100%Gluten-free. When I see it written somewhere, it certainly catches my eye. And not just because I have a problem with wheat, and also not just because I don’t believe it when I see it. It is BOTH in truth. Many of you know about my gluten allergy. It has been a difficult ride but after the discovery of the digestive issues in 2014, we completely changed our diets – and our lives. Ok, really, Eric has been the best, supportive husband I could ever ask for. He totally adopted the change right along side me, making it easier to cook the same meals for us both. What a challenge it has been, researching recipes, changing how we think about food and still seeing a light at the end of what could have been a very long tunnel.
Not many restaurants or shops would cater to allergies though that mould is breaking. Slowly but surely, one has been able to find a gluten-free cupcake here, a wheat-free brownie there… Even whole sections have shown up in grocery store. And bakeries have popped up too! And I am sure there are so many more places that I am not aware of.
However there is always a sense of trepidation when buying allergen-free items in places that use allergens. What are their policies in food handling? Are all their employees aware of the physical, permanent damage caused by gluten in celiacs? Has there been cross contamination? Is this restaurant or that food item worth the risk?
The answer is a resounding NO. I can no longer count the times I have spent the evening suffering from what I was told was safe, only to end up near the porcelain throne for the night. The subsequent days would be spent in lethargy and pain, groaning in dismay, and swearing to never do it again.
So what do I do when I see a sign in a bright shop window that states boldly ‘100% Gluten-Free’?!
I go in of course.
Welcome to Ottawa’s own Olive and Chili in the Byward Market. [That’s a link to their Facebook page]. It is, as the sign said, 100% gluten free. Not just these cubbies, and not just those cookies. The. Whole. Shop. I met with the owner, Caroline Vecchio, a wonderful, cheerful, articulate woman whose lovely establishment is a welcome addition to our fair city. Celiacs rejoice! Have no fear! It is as they say, freakin’ awesome! And there is absolutely no chance of you getting sick!
This shop is not just for dessert.
Meals cold or hot! Stay or go!
summer salad, c/o Olive and Chili
The cooked section serves orders to stay or go with choices such as chicken, quiche, lasagnes, eggplant, salads, fresh soups, sandwiches and pizzas. Fancy a baguette?
How about a croissant?
Pastries, cookies, tarts and pie. Even a little freezer with buns to take home.
Go ahead, drool…
I have never seen so many choices, so sumptuously inviting!
I should have brought these hazelnut pastries home!
Eric and I had ham and cheese quiches. A splash of tabasco on the side and I was g2g!
The restaurant also keep an ingredient board where you can find your selection. Very innovative and easy for knowing exactly what you are eating. This shop was brilliant, friendly and Eric and I will definitely make a point of visiting again and again. Spread the word, this is the place to eat for breakfast, lunch and dessert and more!
No recipe for you today. I feel you can all do yourselves a favour and go wandering the market. Check out the shops, the music and indeed, the food!