To gluten-free or not to gluten-free?
Wheat’s the problem?
Unheard of outside specialist stores not long ago, gluten-free foods are now in every high street supermarket. Are more of us developing wheat intolerances, or are we simply becoming better at diagnosing an old problem? Mounting evidence points at the former and agro-industrial practices may be to blame…
Commercial wheat faces exposure to chemical pesticides in cultivation and storage, as well as high temperatures in drying. Cross-bred, modified strains, resistant to pests but harder to digest, dominate the fields of agro-industrial nations. Glyphosate and cadmium have been found in leading pasta brands, perhaps a consequence of these common (mal)practices. Artisan pasta made from organic durum wheat, following millennia of tradition, is somewhat easier to digest and has better nutrition and taste – but does of course still contain gluten.
Pasta made from ancient grain is more digestible and offers an interesting alternative to heavy wheat pasta, but not all are gluten-free. Spelt, or farro, is an old favourite, and Kamut®, a grain rediscovered by a WWII airman in an Egyptian tomb, can contain higher protein, vitamin, mineral, amino acid and lipid content than modern counterparts. Lentil and pea flour both have a particular taste profile, distinct to wheat pasta, but make for a delicious meal in their own right and are high in protein and free from gluten. Experiments with other gluten-free alternative grain blends have yielded fantastic results too. Our gourmet range includes Rice & Teff, Buckwheat & Corn and Rice & Quinoa blends – we’ve found a way to make long-cuts, like tagliatelle, without binding agents. They taste delicious and cook really well, without losing form or becoming stodgy.
Our newest pasta range, Seggiano Unbelievably Gluten-Free, is made using only corn, rice and spring water and tastes so close to the real thing that it’s simply unbelievably. The gluten-free pasta market has come a long way. Coeliacs rejoice!
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