing is that?! 


  • Pikanik has a customer appreciation program that earns you a credit with every purchase!

  • Their product selection can be viewed and ordered online here


You can follow and interact with Pikanik on Facebook and Instagram: @pikanikcreations




Thursday

Reporting Gluten-Free Issues In Canada

Gluten-Free Standards



In Canada, a gluten-free manufacturer is expected to ensure that no gluten containing grains are present as an ingredient and that all ingredients used in the manufacture of a gluten-free product are indeed gluten-free and have not been cross contaminated in any way. Meaning gluten-free equals gluten-free. Not maybe, or almost, but entirely gluten-free.


What Can You Report?


  • Foods containing gluten, being sold as gluten-free 
  • An adverse reaction you've had following the consumption of gluten-free food
  • Restaurants/bakeries which market gluten containing items as gluten-free
  • Food falsely advertised in print as gluten-free

How To Report Your Concerns


Please report your concerns to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). They are responsible for enforcing the labelling regulations that are set by Health Canada. Once they have your complaint, they will investigate further. 

Contact your local CFIA regional office or call the following toll-free number 1-800-442-2342.

You can also use this online form to report your food safety or labelling concern.


What Will Happen


When you make a complaint, the CFIA will open a case file and launch a food safety investigation. A representative from the agency will contact you and may visit your home. A home visit is necessary for retrieval of leftover food in question. A sample will then be sent to a lab to be analysed. They may also visit the store which you purchased the item in question at to collect more samples.

You will be asked for 



  • Brand Name Of Product 
  • Size, Universal Product Code (UPC), Best Before Date 
  • Name and Address Of The Store where product Was Purchased At 
  • Purchase Date(s) 
  • Home Address (ensures your inquiry reaches the correct CFIA regional office) 
  • Daytime Phone Number so an inspector can reach you


Please keep any remaining product as a sample may be needed for investigation

You're Making A Difference


Speaking up and voicing your concerns is priceless. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Every complaint is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.

 Thanks to our help, the CFIA is able to:

- Issue Food Recalls
- Implement Label Updates
- Provide Allergen Safety Alerts
- Prevent Companies From Engaging In Misleading Advertising
- Notify Manufactures About Allergen Protocol



Did you know that you can sign up for food recall warnings via email? There's also a handy web application  which you can download free of charge, to stay up to date as well.

Saturday

Quick Guide To Canada's Gluten-Free Tax Credit



Did you know that in Canada, there is a slight tax break available for those who need to consume gluten-free food? The Canadian Revenue Agency allows a tax deduction for the purchase of gluten-free goods. This is really helpful as we all know how ridiculously expensive the gluten-free diet can be.




Who Qualifies

  • You must be diagnosed with Celiac disease and requiring a gluten-free diet by an authorized medical practitioner 
  • You need to have a note from your physician on his or her letterhead, confirming diagnosis 
  • Total medical expense must exceed 3% of net income


How It Works


There is a fair bit of effort involved

  • Keep receipts for gluten-free items purchased throughout the year
  • You will need to calculate the incremental difference between GF and non-GF items on an item by item basis
  • This is done by subtracting the cost of a non-GF item from a GF item


Example per Canada Revenue Agency website


1. Item: bread
2. Number of items purchased: 52
3. Average cost of non-GF product: $3.49
4. Average cost of GF product: $6.99
5. Incremental cost (line 4 minus line 3): $6.99 - $3.49 = $3.50
6. Amount to claim (line 5 multiplied by line 2): $3.50 x 52 = $182.00

 

Tips



  •  Highlight the gluten-free items on your receipts or keep gluten-free purchase separate from non-GF purchases
  • Keep your receipts organized in a folder and away from the sun
  • Use a spreadsheet to itemize and calculate
  • If you add to your spreadsheet with every gluten-free grocery shop, you will save time and avoid a headache
  • Save a copy of the spreadsheet for your records
  • Be patient



Tuesday

Kellogg's Gluten Free Rice Krispies Update!


Drum roll please ...

SUBJECT: Kellogg Canada Inc. 
     Thank you for contacting us on-line. We appreciate your interest in our company.Rice Krispies Brown Rice Gluten Free is available in Canada. This product was just recently launched and may take a few weeks before it is available in your local grocery store. Enjoy!
 Thank you once again for taking the time to e-mail us.
     Sincerely,
  Nancy Moodie    Associate Director
     Consumer Affairs
        CAKNMM02/cl
     025497419A

Wednesday

My First Online Gluten Free Order

Today I received my gluten free order from the Hospital for Sick Children's Speciality Food Shop. Not only is shipping FREE for Ontario, but my order showed up in only 3 days! They offer a wide selection of Gluten Free products to choose from. So much so that they gained a new loyal customer. I was also really happy to read that ALL of the purchase proceeds directly support patient care and research at the hospital.




 As you can see, I ordered a lot from the Simply Good Line. I stumbled across it on Amazon.com but was disappointed to find out they don't ship it to Canada. So I did some research and came across a review of the cupcake mix by Celiac Baby!. This made me want to order it even more. She let me know that Nut'N Gluten in Vaughan carries the cupcake mix. Unfortunately I probably won't get out that way anytime soon. Always good to know for future reference though! No giving up here. I e-mailed Simply Good (known as Well & Good in the lines Australian home). The response was awesome. I was informed that the line is available through  The Healthy Planet in  Pickering Ontario and online at the Specialty Food Shop (Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto).



I also purchased a pocket book which clearly lists ingredients that we can and cannot consume. Had this about 10 years ago and it was time for an updated version. I find it to be a real asset!


On Instagram

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