For those of you who didn’t already know, this week is Coeliac Awareness Week (8-14th May)! Although I don’t have coeliac disease, as a gluten intolerant blogger it would be foolish of me not to help raise awareness of this condition as so many people still have absolutely no idea what it is, and that includes some people who will no doubt be struggling with digestive issues that may potentially be caused by undiagnosed coeliac disease.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten, attacking the gut every time gluten is eaten. It can be life threatening in certain cases.
Gluten intolerance (which is what I have) is when someone experiences symptoms often similar to coeliac disease, but there is no damage to the gut. Although it can be painful, there is no long-term damage resulting from eating gluten for anyone with gluten intolerance. But if someone with coeliac disease eats gluten then long-term damage can occur.
More information about coeliac disease is available on one of my older blog posts – click here to read it. If you think you might have coeliac disease please get checked out by your GP.
Many years ago I was advised by my doctor to remove gluten from my diet due to the horrible symptoms I experienced whenever I ate it, and thankfully those symptoms have disappeared since I’ve been gluten-free.
So when Tesco recently got in touch and asked me to review some of the items in their award winning Free From section I of course agreed. Any excuse to eat some gluten-free treats! Everything in moderation and all that. 😉
A number of Tesco’s Free From products recently did particularly well at the Free From Food Awards 2017 and before I even get onto my review section of this post I want to let you know that I already love a lot of Tesco’s Free From products and buy them regularly! I particularly love their Free From pasta range.
I decided for this review post to venture away from the pasta though, so I chose a mix of items to include some I’ve eaten before and already knew I loved, and a few items I had never tried before. I know that as a health journalist you might be expecting me to have looked for the healthiest possible options, but in all honesty, most of my healthy meal choices are made from scratch. So I took this opportunity to share my favourite shop bought sweet treats with you instead! Any excuse to indulge my sweet tooth. 😉
Having eaten these numerous times before, I chose to review them because I wanted to let you guys know just how great they are! As a child, whenever I went to see my Nan (years before I discovered my gluten intolerance) she would give me a lemon slice cake bar. I never had them any other time, but they would always be a special thing for when I went to see my Nan. Then one day (years after my Nan had passed away) I saw these in the Tesco Free From section and I knew I had to try them…and they took me right back in my memory to sitting in my Nan’s living room. They are one of my favourite sweet treats and even my Son (who isn’t gluten intolerant) has chosen these over the gluten containing alternative many times!
Taste: As soon as you pick one up you can smell the fresh lemon scent. These have just the right amount of lemon in them – not too strong so your tongue freaks out, but not too weak that you’re left wondering where the lemon flavour was. No weird aftertaste either. They taste lovely and light, and they’re definitely not the kind of cake that makes you feel bloated and full – they’re absolutely delicious!
Texture: The lemon slices hold together perfectly – no holes or anything like that (unlike gluten-free cakes of the old days). They’re firm to hold but basically dissolve as soon as you put them in your mouth, which is exactly what a lemon slice should be like in my opinion. I love the fact they have small pieces of lemon icing on the top as well as in the middle because that satisfies my super sweet tooth and adds to the texture.
Size: I know how much size matters in the gluten-free world (because we get stuck with tiny versions of everything for some reason). These are slightly smaller than similar gluten containing products, but you get about three bites for each slice, which I’m happy with as it’s rare I only have one at a time anyway! 😉
Price: £1.80 for 5 lemon slices – I would like them to cost a bit less just because I know how much less the gluten containing versions are, but as far as quality I would definitely say they’re 100% worth it.
If you’re a total chocaholic like me then you probably don’t even consider a cookie a real cookie unless it has some kind of chocolate chips in it. Well these little beauties have chocolate chips…and they are chocolate flavoured…and they have a layer of chocolate on the bottom!! Seriously, these are my favourite cookies of all time – and that includes cookies back from before I went gluten-free!
Taste: These are without doubt the ‘chocolatiest’ chocolate cookies I have ever had the pleasure of eating! They’ve got that perfect balance between being dry enough to be a cookie and yet gooey enough to taste like some kind of fudge cookie mix. Is that a thing – a fudgey cookie!? It is now. I don’t even bother dipping these in a hot drink as they are perfect on their own. Although if you wanted to dunk them then the chocolate layer on the bottom would melt…and they would taste soooo good. Wait *goes to dunk a cookie* – yep, sooooo good!
Texture: They hold together perfectly (which we all know is important in the gluten-free baking world) and the chocolate chips scattered throughout make them deliciously creamy. Although I like to share food about as much as Joey from Friends (which for anyone who hasn’t seen Friends means I hate sharing food), anyone who I’ve offered these to has had no idea they are gluten-free. Which show how good they are.
Size: Unlike many gluten-free alternatives, these are actually the same size as a normal cookie. Wahoo!
Price: £1.80 for 8 cookies – Not the cheapest cookies, but in my opinion they’re worth it.
Having never actually tried sourdough before, I figured I’d give it a go because every other health blogger raves about it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Taste: This bread is so fresh! It smells lovely and has a different taste to ‘normal’ gluten-free bread, which means it tastes great even just toasted with a little bit of butter – yes, I eat butter. I tried making a cheese toastie too and it was delicious!
Texture: I like that this loaf has a little more flavour than the average gluten-free bread…but what I REALLY like is that it holds together! Having only eaten pre-sliced gluten-free bread before it was a refreshing change to try this and actually cut the slices to the size I wanted them without fear of it falling apart. I particularly loved the fact that it held together even when I was spreading butter on it…which we all know a lot of gluten-free breads don’t manage to do.
Size: It’s a typical cob loaf size, so nothing strange going on there. Yay!
Price: £2.80 – It’s definitely not cheap and I will be honest and say that the price of most gluten-free breads drives me bonkers. But as it’s a similar price to any other gluten-free loaf it’s not too bad.
Being completely in love with chocolate, this caught my eye a while ago in the free from section, but I didn’t pick it up because I’m such a creature of habit. Am I the only person who likes the look of something but doesn’t want to buy it in case it doesn’t taste as good as their usual selection!? Anyway, writing this post gave me the perfect excuse to pick it up and finally try it. This has to be the easiest pudding ever – you just pop it in the microwave, then turn it out onto a plate and eat it. Seriously, it’s that simple!
Taste: Rich and chocolatey. I could probably leave it as that because those words sum it up perfectly, but I’m guessing you might want a little more info. The pudding isn’t too rich and then the chocolate sauce on top falls down the sides and coats it in a deliciously rich layer. It’s not my absolute favourite chocolate pudding but it’s definitely a good one! I would buy it again.
Texture: I hate this word, but it’s really moist. The pudding has a delicious gooey texture and the chocolate sauce on top completes it perfectly. It’s quite dense in a fudge cake kind of way, which I really like.
Size: Thankfully for once I actually agree with the recommended serving size! Usually the recommend serving size is so small it wouldn’t even fill me up for five minutes, but this whole pudding is recommended for one person. Yay! It’s the perfect size for a pudding for one in my opinion as it’s so rich that I doubt you’d want it to be any bigger. It’s also worth noting that it’s actually about the same size as a gluten containing pudding for once!
Price: £1.20 for one – As it’s so easy to prepare, that’s a great price. Although my money would preferably be spent on the next item just because it is absolute perfection…
The main thing I missed when I went gluten-free was profiteroles, I’ve always LOVED them. So when I first saw these in Tesco quite a while ago I grabbed them and my love was rekindled! I’ve bought these numerous times before (and at Christmas I had plenty of boxes of them in my freezer). So these were one of the first things I thought of when I was asked to find some foods from the Tesco Free From range because I wanted to share with you the wonder that is these profiteroles.
Taste: I just want to say first of all that I bloody love my job – being asked to taste test profiteroles is the thing dreams are made of! The combination of choux pastry, cream and chocolate is heavenly! Despite being a qualified journalist (and therefore supposedly being good with words), all I can think of to describe the taste of these is absolute perfection!!
Texture: When you bite into these you get that perfect ooze of cream and the beautiful Belgian chocolate. If you’re worried that the gluten-free choux pastry will be crumbly because of how some gluten-free products end up, let me settle your mind now and tell you that these are perfect. Seriously, try them.
Size: The same size as gluten containing profiteroles. Yay!
Price: £1.50 – Worth every single penny!
Do you already love any of these items? What’s your favourite item in the Tesco Free From range?
#ad – but views are my own