A food fair with a difference will take place in Galway this weekend. As the name suggests, all foods showcased at the 'Ballynogluten' event at The Ardilaun Hotel will be gluten free.
Attendees can look forward to a cooking demonstration from celebrity chef Kevin Dundon, who will showcase the array of gluten-free foods now available to Irish consumers. A dietician will also be on hand to advise about a gluten-free diet. In addition to this, local artisan food producers, established producers and those new to the market will exhibit their gluten-free produce.
Coeliac disease is estimated to affect 46,000 people in Ireland, and it is believed that the west of Ireland has one of the highest incidences of the disease. It is an auto-immune disease, whereby gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, is harmful to those affected. The disease can manifest itself at any stage in a person’s lifetime, with symptoms including abdominal pain, recurring mouth-ulcers, weight-loss, vomiting, and diarrhoea. The health implications of undiagnosed coeliac disease are far reaching and can include fertility issues, osteoporosis, and anaemia. The only treatment is a gluten-free diet.
The Ballynogluten food fair is being organised by the Coeliac Society of Ireland, in association with SuperValu. The Coeliac Society is a national charity that provides its members with information and support about coeliac disease. It also provides an invaluable food list, which references all of the gluten-free products available on the Irish market. Members also receive monthly updates on new products. The food list also makes it easier for sufferers to choose wisely when eating out.
Coeliac Society CEO, Gráinne Denning says the aim of the Galway event is to educate people further about the issue. "One in 100 people in Ireland has coeliac disease and it can be challenging for them to figure out what they can eat, as gluten is a common ingredient in food. These include many foods not generally associated with wheat, barley or rye, such as things like gravy, soy sauce and beer."
The Ballynogluten Roadshow is open to everybody and is not just targeting those suffering from coeliac disease, but those who are interested in maintaining a gluten-free diet. Gráinne Denning is hoping for a big turn out on Saturday as she believes it could be very helpful to many. “We are delighted to bring the Ballynogluten Roadshow to Galway and we hope the recipes, dietary advice, and introduction to many of the coeliac-friendly foods now available will help to make life easier for those living with coeliac disease."
SuperValu marketing director, Ray Kelly, said the chain had seen a significant rise in demand for gluten-free products in stores. "Over the last number of years we have developed a range of high quality products that not only meet this demand but also offer good value. We even have a large number of innovative and tasty products that have come through our food academy programme, demonstrating the potential for small producers to develop some nice niche products. Ballynogluten is an opportunity to showcase the range of gluten-free produce available in Ireland and to raise awareness of coeliac disease."
+Tickets for the roadshow cost €5. Children under 12 go free. Visit www.coeliac.ie to book your place or you can pay at the door on the day.