UPDATE: As of 14th January 2013, gluten-free Brixton favourites the WAG Free Bakery have collaborated with Selfridges on a new range in their food hall including sweet treats and bread. We can’t wait to check it out!
Occasionally, a Selfridges voucher is bestowed upon me by some kindly gift giver, employer or other. On such occasions I have a little routine. Firstly there is all kinds of excitement in the B household. This, I resolve, is a yellow-and-black passport to happiness. A ticket to a New Me. A fashionable me. One with Good Clothes that I will look after and not crumple on the floor. Yes, I will be one of Those Women. Those effortless wisps who waft on the breeze of confidence that only people who know about £800 handbags and £50 manicures have. They always remember to brush their hair in the morning and shop for investment pieces* instead of pirate dresses and facepaint.
And then I conveniently forget that I hate shopping and think: what could possibly make me feel better on this slightly grumpy and tired-out Saturday than a spritely stroll on friendly, bustling Oxford Street among the cheerful folk of London Town? What a marvellous plan I have!
This time, like all others, I ended up in those hallowed halls of trend and quirk, sweaty and stressed, after an epic journey involving tripping over several gawking tourists. I was intimidated by the browsing ladies with impeccable black brows in Chanel hijabs with diamonds the size of golf balls. I ran the gauntlet of perma-tanned camp Clinique dolls on the ground floor, scowling at those who bothered me, and those that didn’t (what, am I not posh enough for your overpriced bottle of cloying spritz?). I tried on asymmetrical dresses (which way does it go?) after skinny jeans (how do you breathe?) after sparkly shoes (how do you walk?) only to throw up my arms in exasperation, buy a designer spatula from the cookware section and retreat whimpering to my comfort zone: the food hall.
Selfridges is the sort of place where you would expect to find all kinds of gluten free wonders, and indeed they are there, but you have to hunt among the stands and there’s a lot of ‘may contain’ tomfoolery. I was accosted by many too-cool-for-school shop assistants proffering tempting free samples. Luckily they are all very well-informed on what does and does not contain gluten.
Dining in is crowded, and there are slim pickings for coeliacs, so on this occasion I settled on picking up a few treats. Here’s my mini haul:
Oddono’s Ice Cream
Worth a lick of thick, creamy, gloopy gelato to take the edge off of the sugar cravings when you are treat hunting. Ingredients are clearly marked and all but 2 flavours are gluten-free. Pleasingly each one has a separate scoop so less chance of cross-contamination; although I did have to use the haughty coeliac glare of doom when I was offered a cone.
GF Nomability: 7/10
Raspberry Abricotines, Peace of Cake
A whole table of treats shared between Peace of Cake and Kent & Fraser. Worryingly, there were a lot of price reductions. Good for me, but I fear for the gluten free economy! These little buttons of nom were delicious with a chilled white wine. Chewy and rich, the perfect size to scoff 4 on the way home. I would have only liked a spot more raspberry. Up the coeliac pound!
GF Nomability: 7/10
Very Berry Granola, The Foods of Athenry
How much?! I hadn’t noticed the pre-reduction price on this cereal, but nearly £10 for 400g?! I know this is a posh shop but seriously? Is import duty from Ireland really so high? I have been after an oat-free granola so at a marginally more reasonable £3, tried this one. Was it worth it? Well they certainly don’t skimp on the berries and seeds, so this is a rather heavy cereal- you only need a little bit. There is a strong buckwheat flavour, but it’s rather dusty and catches a little in your throat. I’m always a nervous with seeds that feel like teeth breaking when you crunch them! Overall taste was good and not too sweet.
GF Nomability: 6/10
I understand that the much-recommended Pudology will soon be stocked at Selfridges. Good news for choice, but a shame that there is a notable absence when it comes to savoury options.
*I am reliably informed by the Sunday Times Style Magazine that this is something expensive that will go with everything else I own and last forever. Sounds like some kind of wizardry for the fashionable. Aside from that, they are a little light on details. I thought maybe they would have a section in Selfridges for Investment Pieces. Apparently not. Unless you count the 3rd floor where you will need to take out a mortgage to afford anything.