A Gluten-Free Taste of London
Intolerant London paid Taste of London a visit on Sunday June 22nd, the final day of the festival. Fortunately for everyone involved the sun was out and having fasted all morning we went down eager to discover what gluten-free delights were on offer in Regents Park.
Tickets were just under £25 each – not exactly cheap – but if you were inclined to you could probably fill yourself inside on the free samples alone, and once inside the prices are fairly reasonable. Crowns are used as currency inside and these can be bought at a number of ‘Taste Banks’ across the park (1 crown = £1).
We noticed a lack of information on the menu card for those with special dietary requirements. The card detailed the courses available at each stall and vegetarian options were identified with a V sign, but there was nothing to inform those with other dietary requirements or preferences. It’s disappointing that a festival showcasing the best food in London doesn’t outline the dishes available for the growing number of people with special dietary requirements and I have since emailed the press office at Taste of London to enquire whether this will be considered for future events, but two weeks later am still awaiting a reply.
Not to be deterred, we went about our business of spending our wealth of crowns and the first place we noticed with a specialised gluten-free dish was North-London based The Truscott Arms. Their Potted-Crab & Shrimp Burger with Pickled Cucumber on a gluten-free Brioche bun was very popular indeed, and at 6 crowns didn’t break the bank. Renowned for experimentation and using sustainable food sources and independent, local suppliers, The Truscott Arms takes extra care to accommodate special dietary requirements and is well worth a visit.
Stopping by next at Michel Roux Junior’s stand Le Gavroche, we tried his voloute de mais, crevettes, grises et amandes, or sweet corn soup with shrimps and roasted almond puree to the non French speakers amongst us. Michel was incredibly patient, posing for photos for pretty much every single customer, and the soup was as good as you’d expect from such a revered chef.
My partner then paid a quick visit to Rossopomodoro, who unfortunately weren’t selling their incredible gluten-free pizza at Taste. However, the pride they take in their food – made exclusively by Neapolitan chefs, using exclusively Neapolitan ingredients – means you should get yourself to one of their branches as soon as you can. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
We then took a walk through Thailand, and tried the Galloping Horses at Thai Rice London, a blend of chicken and prawns on a slice of pineapple. This was light and delicious, and we enjoyed this whilst watching a set of beautiful traditional Thai dancers perform.
After stopping off for a dark-rum mojito at Cocktails in the City, it was time for something sweet. The Primose Bakery sold their gluten-free cupcakes whilst inside a tent we happened upon Ganache Macarons. Handmade in Hackney, each macaron is gluten-free, free from artificial flavourings and vegetarian. Whilst we turned up a bit too late for the most popular flavour salted caramel, the raspberry macarons had a lovely texture and at 2 crowns a pop we could have easily spent our remaining balance here! Earlier in the week head chef Audrey had given a macaron baking demonstration at the Cook Skills Theatre which we understand had been particularly popular with the crowd.
Next we came across the friendly and energetic Dominic Gesua of Lickalix. This year, after identifying a gap in the market, Dominic left his role as MD of a postal company and with his partner Karis set up this gourmet ice-lolly provider. Their lollies are all dairy and gluten-free, made using rice and coconut milk. With a couple of mojitos drunk already and the sun beating down we went for a couple of their poptails – pina colada and chocolate kahlua. Dominic and the crew can be found at Camden Market during the week and various other pop-up venues and festivals over the coming months. With their creativity and drive I predict they’ll be a hit this summer.
Almost out of crowns and with little time left to spend them, we made another quick loop of the park and lucked out, stumbling upon Tom Gosnell and his locally brewed mead, Gosnell’s Mead. With medieval culture currently in vogue, having experienced a renaissance through Game of Thrones, I was eager to try my first glass of mead. Brewed using honey and water, the mead was light and refreshing without being too sweet. It was probably a good thing we’d run out of crowns at this point as I could see myself getting through a lot of it in future.
With all things considered I’d recommend Taste of London to those on a gluten-free diet. Certainly, more can be done to accommodate those with special eating requirements but there were a lot of gems waiting to be discovered if one was willing to put in the effort, and due to the number of gluten-free dishes and products I’ll now be seeking out within their regular habitats, for me it was a successful day.
Taste of London returns for Taste of London Winter this November. For more information please visit: http://london.tastefestivals.com/taste-of-london-winter/