I know, I know, when you hear the phrase, “the most wonderful time of the year,” Christmas probably comes to mind (especially because of the classic holiday song). But I’d argue that, for celiacs, spring is really the most wonderful time, because it brings with it two great holidays for foodies: Passover and Easter.
It’s exciting when Passover treats start to appear in my local Fairway. What other holiday has so many gluten-free desserts specifically created for it? Also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Passover generally prohibits the consumption of grains (rice and beans are also on the forbidden list for Ashkenazi Jews). That’s not to say that everything is celiac-safe, since one staple of the regular Passover diet is matzoh, an unleavened bread that’s made from wheat. That means anything made with matzoh — such as matzoh-ball soup, gefilte fish, and any product made with matzoh meal — is off limits. Gluten-free matzoh is now available from several companies, including Manischewitz and Yehuda; technically speaking, it’s not acceptable for seders, but it’s a great option for anyone who can’t eat traditional matzoh.
Passover dessert options — which range from traditional macaroons to raspberry rolls, chocolate-covered marshmallows to fudge brownies, and marble loaf cake to chocolate-chip cookies — are spectacular for the gluten-intolerant. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a selection of gluten-free Passover foods at your local grocery store or Costco. For recipes, check out Elena’s Pantry and Kosher.com. Another wonderful resource is Nancy Lapid’s “The Jewish Holiday of Passover: A Gluten-Free Bonanza.”
Easter also has its special treats. Stores are filled with seasonal candies, and if you’re wondering what’s safe, check out this updated list of Gluten-Free Easter Candy. For celiac-safe recipes for everything from a traditional Easter ham to hot cross buns, check out The Spruce. Other favorites: Real Simple has an extensive list of gluten-free desserts; Glutenista has a lovely menu for an Easter dinner; and Canadian Living has some of my all-time Easter brunch favorites.
Happy spring to all!