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.

The Allergy and Free From Show is Almost Here!

the allergy and free from show berlin messe

Are you excited yet?  January is almost upon us!  That means it’s near time for the Allergy + Free From Show here in Berlin!!  Are you excited now?  I know I am and I cannot wait to stuff my face with as much gluten free food as is possible.

The latest news is that they have moved to a bigger and better hall due to all of the exhibitors they have, very good indeed.  Plus, as their sponsor is Schär, they’ll be hosting “Schär’s Gluten Free Kitchen” on site.  Basically you should be able to go and get cooking tips and hopefully see some demonstrations on how to make better gluten free food.  If that doesn’t sway you then think about all the free samples you can try.  Imagine it, you can walk around a giant hall, with food producers everywhere offering you little trays to select from and you can EAT EVERYTHING.

On top of that, the very kind organisers have given us some free tickets!!  There’s only 50 available so you will have to be very quick.  Just click on the link below and register, you’ll receive a free voucher nearer to the event :

www.allergyshow.de/tickets/glutenfreiberlin

Restaurant Review – Cielo di Berlino

cielo di berlino glutenfrei pizza berlin

The only downside to having a gluten free pizza place in your city is if said gluten free pizza place is the only one in said city.  So whilst I still enjoy the delights of Simela, my pizza based life was certainly lacking a little originality.  Thankfully there are other people in the world who understand this problem and one of them decided to start offering gluten-less pizzas here in Berlin, happiness and joy!  Cielo di Berlino itself is a kind of a little place, situated in what appears to be an old Berliner Kneipe (a pub of sorts, usually situated on a corner) a little south of Yorkstrasse.

cielo di berlino gluten free pizza

Their bases are made from buckwheat and yes, you did read that correctly, they also offer lactose free cheese on the pizza!

2012-09-21-20.15.20

The interior is in keeping with the history of the place, you have a few small wooden tables with flowers and such on them and the clientele is varied.  On the night I visited there was a nice mix of young couples, the odd tourist and an old couple who seemed to of been coming to the place for the last 40 years.

2012-09-21-19.41.32

The menu itself is nice and simple and fairly standard, pick your pizza type and then add on two euros for the glutenfrei version (note, it’s only available in small).

2012-09-21-19.42.27

Then, you should expect to wait a while.  This isn’t a big restaurant with a giant kitchen staff, neither is it an exercise in stale pre-prepared goods, rather each pizza is made fresh by hand by (on my visit) a single guy behind the counter.  This is a definitely a good thing, but if the place is busy, you will need to be patient.

2012-09-21-20.20.11

So, when the pizza arrived, I was rather hungry and excited.  Now, the only downside to this whole experience is that I was not blown away by the pizza itself, the toppings were only ok and the whole thing was a little over seasoned, but not enough to be a problem.  The base, however, was rather good, thin and crispy and definitely better than the base at Simela.

cielo di berlino glutenfrei pizza base

As the gluten free pizza is only available in small, I was quite happy to see on their menu that they had some desserts available!

cielo di berlino glutenfrei menu

Plus, only €1.70!  I quickly ordered one.

cielo di berlino gluten free chocolate cake

It was rather delicious and rich, the perfect gluten free dessert.

In conclusion, I would recommend Cielo di Berlino, whilst the pizza is not as quite good as those at Simela, you have to remember that it is also half the price and that they offer gluten free desserts (plus, the odd other dish which is gluten free).  Add to this that the place has a little more character and soul to it and it makes up for it.

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

Product Review – Bofrost Glutenfrei Pizza

A friend recently introduced me to bofrost, an online frozen food delivery service, as they have a rather good free-from section.  Thankfully they offer mostly gluten free versions of regular frozen foods rather than just foods that happen to not contain gluten, something rare and rather good.  I find I often just want to eat the same junk food/breaded meat products that I ate before the whole gluten problem arose.  So off I went and ordered a freezer full of gluten-less treats.

Up for review first, the pizza.

Now, the pizza on the box looks quite good and tasty.  Lets open it up and see what we get inside!

Hmm, I guess it’s similar.  But, this is one thing that I don’t get with the glutenfrei frozen pizzas I have bought thus far, they all tend to be on the bottom end of the scale.  In the gluten world you can buy cheap nasty frozen pizzas and high quality frozen pizzas, so why are the gluten free ones so cheap looking and lacking in flavour?

But, i rescued it by adding my own toppings, so the only important factor is how good was the crust?  Well, allright, a little hard and cardboard like, but then it is gluten free.

In conclusion, at €5.95 a pop, i don’t think it’s worth it.

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.
Allergy Explorer - Gluten Free food and restaurant listings in Germany

Restaurant Review – Simela Pizzeria and Focacceria

UPDATE MAY 2013

I would not recommend visiting Simela anymore as their standards have dropped significantly.  I ate a pizza there recently and had a fairly severe gluten reaction, most likely due to significant cross contamination.

In addition to this their service is below standard with long waiting times for food.

Update Summer 2014 – They are now working to improve their service and reduce cross contamination, although I’ve not been back to verify for myself.

I was in New York late last year and what struck me most about the place was the abundance of restaurants and bakeries that didn’t just know about glutenfrei-ness, but that they actually made gluten-less items.  The ones I looked forward to the most were the pizzerias.  As in, actual pizzas, made by someone else (ie. actually good and containing flavour, I’m somewhat inept at the making of pizzas myself), cooked properly and all gloriously absent of gluten.

So, when I heard that we have an actual pizzeria in Berlin that can do gluten free, I almost popped.

The place itself is pretty small, there are only 3 tables/high benches on the left, each seating four people and then a few spots against the wall on the right.  Basically, if you want to sit down and eat, its best to reserve a place.  The menu is all above the little serving booth, written in chalk.

Probably the first time I’ve actually seen a glutenfrei written on a menu like this and not just as a side option scribbled below the description of a regular meal.  They are a little more pricey (an extra €4 above the wheat based one) but, as you can see from the lack of pre-defined pizzas, its a very much think of what you want on your pizza and they make it.  The staff themselves are very friendly and very happy to suggest good ideas for pizza toppings before disappearing away to create a little magic in the back.

The pizza itself was rather delicious and in my opinion far above what I had in New York, it just had a little more flavour to it and I preferred the base being lighter and crispier.

In conclusion, yes, its pricey.  But its good.  Go (but reserve/let them know you’re coming and wanting of gluten-less pizza).

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