Thursday, April 24, 2014

Barilla Gluten Free

Disclosure: I was provided with the pictured sample pack for review purposes by Bite Communications on behalf of Barilla. No financial incentive was offered or accepted for this post, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

One of the more disappointing aspects of being a Coeliac is discovering how expensive gluten free food substitutes really are. These days, unlike when I was first diagnosed 7 years ago, gluten free analogues are generally quite tasty and pleasant - although I am yet to be fully on board with any gluten free bread, I must say - but even now, they are usually comfortably triple the price of regular products, and this can bite quite hard into a family budget.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in staple packaged foodstuffs like breakfast cereals and pasta. I have always bought cheap pasta for the kids (mercifully, none of them are Coeliac - yet) but have to supplement with pricey gluten free pasta for me, taking our cost effective spag bol nights up a notch in ways I don't like. But what can you do?

Well, you can wait until well established pasta makers start bringing out bulk gluten free lines, and then cross all your fingers and toes that they don't cook into mush and taste like rubbish. When I was offered this pack to test, I confess these were my worries, after several bad experiences with rice-based pasta in particular. I was also dreading that rice-y, slightly sour back taste that cheap (er) gluten free pasta often has, that even my rich home made bolognese sauce doesn't fully cover.

I'm happy to report that both these Barilla gluten free pastas pass the consistency and taste test with flying colours. When cooked according to the instructions on the pack, the pasta was nicely al dente, and provided no back taste at all, serving as a very suitable vehicle for the two sauces. (The Medierranean vegetable one was nice enough, but I preferred the tomato pesto - which I liked so much, in fact, that I have bought three jars for my pantry for can't-be-bothered-cooking nights).

The Barilla gluten free pastas are retailing in Woolworths supermarkets for around $3.69, which compares pretty damn favourably to other gluten free pasta available in the majors (I just did a quick brand comparison search and at today's prices, it is actually the cheapest one). This matters when you are a family on a budget, and it matters when you are a Coeliac who doesn't want to not be able to eat what your family eats.

Two thumbs up from me to Barilla for producing a tasty, quality pasta range for gluten intolerants that caters to people on a budget. I will certainly be buying this pasta in the future.

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