In celebration of our ‘Best of’ issue, the Best Gluten-free Products section is arguably the most challenging article to write. In the year 2010, there are more great tasting gluten-free products than ever on the market and an unprecedented variety of types of products now available.
Not so long ago gluten-free products ranged from almost inedible bread and cookies to a few ‘mixes’ that produced questionable results. Today, many gluten-free products rival their gluten counter parts.
It is impossible to list every great product, so we thought we’d focus on products that stand out because of their accomplishment in authentic taste and texture profiles and or because of the refreshing uniqueness they offer to the gluten-free category and therefore improving, through nutrition or convenience, the lives of those living on gluten-free diets.
To simplify a list of the best gluten-free products, we’ve selected, in our humble but well educated opinions, the 10 Top Gluten-free Products available in 2010.
1. Udi’s Whole Grain Bread: ‘The Holy Grail Award’
Udi’s has accomplished what many have attempted but failed to achieve, gluten-free bread that is well, REAL BREAD! Udi’s Whole Grain Bread tastes like wheat bread with no ‘gluten-free taste’ or gritty texture. This bread can be eaten without toasting and has the same texture and attributes as wheat bread. You can make a sandwich and it won’t fall apart in your lap. You can make a sandwich and pack it for your children’s lunch and it will be soft and hold together when your children eat it at lunch time. Udi has discovered the Holy Grail of the gluten-free world!
2. Glutenfreeda Burritos (www.glutenfreedafoods.com)
At the risk of tooting our own horn, we have selected Glutenfreeda Burritos as the # 2 best product. Glutenfreeda Burritos have transformed a quick lunch, snack or dinner for thousands of people on a gluten-free diet. These burritos are made with all natural ingredients and are available in 4 great flavors, Bean & Cheese, Chicken & Cheese, Vegetarian Non-Dairy, and Beef. Adults devour them, children love them, anyone can prepare them. Glutenfreeda Burritos were the recipient of the new product 2009 Selling Wellness Trail Blazers award from Natural Products, Expo East and was one out of the four products chosen to feature by Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru from the Natural Products Expo, March 2010.
3. Le Veneziane Pasta (www.quattrobimbi.com)
Leave it to the Italians to develop the best gluten-free pasta! Le Veneziane takes the #3 spot with their corn pasta. This pasta tastes much like wheat pasta and cooks to ‘al dente’, perfectly. Unlike other gluten-free pastas, it does not produce starchy, milky colored water when cooking. We have used this brand with all our pasta dishes with superb results. Le Veneziane is imported from Italy and is available at some stores, but easy to obtain online.
Le Veneziane is available in fettuccine (it comes in boxes of 6 fabulous ‘nests’), penne and several other pasta styles.
4. Jules All Purpose Flour (www.julesglutenfree.com)
Number 4 goes to Jules brand for the best gluten-free flour mix. This mix is produces great results for anything calling for gluten-free flour. It can be used and a cup for cup substitution for wheat flour in any recipe. Although somewhat limited distribution, the flour can be purchased in 5lb or 50lb bags online.
5. Julie’s Organic and Glutenfreeda Foods Gluten-free Organic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Definitely one of the best new products is the co-branded venture between Glutenfreeda Foods and Julie’s Organic Ice Cream, gluten-free/organic ice cream cookie sandwiches. This novel treat marries rich, creamy organic vanilla ice cream with two dark chocolate cookies, gf and organic! The ice cream cookie sandwiches are packaged in a unique ‘tube’ that holds 4 individually wrapped sandwiches. This product is available in many natural food stores across the country, including most Whole Foods Markets.
It seems like everyone wants a gluten-free pizza and several manufacturers have answered the call. In evaluating this category it is necessary to keep in mind that there is more than one way to offer a gluten-free pizza. 1. Complete, ready to bake frozen pizza, 2. Pizza crust, (consumer adds toppings), and 3. Pizza dough mix. For our Top 10 list, we focused on the first two categories.
6. Ready to bake frozen pizza: Amy’s Kitchen Pizza
Although, in our opinion, not the best tasting pizza if you include non-gluten-free, Amy’s gf pizzas are an acceptable version of what people expect a pizza to taste like. Amy’s pizzas are also widely available nationwide, making them a very convenient option for a lunch, snack or dinner. Microwavable, (but we think better oven-baked), this product is easy and quick to make.
6. Pizza crust: Udi’s Pizza Crusts (www.udisfood.com)
Udi’s has done it again with a great gluten-free pizza crust. This takes a little extra time, as you must add your own toppings, but the additional time is well worth it. These frozen pizza crusts can also be used to make a fabulous panini sandwiches.
7. Glutenfreeda’s Real Cookies (www.glutenfreedafoods.com)
Since Glutenfreeda’s Real Cookies hit the market 4 years ago, there have been many new gluten-free cookies introduced into the marketplace. We continue to receive countless calls and emails from customers that vote Glutenfreeda’s Real Cookies to be the best gluten-free cookies they’ve tasted. Not as convenient as shelf-stable cookies, Glutenfreeda’s Real Cookies are baked by the consumer which is also one reason why they taste and smell exactly like homemade wheat cookies. Glutenfreeda’s Real Cookies are sold as pre-formed frozen dough pucks, so there’s no measuring, no mess and no failures! Widely available in natural grocery stores nation-wide, they are also available online at www.glutenfreemall.com
8. Shabtai Cakes (www.shabtai-gourmet.com)
Shabtai makes cakes like the ones we all drool over that we see proudly displayed in gourmet bakeries and dessert cases at upscale deli’s and markets. I have to admit that each year when we attend the Natural Products Expos, I save a little time to search out their booth and sample their spectacular cakes and other baked goods. (I actually do this as many times during the show as I can get away with) These cakes are light and airy and very gourmet. If you can’t find them in a store near you, order them online for a very special treat.
9. Best Mixes, Pamela’s Products (www.pamelasproducts.com)
Number 9 in the best mix category goes to Pamela’s Products. Pamela’s Products began by manufacturing cookies and has since developed a line of baking mixes that are wonderful! Most notable are their Cornbread and Muffin Mix and their Vanilla and Chocolate Cake Mixes. These mixes produce lovely results that you would be proud to serve to anyone, gluten intolerant or not.
10. Glutino’s Pretzels (www.glutino.com)
Last but not least goes to Glutino for their pretzels. Glutino Pretzels are available in several different styles; traditional, unsalted, sticks, sesame seed and a variety of package sizes. These pretzels taste very close to the wheat variety and make a great any time snack.