I've done it. A few times. I've even seen other Coeliacs say something is gluten free and just had to go and check for myself, I don't know why they'd be lying, but I had to check just to confirm for myself that something is gluten free despite it seeming like it shouldn't be.
Some Coeliacs don't think to check regular products just in case they are gluten free, and you never know what you could be missing out on, here are a few unexpected gluten free products you can find down the regular shopping aisles.
Who doesn't miss a Twix bar? Well it might not quite be the bar but the chocolate spread is gluten free. It is a chocolate based spread, a bit like Nutella but contains biscuit pieces. Yes you heard me right, biscuit. The biscuit in it though has been made with rice flour not wheat flour, now they just need to do that in proper Twix's too!
Tesco Indian Kitchen Onion Bhajis
A lot of onion bhajis which are bought in stores contain wheat, even Tesco frozen ones contain wheat. However if you head to the takeaway fridge and check the chilled Indian Kitchen Onion Bhajis they do not contain any gluten or even have a may contain warning. These onion bhajis, like many products in Indian cooking uses gram flour, which comes from chickpeas. So if you miss onion bhajis with your curry or other Indian dish, get yourself down to Tesco for some of these!
Heinz beans themselves are gluten free but did you know that the ones with sausages are also gluten free, no wheat in those sausages! The Heinz tin is also labelled gluten free so they have been tested to prove they are below 20ppm. The sausages in these contain pork, water, pea starch, salt, spices and triphosphates but not a hint of wheat in sight. This one always shocks so many people when they find out they are gluten free, get over that shock and go and enjoy some beans and sausages on gluten free bread!
Toffee Crisp Sharing Block
Ok, this one is not quite the same as a proper toffee crisp, whatever though, the sharing block doesn't contain gluten. Unlike the normal toffee crisp there are a lot less crispy bits, and the crispy bits in this are only rice, nothing involving wheat and the caramel is free from barley. This bar is more of a caramel with toffee flavoured filling and the odd rice ball, totally different from a normal toffee crisp but they are a nice alternative even if it's not quite the same.
If you enjoy eating tiny fish, heads and all, then head to Aldi, they have two lots of whitebait, one is just lightly dusted and the other is lightly dusted with lemon and pepper seasoning, both use a gluten free coating. This is the first time a whitebait has been available that is gluten free (it has been in about a month now), all others have used a wheat based coating.
Unfortunately since writing this blog Barleycup have stopped doing their gluten free version.
A somewhat controversial one, a gluten free alternative to Ovaltine (which I miss!) or Horlicks, Barley Cup is labelled gluten free but it does contain Barley and Rye. We know a fair few Coeliacs that drink it, Coeliac UK also deem it safe and it has been certified by them. According to Barley Cups info, which also includes their test results, the process for making the beverage extracts gluten (a bit like distillation removes gluten from vinegar). So if you enjoyed Ovaltine or Horlicks this may be a good alternative, though if you are particularly sensitive it may not be worth the risk.
Update June 2018: Since time of writing Barleycup have stopped producing their gluten free version
Do you have any other "unexpectedly gluten free products" that you have found while wondering round the supermarkets. Let us use know!