Shop Review – glusto.com

If you’re a long time reader of this blog you’ll know that I’m a big fan of something new or different.  The variety that you have in gluten free food here in Germany is very small compared to my home country of Britain.  Not that I have a problem with the Schaer/Schnitzer/Seitz of the world, it’s great that they provide all the every day items, but sometimes I’d like something a little more special.

Thankfully, some entrepreneurs are setting up online shops just to fill that niche.   Today we’re talking about glutso.com, a new Italian based gluten free shop with lots and lots of things you cannot buy here in Germany!  Perfect.  They were kind enough to send me a box of items to try out for a review, a good combination of pastas and cookies and such.

So, let’s just get to it.  First up, the pasta selection.  The pasta you can buy here in Germany is, well, technically pasta.  It’s not terrible, but it is also not great.  Now if there’s one thing you would expect an Italian gluten free shop to have, it’s good pasta.

gluten free pasta glutso

First up is the Tri Colour Pasta.  Just look at it, good packaging and good quality looking pasta.  It is worth noting here that all of this pasta is a little more sensitive to cooking times, so you have to be very careful not to under or over cook it.  I, unfortunately, am not an expert pasta cooker, but even with that I was very happy with what came out.

gluten free tricolour pasta glusto

The texture and flavour are amazing, around 57 times better than any gluten free pasta I’ve tried before.

gluten free corn pasta glusto

glutenfrei mais pasta glusto

Next up is the Corn Pasta, perhaps my favourite out of all the pastas I tried.  It’s the closest I’ve had to regular gluten-filled pasta.

gluten free amaranth fusilli pasta glusto

glutenfrei amaranth fusilli pasta glusto

Next is the Amaranth Fusilli, this one was pretty good but I think I overcooked it a little.  Even with that, it’s still a lot better than any other gluten free pasta I’ve tried.

IMG_3731

glutenfrei kastanie Pennette pasta glusto

Lastly the Chestnut (and rice) Pennette, which again, was a little hard to cook and as a result had a little odd texture to it, but was still pretty good.

Overall, each of these pastas if far above what you can find in any shop here in Germany and I would highly recommend you give them a try.  You may pay a little more, but you are paying for quality.  Plus, they even have Gnocchi!

Next up, biscuits.

gluten free cantuccini glusto

These little almond cantuccini were amazing, certainly the best I’ve had.  They were a little powdery, but the flavour was perfect.

glutenfrei shortbread glusto

Farcighiotto, something I’d never really heard of before, but they’re basically shortbread with a chocolate cream filling in the middle.  They were a little powdery (see my comments below for all of these cookies), but the flavour was great.

glutenfrei kekse chia heidelbeeren

Chia and Blueberry cookies, how amazing does that sound!  These were delicious, if a little powdery also.

glutenfrei Zimtkekse

The same goes for these little cinnamon cookies, amazing flavour but a little powdery.

gluten free ghiottone

glutenfrei hiottone

Next up is Ghiottone, another thing I’ve never really seen before.  This was unfortunately the only real disappointment out of everything I tried, the biscuit part was super dry and powdery and the chocolate wasn’t all that great.

gluten free chocolate muffin

Next up were some little chocolate muffins, which were again delicious, but the texture was a let down and they were prone to crumbling.

glutenfrei joghurt muffin

I’ve never had a yoghurt muffin before, but these were even better than the chocolate ones, but again, a little crumble prone.

gluten free mini tortillas

Last up are some little Teff Tortillas, they were good but have a very distinct flavour that might not be to every-bodies taste.  If you like things made from teff flour, you’ll probably like these though.

So, you may be thinking that the pasta sounds amazing, but you’re not too sure about the crumbly/powdery nature of the cookies and muffins.  Well, yes, it is a little bit of an issue.  But that is what gluten free food is, you’d be hard pressed to find a manufactured cookie that doesn’t have this problem.  Plus, the ones that are less powdery/crumbly are usually full of so many chemicals that I’m not sure how good they really are.  In the end though, for me the flavour made up for any texture problems.

They have a lot more on offer than I’ve reviewed here so be sure go to and have a look through their online shop.

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Shop Review – Bierlinie

You know how it is when you’re walking down the street as a gluten-less person.  You glance past all those lovely window displays of things you can’t eat, signs proclaiming the delicious food on offer that, should you eat it, would just poison you.  It’s a depressing state of affairs, but, you’re an optimist, so you keep looking, even in the face of overwhelming odds.  Then one day, the sun shines and it pays off.

glutenfrei Bierlinie

It almost didn’t register, I’m so tuned to expect nothing gluten free, but then another sign popped up in front of me.

Bierlinie gluten free beer

A beer shop that actually advertises it’s gluten free beer options!  Amazing.  The fact that they are very near to my apartment and this is the first time I’d heard of them was only slightly disturbing.

gluten free beer Beir

I ventured inside expecting to find the usual Lammsbrau and such.  But look at what I found.

Bierlinie gluten free beer berlin

Not one, but two Mongozo gluten free beers.  Plus at a fairly reasonable price!

I inquired if this was all they had and the nice helpful man behind the counter pointed me to these.

Bierlinie glutenfrei IPA beer

A Pale Ale!  Something different than a Pilsner type beer.  Happiness.

I went back again and within a week they’d already added a new gluten free beer from Norway.

gluten free beer berlin

Plus, if you look carefully you can find some rather good cider.

Bierlinie gluten free cider

I have since spoken to the owner and they are looking to expand their gluten free range but are having a hard time sourcing gluten free beers.  So if you know of any that they do not stock (and secretly wish they would, I’m looking at you Celia Dark) let them know!

In conclusion.  Yes, this is THE best place to go and buy gluten free beer in the city and they’re only going to get better.  Yes, some of the options may be pricey, but they’re also imported beers and you shouldn’t be complaining at getting to drink delicious gluten free beer anyway.  Go now and go often and thank the lovely people there.

Allergy Explorer - Gluten Free food and restaurant listings in Germany

Shop Review – foodoase.de

I may have said it a million times before but it really can be tough finding good gluten free food to eat here in Germany.  I’m not sure whether it’s the fact that gluten free is still a relatively new thing here or the fact that gluten free food is treated more like a medicine, a sustenance to be endured rather than enjoyed.  Or perhaps it could be the companies here that make the food, or the stores that sell it here, unwilling to think it will sell and demanding long shelf life.  Either way, it can be frustrating, especially after getting back from a trip to the UK or USA, having stuffed my face with amazing food.

Thankfully though, some of the online retailers have taken notice of this and have started importing food from other countries for sale right here in Germany. Out of these, easily the best and the one with the widest range is food oase.  They have some of the best gluten free food from the UK, the USA and other countries.  To put it in perspective, at the time of writing, there are 1772 gluten free products on their site!  Amazing.  Think Doves Farms, Genius, Love More, Bobs Red Mill and many many more.  Do you need some Xanthan Gum?  How about some Baking Soda?  Shortbread perhaps? (not to mention Plamils great dairy free chocolate)

Luckily for me, they send through a sampler package of some of their products.  Luckily for you I took lots of pictures. (and ate it all, just to help, you know, for review purposes)

glutenfrei bobs red mill pancake mix

First up, we have my absolute favourite.  Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix.   Bob’s Red Mill simply make the best flours and mixes around (with Doves Farm being a close second), with this one being perhaps the best.  Do you want to eat a pancake and not even notice it’s gluten free?  This is the flour for you.

bobs red mill gluten free pancake flour

bobs red mill glutenfrei pancake

I’m not sure how I didn’t eat that before I took the picture.  But they are just crispy enough, the interior is nice and fluffy without any grainy texture.  Perfection.

glutenfrei pizza flour bobs red mill

Next up with have their Pizza Crust Mix.  It isn’t quite as good as their pancake mix and to be fair, most pizza base mixes are not so great, but it is pretty good.

bobs red mill gluten free pizza dough

The dough turns out a little sticky as most gluten free versions do.

bobs red mill gluten free pizza base

Although a good pizza can be made out of it.  So I guess it does it’s job.  It’s certainly better than any of the mixes you can buy here and better than the pre-made bases from Schaer and the like.

bobs red mill gluten free flour

Next is their Four Grain Porridge.  I do miss my morning porridge (being British, it’s much more of a brekfast food than the delicious pancakes above) so I was rather excited with this one.

glutenfrei porridge bobs red mill

bobs red mill gluten free porridge

Now, yes, you may look at that last picture and think, well, that isn’t porridge, that’s some sand you found.  And yes, it does have the consistency of millions of tiny tiny little pebbles.  Unfortunately this does carry over into the finished product.  I mean, it’s not terrible, but I’ve had better porridge that I’ve made myself from gluten free oats.

Next up is little gluten free buns from Alnavit.  Both their white and seeded versions.

gluten free alvanit bread

They are of the prepackaged long shelf life variety, but they are also lactose free!  So not all bad.

glutenfrei alnavit buns

To be honest, they’re not my favourite in the world but they are on par with Schaer (only slightly more expensive per gram).  If you’re looking to buy bread from foodoase, I’d see my post on Genius first.

gluten free chips chill and lemon

glutenfrei lentil chips creamy dill

Next up are some lovely lovely lentil and chickpea chips.  It’s definitely good to have something other than potatoes to fulfill my junk needs.

glutenfrei lentil chips glutenfrei kirscherbsen chips

The texture is a little odd but they are a great snack food and have a good flavour to them.  Not too strong, just enough.  They might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d give them a try for at least one packet (of the creamy dill variety, they were rather delicious).

gluten free eat real bars

Last up is Eat Real Cashew & Cranberry Bars.  These were perhaps the most disappointing of the selection.  They sound and look good, but they were unfortunately extremely crumbly and quite lacking in flavour.  If I had nothing else to hand, they’re good, but otherwise, I’d give them a miss.

glutenfrei eat real bar

All in all, foodoase is a great site and they are really trying to provide a good selection of high quality products from around the world.  Something that is essential in the somewhat behind German gluten free market.

Bakery Review – Jute Backerei Preview

gluten free jute bakery berlin

I am so unbelievably excited this month.  Why you may ask?  Well, when I am traveling the world and I have a choice between a few cities, I’ll invariably pick the one with the best Gluten Free options.  If that city has a dedicated Gluten Free bakery, then I’m already there.  But, get this, we’re going to have our very own Gluten Free bakery here in Berlin!

To give you an idea of my level of excitement, this pre-review is being written before they even open.

But, it does include a little substance as they have been selling their bread (plus buns and a rather delicious apple cake) as a preview before they open on the 27th September.  Upon hearing this, I ran over immediately and bought myself a little something (I did try the apple cake, but it obviously did not survive long enough for a photo).

glutenfrei jute backerei berlin brot

YUM!

gluten free jute bakery bread

Yes, it is good.  While it’s probably not my absolute favourite Gluten Free loaf I’ve had (my English sensibilities prefer lighter and fluffier bread) it’s pretty high up there.  Although, they do have a lighter white loaf which I shall be sampling soon indeed.

So, yes, they’re not open yet, but yes, you should definitely go down there right now.  Tell them how much you love them for opening a Gluten Free bakery and spend all the money you have right then and there.

Plus, attend their opening party on the 27th.

Click the banner below to see all the details of this restaurant on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.

Allergy Explorer - Gluten Free food and restaurant listings in Germany

Shop Review – Herr Nilsson Godis

If, like me, you come from another country and are a little peeved at the lack in choice of sweets here in Germany, and are looking for something other than the horrific rubber Haribo junk, then there is a place in Friedrichshain for us, Herr Nilsson Godis .   I’ve been aware of the place for a while, buying from their stands at the Christmas markets and such, but I’d never actually made it to their shop.  So when I went and found that they have a full breakdown of what ingredients are in each of their items with clearly marked allergy labels, I decided that Herr Nilsson Godis might be the best place in the world (well, at least the best place in Berlin for candy).

The shop itself is a little on the small side (fortunately, sweets are also small) but the selection is quite varied.

Now, your first thought may be something like ‘well, I’ve been to places where they have sweets in bins like that, and they’re usually old/hard/cheap/a bit crap’, and in most cases you’d be right, they usually are.  But here they use some kind of magic and everything is as fresh as can be, plus, it is definitely some of the best candy I’ve ever had.  From what I could discern, all of their stock is imported from Sweden, who knew the Swedes were so good at making sweets?

There’s this little sign explaining what their sweets contain and then the little letters appear on each bin.

Now, if you look closely, you’ll notice there are only ‘may contain traces of gluten’ items, so if slight cross-contamination is an issue this may not be the place for you.  Personally I’ve never had an issue.

In conclusion, you should definitely pop by for a visit and get yourself a giant bag of sweets.

You’ll also probably be surprised by the cost, I bought a fairly hefty bag and it only cost a few euros.

Click the banner below to see all the details of this shop on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.
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Shop Review – Edeka Reichelt Alexa

I never really venture inside Edeka supermarkts, mostly as the one near to me is tiny and pretty awful (plus, they have nothing for us gluten afflicted).  But, I had a tip that the Edeka in the basement of Alexa had a few special gluten free treats on offer, so off I went for a visit, and it turns out they do.

Alas, they don’t have any types of gluten free products that you cannot buy anywhere else, but they do, at least, have it from a different manufacturer.  However, they do mix it in with all the other produce, so you have to scour the shelves to find things you can eat.  Why they do this is beyond me.

In this case, Seitz, which I’d never heard of before and haven’t seen it for sale in any other shops.  But, a little variety is something I crave and the more competition there is out there, the better the products should become.

It was all pretty standard stuff really, the only difference as that they use chickpea flour in their pasta (albeit combined with the regular rice and corn flour), which might make a little difference in texture, at least one would hope (I’m a little sick of corn pasta).

In conclusion, not the most earth shattering of places to shop, but it is at Alexanderplatz, where there are quite a few gluten free places, each stocking different brands.  Making it, so far, the best place to go for a shopping trip (see the recommendations link at the top for a listing of all the shops there).  Also, pretty much next door is a Rossmann.  Again, not the best for gluten free food, but they do have their own range :

Click the banner below to see all the details of this shop on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.
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 Seitz Gluten Free products

Shop Review – Alnatura Markt Bergmannstrasse

*** Update November 2011 *** – They are having issues with their fresh bread so its worth checking first if they have any.

Whilst wandering the streets of western Kreuzberg the other day, it occurred to me that I have not yet reviewed (and hardly visited) an Alnatura store, mostly as there are none near to where I live.  I figured there would be the standard offering of gluten free pastas and flour scattered throughout the shop with nothing much to write home about.  So, when, a couple of metres in from the door, I was greeted with this, I was quite surprised.

That’s right, a little basket full of freshly made glutenfrei bready treats!  I quickly grabbed one of the (I think oddly shaped) round loaves.

A little further round the store I found some of the more usual glutenfrei offerings tucked in amongst gluten laden products.

And, again suprisingly, a dedicated gluten free section.

Which, of course, didn’t contain all the gluten free items in the store, just a curious selection.  But, the astute amongst you may notice, they are not your standard Schär or Hammer Mühle offerings, they’re mostly from Alnavit, a welcome change.  Price wise, about the same as most of the bio/specialist shops here.

In conclusion, if you’ve never been, is it worth a trek out to one for a visit?  Yes, a little variety is always good in my book.

Click the banner below to see all the details of this shop on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.
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Shop Review – Veganz

I do love the excitement of a new shop opening, especially when they have a certain gluten focus (even if, as here, it isn’t their main focus).  Mostly as I love wandering around, checking all the shelves and seeing what unknown treats are hiding within.

With Veganz I was a little more excited than usual as I’d been to their stand at the recent Vegan festival in Alexanderplatz, bought a couple of pieces of gluten free cake and stuffed my face happily.  I’d heard that not only were they a markt of sorts but that they had a cafe serving freshly baked (in house!) cakes.  Joy indeed.

First, though, was a perusal of their shelves.

I was minorly disapointed, although not surprised, to see that the gluten free food is mixed in with the rest of the food.  It seems to be a fairly standard practice here.  Meaning I’m sure I missed a few gluten free goods as they simpily were not labeled clearly enough.  For instance, can you tell why I took the top photo?  No, it’s not the gluten free pasta.  It’s not the quinoa.  It’s the cous cous, one box made from corn, one from rice.  But if you didn’t look closely at everything, you might just skip by it.

The frozen section is a little average, but far better than you’d get in most places.  There are a few different types of pizzas but not a whole lot else (hopefully this will change in the future).

But, their biscuit (or cookie if you’re from more distant lands) section, is amazing.  I noticed brands imported from both the UK and US.

The difference between the horrific werz glutenfrei cookies and the doves farm cookies is night and day, I’d say the difference between eating compressed sugar and sand bars with actual cookies.

Also, for those of you lactose afflicted, they have a pretty good alternative milk selection (plus a good selection of ice cream).

All in all, the shop is pretty damn good.  There is a more varied selection here than in other places and most of what you can buy here isn’t for sale anywhere else that I’ve seen.  The downside is that you are going to pay for it, a large frozen gluten free pizza is going to set you back around €10.50, the Against the Grain cookies were €5 a box.  But, it is pretty specialist and mostly imported.

The cafe however, was a bit of a letdown.  Not in terms of the food (or coffee), they had two gluten-less options on the day I was there :

I plumped for the banana chocolate cake and it was quite delicious.

The downside was that there are only around 10 seats inside and 4 outside, meaning on a weekend (or, for that fact, the weekday that I went on) you could struggle to find a seat.  Here’s hoping that they get some outside tables for the rest of the summer, but, at the end of the day, it is more of a shop than a cafe.  The good combination of these means that you can go on a Sunday when the cafe is open and sneak a few items from the shop to purchase.

In conclusion, do I like Veganz?  Yes, very much so.  I’m just not sure whether I like the fact that I like it.  Do I recommend that you go?  Definitely, and soon, it’s just that your waist line and wallet might be angry afterwards.

Click the banner below to see all the details of this shop on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.
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Shop Review – Anderskorn

As I’ve been bemoaning the usually small selection of glutenfrei goods in most shops here, I thought it about time that I visit a (mostly) gluten free dedicated place, Anderskorn in Kreuzberg.

Look, a sign, outside a shop, proclaiming that they sell freshly baked gluten-less goods!  Wonders never cease!  I wandered in to find a rather tiny, but well stocked, little shop.

Pretty much 90% of the shelf and store space is taken up with glutenfrei wares, most of it is of the gluten replacement variety with some other foodstuffs that are equally glutenfrei.  Infact, they take this so seriously that the only gluten items are locked away in their own sealed glass container, just to the left of the fridge, like they contain the plague or something (ie. the correct way to treat gluten poisoned things).

The staff are helpfully friendly and as you can see on the right of the picture above they do stock freshly baked muffins and such (although they only had brotchen when I was there).  These are made off premises by a bakery in Schöneberg and whilst its good that they’re fresh, they’re not all that much better/different than all the pre-packaged stuff they sell.  Maybe the muffins are better, if you’ve sampled them, please comment below.

The only downsides to the place are that the selection is fairly standard, you can buy everything that they have in other places around the city, but crucially, not all in one place.  Also, it is a little on the pricey side, but as with it being a small self owned business, the customer service level is far better than you’ll get in viv etc.

Click the banner below to see all the details of this shop on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.

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Shop Review – Kiepert & Kutzner

I’ve never really shopped at Kiepert & Kutzner much myself, even though it is within 10 minutes walk of my apartment.  The problem being that as good as it is being a Bio-Lebensmittel, its pretty terrible at being on my list of places to buy gluten-less goodies.

The first reason is this


and this

Gluten free items are thrown in with other non-glutenfrei products.  Making someone look through all the things that they cannot eat to find one or two things that they can is just cruel, not to mention a waste of time.  But, at least they do have some things, but its nothing too special spread out across the store.

The second problem, and something which compounds the first, is that they do have a gluten free section!  What criteria is used to decide what goes in this section and what doesn’t is beyond me.

Now, I could forgive them if they had an amazing selection.  But, they don’t.  Its mostly from the horrific Merz company (read : gluten free from 10 years ago, bland and rock like) with a few others thrown in.  To make matters even worse they have Dinkel (spelt) crackers and bread in the middle on the top shelf, which to me, shows a blatant lack of knowledge about gluten.

In conclusion, its a great organic shop but avoid if you’re looking for gluten-less treats.  Well, that is apart from the fact that they sell buckwheat crackers, these alone are well worth the trip here.

Click the banner below to see all the details of this restaurant on our sister site, Allergy Explorer.

Allergy Explorer - Gluten Free food and restaurant listings in Germany