The Cheese and Oatcake Bistro Box at Starbucks - A Wheat-Free Treat
If you are trying to exclude wheat from your diet, then finding a lunchtime snack when you're out and about can be quite a challenge.
Most of the lunchtime foods on offer are served with either bread or pasta, and even those that you think look safe, (a nice rice dish for instance), may have wheat flour in the dressing.
So I've always been grateful for places like Starbucks and Cafe Nero, which mark their wheat-free or gluten-free products.
That means that we don't have to hold up the line by asking, or risk asking a question that nobody knows the answer to!
Grateful as I am for any wheat-free products that are available, there are still not very many, and they do tend to be rather uninteresting.
I know that we non-wheat-eaters are a minority group, so the lack of choice is probably mostly due to a lack of demand for wheat-free products.
But now more and more people seem to be discovering the benefits of being wheat (or gluten) free, and I'm glad to say that things are improving gradually.
For instance, a little while ago the only things I ever found to eat in Starbucks were plain crisps (chips) or yoghurt.
But today, in addition to these, there were gluten-free flapjacks, chocolate brownies, the Cured Ham Hock Bistro Box (gluten-free)*, and the Cheese and Oatcake Bistro Box (wheat-free)*.
I was more than happy!
* [I've got a feeling that these particular Bistro Boxes are just sold in the UK. I think each country has its own variety of Bistro Boxes, which is exciting in itself. And adds an extra dimension of excitement to any foreign travel!]
A lot like a Ploughman's Lunch.
I chose the Oatcake Bistro Box followed by a plain yoghurt with maple syrup, with my usual chai tea latte.
First of all, Bistro Boxes are plastic boxes with different compartments, and each compartment contains different, complementary food items.
In the Oatcake Bistro Box the compartments contain the following;
- four round oatcakes
- three different kinds of cheese, (brie, cheddar and stilton)
- apple slices
- and a little pot of Branston-like pickle, (Branston is a tangy pickled vegetable relish from the UK. This relish was very similar, but mainly onion-based).
Which in fact gives you nearly all of the components of a ploughman's lunch. A ploughman's lunch is a delicious and nutritious British snack, traditionally served in pubs.
Normally a ploughman's lunch includes crusty bread, but if you're wheat-free then an oatcake is as good an alternative as any. Although not quite as filling as bread, it worked well all the same. And if you're trying to eat healthily I'm sure it has many fewer calories.
One thing that really was missing from the traditional ploughman's was a pickled onion. Now I am rather partial to a pickled onion so it would have just added that extra touch, but I still had the relish for my pickle fix.
I piled all of the other ingredients on top of the oatcakes and the flavours combined together in a really delicious way. It tasted fresh, tangy, zingy and somewhat wholesome. Putting aside the lack of pickled onion, this really was a lovely snack.
On the downside, at nearly £4 ($6) I'd say that it was rather expensive for what was really quite a small lunch. And some people might find that they need something extra to fill them up properly. My combination of the bistro box, the yummy yoghurt and the dreamy chai tea latte worked well for me, but then I don't have the biggest appetite. And a few items at Starbucks can really add up money-wise.
But to have a tasty and wheat-free lunchtime snack once in a while when I'm out and about is definitely worth the price, and is kind of a novelty!
I would recommend this as a quick, healthy and tasty snack, without a trace of wheat. And I will undoubtedly be having it again, although it's not something I will be doing every day.
(I guess that would really lessen the novelty value anyway!)
More on the Bistro Box
There is also a Gluten-Free Bistro Box
Please note that this meal is wheat-free but not gluten-free, as it contains oats.
However, the Cured Ham Hock Bistro Box is gluten-free, which is also pretty good news!