As many of you may know, I was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity over four years ago. Since that time I have had to alter my diet, follow a stricter gluten free diet, change my cooking habits and alter our family meals at home to accommodate my health needs. I have joined gluten free communities as well as help celebrate National Celiac Awareness Month (which is actually this month!) by attending expos and sharing my knowledge with others. Knowledge and sharing is power!
One of the number one things that I miss since going gluten free is just being able to get out with my family and enjoy a delicious meal (not cooked by me!) without worrying about any potential side effects later on (if you are familiar with the symptoms of celiac disease you know it can be quite painful and unpleasant!).
I jumped (literally) at the opportunity to head to Boston Pizza to try out their Gluten Wise line of products. When I was contacted I was not even aware that they carried a gluten wise line – shows how often we get out right?! I was very curious about the menu itself and how they minimized cross contamination with other menu items.
When I spoke with the manager he explained their process to me which was extremely helpful and gave me the confidence that I needed that the staff were trained properly in preparing and preventing cross contamination with the gluten wise line. The menu items do not contain gluten but may be shipped with other boxes that do contain gluten even though the food products don’t ever actually touch. Regulations are very strict for gluten free labelling (which is great since it protects us as customers!) and since it can be shipped to the store with other items, the food is referred to as Gluten Wise (neat, right?). When a gluten wise item is ordered it is flagged and then prepared in an area separate from other orders that do contain gluten. Toppings are taken from the back fridges that have not been opened and used with other orders that do contain gluten. Boston Pizza makes sure to minimize as many possible sources of cross contamination as possible – which left me feeling confident in my order!
The gluten wise menu had quite a bit to choose from ranging from pastas and pizza (build your own), starters and three main courses. The gluten wise items are found in a separate menu that I was able to ask our waitress for which helped greatly with my selection as it contained only the gluten wise items. Our waitress was very knowledgeable and helpful with my selection which I appreciated immensely.
I ended up choosing the gluten wise pizza crust – I am a huge pizza fan so I could not resist. I topped it off with tomatoes, chicken and green peppers. It was to die for! The crust was thin (one of my personal favourite ways to have a pizza crust), crispy and one of the best gluten wise crusts I have had in a long time.
The flavour was excellent and did not make me feel like I was missing out which some products labelled as gluten free can leave you feeling. The pizza was a perfect size for one person – it probably had enough for leftovers but since I was so hungry after a busy day in clinic I ate the whole thing and felt like I was rolling out of the restaurant after that!
I decided to place an order to go that contained the gluten wise pasta with tomato marinara sauce. This is one of my personal favourite foods to make at home so I wanted to compare it to theirs. The sauce had excellent flavours but I did notice that the pasta itself had some extra starch on it. If you are familiar with gluten free pasta you know that the pasta noodles can have a (for lack of better words) mushy taste to it from the starch and this is quite common. At home I have found that it helps with that starchiness to rinse the pasta off before adding the sauce although this may not be the most optimal solution in a restaurant who’s job it is to provide hot meals to customers.
We had a fantastic time as a family – we enjoyed a well prepared meal and were able to just sit back and appreciate each other’s company. I was very impressed with the quality of the gluten wise line as well as the knowledge of the staff and manager at our local Boston Pizza. They really made sure that I would feel comfortable eating the gluten wise line with my family. I can not wait to go back and build my own pizza again with my family!
Boston Pizza is offering a $2.00 coupon of Gluten Wise at their restaurants! You can print out your coupon here.
Disclosure: I received some of the above products free of charge. All opinions expressed are my own.