Glutino and Gluten Free Pantry: Our Top-Picks for the Nostalgic Tastes You Remember From Before You Were Gluten-Free...
Just about everyone following a gluten-free diet has heard of Glutino and Gluten Free Pantry, two of the bigger manufacturers specializing in gluten-free products. Glutino has been around for decades, and in 2004 they acquired Gluten Free Pantry's line of award-winning baking mixes, founded by renowned Celiac chef Beth Hillson. All their products are tested to contain less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten.
We've been buying Glutino and Gluten Free Pantry products since Day One when our son was diagnosed with Celiac, before he was even two years old. Glutino has also been kind enough to send me new products to sample periodically. And some new products we discover all on our own. We have our favorites, like one new discovery I wanted to share with you...which reminds me of a popular gluten-filled product you may be missing since going gluten-free.
It's Glutino's Table Crakers, and they're the closest thing in taste to those Saltines you likely remember (and maybe still crave!). I noticed them for the first time last week while shopping at Whole Foods, so I picked up a box, hoping they'd be a new cracker option for my son, who hasn't seemed particularly excited about most gluten-free crackers we try. Well, I'm not sure he appreciated the taste as much as I did, because he certainly wouldn't remember eating a Saltine before he was two (if he even did have them -- I can't recall!). But WOW...they were crisp, tasty, and reminded me so much of that much-loved plain Saltine cracker that's very much off limits for anyone following a gluten-free diet! They are also larger than Saltines, and I was particularly impressed that the batch I bought was NOT broken, they way I've found many gluten-free crackers we buy (even other types from Glutino).
Another favorite that allows GF folks to have the pleasure of an all-American treat is Glutino's new "Genius" sandwich bread. I particularly like using the white sandwich bread to make classic grilled-cheese sandwiches. The bread is light, airy, and makes the perfect grilled-cheese. Just spread a little butter or olive oil on each slice of bread, and get as basic or as fancy as you like with the cheese and other fillings. For "regular" sandwiches I prefer to use the Genius multigrain sandwich bread, just because it's healthier. For all sorts of great recipes using their Genius bread and other products, be sure to visit the recipe page of Glutino's website.
Glutino's yogurt-covered and chocolate-covered pretzels are another big hit in our household. Until Glutino introduced them, I don't think there was a gluten-free version on the market. It's nice to be able to enjoy this uniquely sweet and salty snack again, and Glutino does a great job replicating the "real thing!" No big surprise, since their gluten-free pretzels are fantastic...and, in my opinion, nearly indistinguishable from gluten-filled varieties.
If you or your kids are yearning for those "Apple Jacks" you had to give up when going gluten-free, Glutino makes a great substitute: their Apple Cinnamon Rings cereal. While this has been on the market for a while, it's a relatively new discovery in our household and a hit with our older son who isn't even Celiac. My own personal favorite among Glutino's cereals is their Berry Sensible Beginnings cereal, which is like lightly sweetened corn flakes (these are actually corn/rice flakes) and filled with real freeze-dried strawberries, which soften up nicely when you add milk. It's just the right amount of sweetness...not overly so.
I'd have to say I haven't tried a Gluten-Free Pantry baking mix I haven't liked (although there are still plenty I need to sample). But our all-time favorite is definitely the Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix. Oh my goodness...they are to DIE for! First off, no one can tell they are gluten-free. They are so rich and moist and delicious that we have family members that gleefully make them every time they hear we will be coming to visit! It is a good excuse for them to make what has now become their favorite brownie mix! These brownies are filled with little chunks of chocolate and don't need any icing...they're perfect plain or sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar. Once you try the Chocolate Truffly Brownie Mix, I'd be surprised if you ever bought another type of GF brownie mix again!
So there you have it...gluten-free folks can certainly enjoy plenty of All-American favorites, thanks to Glutino and Gluten Free Pantry. Lest you think I'm completely biased, I will share that there are a few Glutino products we aren't crazy about. In my family's opinion, their Glazed and Chocolate Glazed donuts don't measure up to Kinnikinnick's donuts in terms of taste or consistency. (Our favorite is Kinnikinnick's cinnamon sugar variety.) Glutino's bagels, too, are not spectacular...a bit heavy and dense. However, they have several varieties, including cinnamon raisin, which has a good flavor. We're torn between whether we prefer Glutino's or Udi's. Neither is the "perfect" bagel...perhaps that is near impossible to achieve. While Glutino's is too heavy, Udi's in some ways is too airy...more like bread, not a bagel consistency. I guess it's a matter of personal preference.
I'd love to hear about YOUR favorite Glutino and Gluten Free Pantry products -- or any recipes you've tried that incorporate their products -- so please leave a comment below!