Passover is a special time of year for celiacs. What other holiday has so many gluten-free treats 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 matzo, an unleavened bread that’s made from wheat. That means anything made with matzo — such as matzo-ball soup, gefilte fish, and any product made with matzo meal — is off limits. But there are many dessert options — which can range from traditional macaroons to raspberry rolls, chocolate-covered marshmallows to fudge brownies, and marble loaf cake to chocolate-chip cookies — that suit 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. You can also order online: Kosher.com will ship orders anywhere in the US. Another option for mail-order delivery is Shabtai Gourmet, a bakery that is entirely gluten-free; they are also dairy- caesin- and soy-free, and their products are certified kosher.
If you need advice and recipes to help you prepare a gluten-free yet traditional Seder, Elana’s Pantry is a great resource. There’s also an extensive list of Passover-appropriate recipes available from Kosher Celiac Cookery; some even feature that gluten-free favorite quinoa, which is actually a berry and not a grain. Nancy Lapid, About.com’s celiac guide, prepared a great list of items to watch for in “The Jewish Holiday of Passover: A Gluten-Free Bonanza.”
Wishing everyone who celebrates the holiday a very sweet Passover!