It’s not often you hear the words ‘convenient’ and ‘gluten-free’ used together in one sentence, but thanks to Georgia’s Choice, those on a gluten-free diet can finally add a bit of convenience to their cooking. And when I say cooking, what I really mean is ‘stick it in the oven and wait for dinner to be done’. Because this is proper free-from food for those that can’t be bothered with sifting together four different grains or swapping flour with sinless cauliflower for a make-do pizza base (yes, some strange people really do this).
What’s even better is that every product in the Georgia’s Choice eight-strong range contains no artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives, using high quality ingredients such as 100% chicken breast meat sourced from ethical British farms. All wonderful stuff, and it’s details like this which make serving up weeknight dinners of chicken nuggets, chicken burgers and pepperoni pizza seem a whole lot more wholesome.
It’s certainly been created to be family-friendly. Company founders Pauline and Gary first developed the products in response to their daughter (Georgia)’s positive testing to gluten intolerance and in 2014 they won two FreeFrom Food Awards – one for foods designed for children.
With the ‘80s-style logo and somewhat dated packaging, the range really does have that Aunt Bessie-like feel of the frozen food I so fondly remember eating as a child. The products are stocked by the three big supermarkets (Asda, Tesco and Waitrose) and after years bemoaning the absence of a quality gluten-free pizza, I am now the proud owner of a freezer filled with pizzas, fishcakes, chicken grills and mexican bean bakes. All gluten-free, and all Georgia’s Choice. I can practically hear my boyfriend whooping at the thought of a week without our usual rotation of rice/rice pasta/rice noodles.
First onto our plates is the chicken grills. The batter is golden and crunchy with a tender chicken centre that’s so pleasingly, well, chickeny, it’s not hard to see why kids love them. I’m tempted to compare them with McDonalds chicken nuggets but that seems unfair as (while I was always a fan of the nugget), these really are too good to be confused with junk food.
Next up are the much-anticipated pizzas. Taking just 15 minutes to cook from frozen, we split the margherita and pepperoni between two of us and are pleased to find them as gooey and golden as any gluten-filled counterpart. The bases are soft, chewy and actually fold without cracking into cardboard shards – a tragically common occurrence in gluten-free pizzas. The crust itself is pleasantly crunchy but wisely thin (it’s good but not that good) with plenty of tomato, cheese and pepperoni to top it off. The only real downside is the price. At £3.50 each, the somewhat child-sized 280g portion makes it difficult to justify paying over the odds for what is really just a good gluten-free version of your standard frozen pizza.
Onto the Mexican Bean Bakes, and perhaps the greatest compliment I can give to these vegan patties is that they formed the first vegetarian meal I’ve ever witnessed my boyfriend eat without first questioning it, and then adding a few sausages on the side. Not that they taste meaty, but the whole chunks of sweetcorn, black beans and pinto beans have a pleasing taste and texture with the same delicious crumb that I liked so much on the chicken grills. Personally I could have done with more heat (I couldn’t even taste the chilli powder) but for kids especially it’s a great way to sneak some veg into an easy-cook meal.
Because Georgia’s Choice really is brilliant gluten-free food created for, and aimed at, kids. Fuss-free, gluten-free and guilt-free, it may not be the most sophisticated food I’ve ever eaten but who can be bothered with that on a weeknight anyway.
Find out more at: http://www.georgiaschoice.co.uk/