For many of us, a life without bread, pasta and pastry doesn’t bear thinking about, but switching to a gluten-free diet – for whatever reason – doesn’t have to be such a compromise.
Introducing: FreeGo. An online food store that specialises in the finest gluten-free products from across the world. Whether that be pasta from Italy, liquorice from Australia, bread from the USA or seaweed snacks from Korea, FreeGo ‘say no to bad taste, poor choice or missing out’ – but there’s no denying they deliver on flavour.
Every item on FreeGo has been tested and tasted by their expert team of foodies and nutritionists, with special offers and affordable staples such as Dove’s Farm flour and Kallo stock cubes sat alongside more luxury items such as Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and a rich and fruity Cider Cake by speciality bakers The Foods of Athenry.
Users can shop by product or diet, with additional sections dedicated to recipe ideas and cheery articles such as ‘Top 5 Reasons To Love Your Gluten Free Life‘ and ‘Top 5 Healthy Gluten Free Food Swaps‘ (just in case you need a little extra encouragement). It’s all incredibly convenient, so much so that you once you’ve filled up your shopping basket you’re half-expecting to be dumped with a whopping delivery charge as comeuppance. But that’s simply not the case. Delivery is free for orders over £40, and only £2.99 if you spend less.
So what do the products actually taste like? The best thing about FreeGo is that the majority of their items are made by well-known free-from brands that you already know and trust. The rest, well you can trust FreeGo that they’re good. I ordered a selection of items from their website, some I had tried already, some I hadn’t.
Pasta in particular is one area FreeGo really do excel at. From brown rice penne and buckwheat spirals to black bean spaghetti and spinach gnocchi, they stock 34 different types of dried pasta and potato gnocchi, ranging from £1.49 to £4.99 per 250 – 500g pack. Unfortunately all eight of the Dialsi range were sold out when I came to order, and on emailing the company I was informed it would be another two months before their Italian suppliers would be up-and-running again post-season – a real shame as Dialsi came out top in my previous review of the best gluten-free pastas. What is impressive is that the majority of FreeGo’s brands are also included in my round-up, and those that aren’t could be cause for a re-write.
Starting with Edamame Spaghetti. Simply made from Organic Edamame (green soybeans), this naturally green spaghetti from Explore Asian is not only pleasing to look at but pleasing to taste – the delicate, vegetal flavours subtle but satisfying thanks to the delightfully chewy texture. I’ve sung my praises about Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine before and this too does a brilliant job at masquerading soybeans as pasta; I found the flat thick noodles are best enjoyed served simply with a little butter or as a stand-alone accompaniment to any meat or fish-based dish. Their striking Black Bean spaghetti is also high in protein and fibre with only a moderate carb content – the texture firmer than white pasta and better able to cope with the strong flavours of Asian or Mexican cooking.
Another colourful take on the carb is Bionita’s gluten-free gnocchi. Taking just two minutes to cook, these little potato dumplings are delightfully coloured according to their flavour (plain, tomato or spinach) and make for an easy and wholly appetising addition to any Italian-inspired meal.
Having previously reviewed (and fully approved!) ilumi’s range of allergy-friendly ready-meals, finding all 16 to also be completely sold out came as a disappointment but no surprise, and I don’t doubt that their other quick-cook str fry sauces (again all sold out) are equally as accomplished. Biscuits, brownies, cakes and high-cacao dark chocolate bars are all top quality (but sold out), with savoury snacks such as kale chips, tamari roasted cashew nuts, crackers and crispbread thankfully all on hand to help fill the hole.
Popular gluten-free go-to’s such as Amy’s soup, Bounce protein balls and 9bar breakfast bars are also all in stock, with a huge variety of nut butters and chocolate spreads to slather over one of the many bread and bakery mixes.
Another of my store-cupboard essentials is Dove’s Farm flour. Unfortunately FreeGo seem to over-estimate the size of our cupboards as after ordering three big bags of the stuff, I received an email informing me the flour is only available in cases of five as apparently single bags often split during shipping. It’s a fair enough reason (and my refund was processed immediately) but it does seem like a detail that should be made clearer when ordering.
Because this is the thing about FreeGo. It’s everything you thought gluten-free couldn’t be, and yet there’s still too many hiccups to really deliver on all that it promises. I just hope that, given time, FreeGo fills up its shelves and fulfils its potential to be the ultimate one-stop-shop for what really are the very finest gluten-free products in the world.