Gluten-Sensitive Soirees

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As our culture becomes more sensitive to food allergies, allergen-free menus and vegetarian tasting menus are all the rage. But this can be challenging during the holiday season when the majority of favorite holiday delectables are carbohydrate-based foods including cookies, pies, casseroles and breads. These foods are wheat/gluten-based products that pose a danger for someone with celiac. In addition, often holiday spreads are buffet-style servings, which eliminate the ability of someone with celiac to cross-reference the label and ingredients to make sure it is gluten free.

Due to the increasing number of persons with celiac as well as the increased awareness of this disease, “going gluten free” at meetings and events has become easier than ever. Depending on the location, there are now places all over that cater to gluten-free diets.

Some generally safe gluten-free desserts include dark chocolate, flourless chocolate cake, certain ice creams and sorbets, fruit pies with gluten free crust. And during the holidays, desserts such as baked apples or poached pears are seasonal and special for everybody. Pureed pumpkin is a great gluten-free seasonal ingredient that can be included in gluten-free pancakes and other desserts.

It’s important to work with a caterer who can ensure that the menu can contains gluten-free components and no cross-contamination has occurred.

—Maura Keller

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