We’re celebrating Celiac Awareness Month in May (or wait, is it September?) Australian researchers have developed an ultra-low gluten barley that’s been used to brew gluten free beer in Germany. Paris bakeries are getting on board with gluten free. Here’s a round up of the top gluten free news in April 2016.
May is Celiac Awareness Month
May is Celiac Awareness Month in the United States, Canada and other countries worldwide. In the United Kingdom, Coeliac Awareness Week will be celebrated from May 9-15, 2016. Oddly, though, in the United States Celiac Awareness Day is September 13.
No matter when you “celebrate,” the idea is to spread awareness of celiac disease and the gluten free diet through media campaigns and public outreach. Coeliac UK is promoting a social media campaign during Awareness Week.
To get involved in your country, visit one of the following websites:
New barley bred to remove gluten used in beer
The world’s first “gluten free barley beer” hit German shelves in April. Different to “gluten removed” beers which use enzymes to destroy gluten during fermentation, this new beer is made from gluten free barley. Australian researchers have bred a special type of barley grain, called Kebari, that has ultra-low levels of hordeins, the type of gluten found in barley.
Researchers claim the gluten content of the new barley is less than 5 parts per million. The grain cannot currently be labeled “gluten free” in Australia or New Zealand under their food standards, but seems to meet United States and United Kingdom/European rules of less than 20 parts per million. Further, since the gluten was removed from the barley before fermentation, beer made from the grain would theoretically qualify for a gluten free label in the United States under current rules.
My guess, though, is that even if beer made from this new strain of barley does qualify for gluten free labeling in the US, celiacs will still treat it like the gluten removed beers and avoid it. Since the UK already allows gluten removed beers to be labeled gluten free, I think it’ll get a far more favorable reception here.
Gluten free bakeries taking off in Paris
A recent New York Times article covered the surge in gluten free baking in Paris. In a city known for baguettes, the reasons bakers are turning to gluten free grains are varied. They profile a pastry chef with celiac disease, a bakery that responded to customer demand, and another that just likes a challenge.
It seems like the trend in France is similar to what goes on in Italy. Because so much of Italian cuisine is pasta and pizza, gluten free alternatives are actually pretty easy to find as they’ve just made sure that everyone can be included. Celiacs in Italy receive a monthly stipend to buy gluten free groceries, which are found at the pharmacy. The selection of breads and pastas in even a small pharmacy is impressive. In both countries, where food is central to the social experience, they are adapting to include a growing number of celiacs.
Something I found very interesting in the NYT article is that the French bakers won’t use the gums, starches and preservatives that are common in the US. There’s one mention of flax in the story, but I’d love to get a look at their recipes.
Sadly, they haven’t cracked the gluten free croissant just yet. Read the full NYT article here.
Are you celebrating celiac awareness in your area? Are you willing to try beer made from ultra-low gluten barley? Are you dreaming of fresh baguettes in Paris now? Talk to me in the comments!