In Search of the Holy Grail….A Gluten Free Pasty in Cornwall

PLEASE NOTE THIS GREAT LITTLE TEA SHOP MAY NOW HAVE CLOSED. PLEASE ENSURE YOU CHECK BEFORE VISITING, MORE EXCELLENT GLUTEN FREE CORNISH RECOMMENDATIONS APPEAR IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

This weekend Mr D and I headed to fantastic Cornwall to celebrate his special birthday.

In the weeks before our trip I spent a lot of time searching the internet for gluten free Cornish pasties. I even sent out a couple of requests on Twitter but to no avail. Eventually I happened upon the website for The Mad Hatters tea shop in Launceston.

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Can you see what the sign says…?

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We entered the very friendly tea shop which was filled with tea pots of every possibly type imaginable. The place was packed and lucky for us the only available table was in the window. This photo was taken just after a group left and in the only 2 minutes the tables were empty!

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After a long drive from London (and the prospect of another 2 hours to go), opening the menu to see such a long list of gluten free options made me very happy!

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Of course, I went for a gluten free Cornish pasty. It came served with either baked beans or salad. I went for baked beans – they were Heinz and gluten free.

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How did it taste? Delicious and definitely worth driving 3 hours for! The gluten free pastry was very flavoursome and had herbs (maybe rosemary?) in it. The pasty filling was the traditional beef, potato, swede and onion combo.

The other thing I found really interesting about The Mad Hatters was the other patrons in the tea shop. Many people think eating gluten free is a lifestyle choice, and not a medical requirement or a necessity for a healthy life. A number of the other clients in the tea shop were in the more mature age range and I could hear at least one person on each table ordering a gluten free item. I’m fairly certain for my fellow diners, the need to eat gluten free was not a lifestyle choice. I’m amazed that gluten free pasties weren’t more easily available in Cornwall. Based on how busy The Mad Hatters tea shop was, there is clearly a demand.

Launceston is located just off the main A30 going straight into Cornwall. If you’re travelling down to Cornwall for a holiday, it really is an easy stop off. Why waste your time in motorway service stations when you can visit somewhere as fabulous as this? If you’re en route to a self catering holiday cottage The Mad Hatters can also provide gluten free items to stock up on for your holiday to either freeze or eat straight away. Just pre order and then stop off to collect! No need to miss out on a Cornish pasty or scone just because you can’t eat gluten.

Del Ugo Gluten Free Organic Chickpea Spaghetti

If I had to name my top 5 gluten free products, Del Ugo’s Gluten Free Chickpea Spaghetti would be right in  there.

Why? Where shall I start…..

  • High in soluble fibre
  • High in protein
  • Organic
  • Made with free range eggs
  • Low GI
  • Cooks from fresh in 6 minutes
  • Can be frozen
  • Cooks from frozen in 7 (yep, SEVEN) minutes
  • My local Waitrose sells it for £1.59 (a true bargain)

When cooked I think this gluten free chick pea spaghetti tastes better than regular pasta. It has a lovely nutty taste and the pasta holds together really well. Each pack contains two spaghetti nests and I find this more than enough for 2 people.  I love it with some green pesto stirred in and a good grating of Parmesan, a fresh tomato sauce or today I ate with roasted veggies and Piquillo Pepper & Chilli Pesto I found in Waitrose

Have you tried a good gluten free spaghetti? Would love to hear if you have.

Warburtons Gluten Free Bread

As I’ve never bought Warburtons bread in any form before, the news they were launching a gluten free range didn’t excite me in the way it did my fellow gluten free bloggers who were more familiar with the company and its products.

I’ve seen quite a lot of traffic on Twitter and other blogs about ‘Warbies’. Some positive but also quite a lot less than keen. I’m not sure I’ve seen a gluten free product with such divided opinion.

I was intrigued…..

My local Waitrose had the brown and white sliced loaves in stock as well as some white rolls. Thinking ahead to the summer and BBQs (well a girl’s gotta dream, right?!) I decided to go for the rolls.

I was really attracted to the rustic and almost crusty looking exterior of the bread.

But as soon as I sliced it in half, it was clear we had a problem. It crumbled, big time.

As I tried to eat it, it simply disintegrated in my hands. This would definitely not be a bread I could take for a picnic lunch on our final Thames towpath walk.

Unfortunately, I really disliked the taste as much as the texture. Sorry, but I won’t be buying this again.

Are there any positives? Well, yes. Warburtons have invested in a dedicated gluten and wheat free bakery to manufacture their gluten free goods so there is no chance of cross contamination. They also have plans to market both a gluten and wheat free crumpet and a tea cake. I’d like to try these and really hope they don’t suffer from the same crumbly issues, as well as having a vastly improved flavour than the Warburtons gluten free bread.