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The supermarkets are now packed with ready meals, take away replacements and ready to cook products, so there are some options when you don’t have the inclination to cook your own gluten free dinner.
But there is now a much fresher, homemade and quality option available to London from contemporary Italian Healthy and Delicious. I have to admit that on reading the name, I wasn’t particularly excited, expecting some new wellness brand with a side of green juice. I was wise to read on further about this company.
Founder Louisa Grasso is Italian and gluten Intolerant. Now if you know anything about Italy, this is good news for coeliacs and gluten avoiders. They are masters at catering to free from people with skill and passion but without the fuss. And what Louisa has set out to do, is deliver honest, fresh, well-sourced, homemade Italian meals rich in integrity. They work direct with small, independent farms and olive groves in the South of Italy aiming to help struggling businesses that fall outside the mainstream. Picking tomatoes, at the peak of ripeness they are pastuerised in bottles before being sent to England, sealing in the freshness, that you can indeed taste in the end product.
Developing these connections with Italian farmers Louisa and her team pull together a range of Italian meals that just happen to all be gluten free and also vegetarian. You can enlist her help for catering a dinner party at home, canapés to nibble or to cater your wedding. Or indeed, dinner for 2.
The Lasagna we tried was packed with multiple layers of hand rolled, gf egg pasta, their own made organic tomato sauce and a strong cheesy béchamel topping. Not sloppy with too much sauce it was simple enough to let the ingredients shine. The handmade gnocchi – strangely, so rarely gluten free despite being made from potatoes – was light and delicious on its own, and complemented with a generous mushroom sauce that was spiked with green parsley. Clearly recently made as the herbs were still green! Dessert was an Italian Apple Tart. Thin, crisp pastry filled with a custard-y apple centre it was fantastic. If I hadn’t known it to be gluten free, I would have been wholly suspicious!
For me the unique thing about this company is the desire to work closely with farmers to produce the best ingredients in season, to make simple, delicious meals that you could easily pass off as homemade should you wish (!). They can also rent out the dishes for the full effect. Now that has to be better than that factory made ready meal?