Brazillian Cheese Balls: Yoki Pan de Queso

If you’ve ever been to Brazil, you will no doubt have encountered Pao de Queso, the national snack of cheese balls which are naturally gluten free.

I bought this pack of Yoki’s Pao de Queso back from Brazil.

All it required was the addition of 2 eggs and 100ml of water.

I popped all the ingredients into a bowl:

After a quick stir and knead the mixture became dough like:

I rolled them in my hands into little balls:

After 25 minutes in the oven, they came out like this:


Sadly I didn’t have the ingredients to make caipirinhas so instead I enjoyed these great balls of cheese with a glass of South American red. Lovely!

NB if you can’t find the Yoki Pan de Queso, there are other suppliers such as Isabel’s who offer a similar product.

Gluten Free San Marino: Pizzeria Il Beccafico

San Marino is the world’s oldest republic. Its mere 24 sq miles of territory is located about 6 miles from the Italian Adriatic Coast near Rimini.

For such a tiny country, it contained several big surprises.

We caught a fast intercity train to Rimini from Bologna (just under an hour) and managed to snag the last 2 seats on the coach for the 45 minute bus journey to San Marino. How strange, I thought, 90% of our fellow travellers on the coach were Russian speaking. Naturally I thought it was great to have some language practice. But when we arrived in San Marino and we were greeted with a cheery “здравствуйте” by the shopkeepers things got a bit strange. The entire place was filled with Russian tourists. How curious. Did they came for the views of the Tuscan-Emilian Appenines? Or the view of the Adriatic coast visible from San Marino’s lookout point at a height of 749 m above sea level? Perhaps, but I suspect it was in fact for the shopping.

And what shopping it was! Nowhere else in the world have I seen his and hers shopping quite like the San Marino version. Display cases full of blingy, sparkly jewellery for the ladies. And for the men, (replica, I hope) automatic rifles were placed in the display cases just below the sparkly necklaces. Just for good measure, crossbows were strung from the ceiling. Absolutely astonishing.

After all this strangeness I was ready for a good sit down. I popped into the tourist information office to see if in all this craziness there might be somewhere which offered gluten free food. To my great surprise, there was a gluten free pizzeria!

Ristorante pizzeria Il Beccafico is located downstairs at Hotel La Rocca right in the historical centre of San Marino.

The interior is decorated in a style reminiscent of an Alpine ski lodge with a wonderful view down the valley.

I was really pleased to see this on the front cover of the dedicated gluten free menu:

“Each dish is cooked in full compliance with the rules of gluten free food preparation”

As well as pizza the menus offered plenty of choice including various gluten free pastas.

I am always impressed when presented with my own gluten free biscuits in place of the bread basket:

I chose the vegetarian pizza which came with plenty of roasted vegetables. As an additional step for the kitchen and waiter to differentiate the gluten free pizza from the regular, my pizza arrived on a patterned plate, whilst Mr D’s was on a plain white plate. It’s hard to tell from the photo but the gluten free base was super thin and crispy. The vegetables were fresh and flavoursome. I enjoyed that this pizza had a little cheese but – in the usual Italian style – wasn’t drenched in cheese.

Details

Pizzeria Il Beccafico

Address: SAL. ROCK 37/39, Republic Of San Marino

Cost: Gluten free pizzas cost €6 to €9.50

Rating: 9 / 10 – an unexpected surprise

 

Gluten Free Lunch Delivery Service From Annie’s Larder

Just launched is a new gluten free lunch delivery service from Annie’s Larder. This innovative service for gluten free customers in London is run by Annie (of the popular London gluten free supper club fame) from her dedicated gluten free kitchen. It’s one of the expanding catering ventures from Annie and her team. You can keep up to date with their news by clicking here.

When Annie told me she was planning to start up gluten free lunch delivery service, I was overjoyed because I think there’s a definite gap in the market. The part of the City of London in which my office is based is a bit of a gluten free desert – most definitely a desert and not full of gluten free desserts. Every day I struggle to find allergy friendly food in this part of town as my work canteen doesn’t offer much/anything suitable. On the day she first mentioned it, I’d just returned from the usual 30 minute round trip to get my lunch during our recent spell of never-ending rainy weather and I was drenched to the bone. Surely, I thought, there has to be an easier way?

If you work in one of the postcodes Annie’s Larder deliver to (see below), there is now.

Lunches can be ordered online by using the order form here.

For £6 your gluten free meal deal includes the following:
– Gluten free baguette, sandwich (white or brown) or salad with choice of topping
– Two side orders. Choices include soft drinks, fruit, gluten free crisps and various homemade gluten free cakes
– Food freshly made in a gluten free kitchen

I ordered a gluten free baguette with Cheddar cheese and onion relish (baguettes are freshly baked on the morning of delivery). For sides I ordered sea salt crisps made by Burt’s and a banana.

I was particularly impressed with the baguette. I think Annie has a winner of a recipe here. Just look at the photo above for a moment. That’s gluten free! The bread looks, smells and tastes like the real deal. In fact, so much so that a French colleague was admiring my baguette and asked where I’d bought it. When I told her, she was surprised as she hadn’t noticed it was gluten free. Quite an endorsement.

The convenience of Annie’s Larder lunch delivery service appeals to me as much as the quality of the product. I can’t imagine trekking 30 minutes round trip to the shops in the middle of a wet, cold and snowy winter and I will be trying out more options from the menu next week, starting with felafel served with Israeli salad and chilli on Monday.

Cost: £6 for sandwich, baguette or salad with choice of filling plus two extras
Ordering: easy through this online form
Good for: City workers looking for a safe, good quality, gluten free lunch delivered to you at very fair price
Delivery area: Currently limited to the following City postcodes: EC2M & N, EC3M & N, EC4M & N. Contact Annie directly to discuss delivery options in London outside these postcodes.
Delivery location: For those within the delivery area, your lunch can either be delivered to your office (if your office reception can accept) or at a pre-arranged convenient delivery spot such as the nearest Tube stop.

 

Gluten Free Bologna: Pizzeria Ristorante Pepperoni

Oh, Bologna. You had me at gelato.

And then you delivered a gluten free pizza of epically fabulous proportions.

Prior to dining at Pizzeria Ristorante Pepperoni in Bologna, the winner in my quest for the best pizza senza glutine was this one in Milan. In fact it was the first I’d tried and all subsequent gluten free pizzas have been measured against the wonderful taste of this pizza where I’d watched the chef slice off prosciutto crudo directly onto my pizza as it had emerged steaming hot from the wood fired oven.

As usual, before visiting Bologna I’d researched our options and had discovered there were no gluten free pizza restaurants in the centre of town. There were reports of one pizzeria slightly out of town making several diners unwell so I knew which one to avoid. The nearest seemed to be La Pantera Rosa who have several locations just outside the centre of Bologna and which have good reports on TripAdvisor from diners who’ve eaten gluten free pizza there. But just like in Milan where the hotel concierge had found a pizzeria my research hadn’t, some local knowledge from our hotel receptionists got us to Pizzeria Pepperoni. I’d asked the hotel to check La Pantera Rosa was serving gluten free pizza and asked to book a table. The receptionist frowned, “I have another recommendation for you – Pepperoni’s, it’s very good and the normal pizzas are fantastic”. I remembered I’d seen this restaurant recommended on the Italian Coeliac Society website (a guide I always use and trust when in Italy) but had discounted Pepperoni’s as being too far away. It was in fact 10 minutes in a taxi and cost about €12 which, it turned out, was a very small price to pay.

Pepperoni’s is located on one of the lush green hills overlooking Bologna that I’d climbed earlier that day in order to work up an appetite for pizza get a great view of the city. The restaurant was light and, unlike many pizzeria, decorated in a modern style. We were greeted warmly by the friendly owners and shown to our table in a room with sides which would peel back in the warmer months. The restaurant was packed with locals. How nice, we decided, to be somewhere without any tourists whatsoever, not that Bologna was exactly mobbed with tourists during our stay, thankfully.

The menu arrived and I was overjoyed to see the long list of gluten free pizzas. Yep, TWO pages of gluten free pizza menu.

I went for Pizza Rosso Blu (tomato, mozzarella, Parma ham, rocket and shaved Parmesan). My pizza arrived and I really struggled to see much difference between mine and the regular pizza. You can just see in the bottom left of the photo there’s a small piece of the pizza crust missing. I tore this off for Mr D to try and make sure it really was my gluten free pizza. Reassured, I tucked in to a pizza with a wonderfully crisp and light base. The pizza toppings were deliciously simple and flavoursome. I wondered how something which tastes this good could really be gluten free.

With a gluten free Daura beer, of course.

For dessert, I’d wanted the lemon sorbet which I’d seen many of the other diners eating. However when our friendly waiter, Antonio, brought out a tray of no less than 5 gluten free and almond free desserts made in house to show me what they could offer, I felt I had to try the pannacotta which came with a choice of chocolate or fruits of the forest sauce.

Hands down, best ever pannacotta (sorry, Mum!).

For those of you dreaming about the best gluten free pizza in Italy, you’ll be pleased to know Bologna and Milan are connected by a high speed rail line taking just over an hour to speed between the two cities.

Details

Pizzeria Ristorante Pepperoni

Address: via Santo Stefano 172/B, 40125 Bologna, Italy

Cost: EUR 57 for 2 pizzas, a mixed salad, 2 desserts, numerous GF and non-GF beers and water

Rating: 9.5/10 – Simply fantastico