A couple of weekends ago on a gloriously sunny Sunday we popped to Camden Market to check out the ‘Against The Grain Festival’, a two-day street-food extravaganza held in one of the courtyards just under the railway bridge and into the market. I’d seen the festival advertised online months in advance and since one of the things I miss most about being gluten-free is the ability to indulge in market food eating to my heart’s content, I was determined that no matter what else we were doing we would make it to the festival.
Now before I continue, it has to be said that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this event for coeliacs since the food preparation in some cases would have had the possibility to be open to cross-contamination but certainly if you’ve been diagnosed with a gluten-intolerance then it’s perfect to get your fresh street food fix.
But oh my goodness it was BUSY, of course it was since Camden is always busy and it was slap bang in the middle of lunchtime. I think somehow it had entered my head that no-one else would know about it and we’d have had the whole place to ourselves but it was difficult to make our way through the throngs of crowds and thankfully Pete very kindly got in a queue for food whilst I attempted (and failed quite dismally) to take photos.
Having seen someone mention empanadas via Instagram on Saturday I had no doubt that there would be something there for me to love and as well as my main choice, an incredibly fresh falafel wrap from Feast, I also scoffed 3 huge aubergine Arancinis from Risotto2go. There was also pizza, curry and nachos, gluten-free beers and sweet treats from the likes of Cupcakes and Shhht which unfortunately I was too full to try and actually I’ve found that it’s much easier to find gluten-free sweet treats as opposed to savoury ones in general when out and about. If you get the chance to try Leon’s ‘Better Brownies’ you’ll be converted I guarantee!
For me, what I loved most about the festival was just being able to wander round and think about what to choose rather than feeling limited to a “burger” where the bun is a lettuce leaf (so seriously not ok!) or having to pick things up and read my way lengthy ingredients only to find that gluten is present somewhere it really shouldn’t be.
Sadly Against The Grain is only an annual event but there are plenty of free-from events popping up all over the place and I feel a lot more confident than previously to try new foods and do a bit of investigating to find options more readily available to me. And if you think you might be gluten-free, do get checked out because if you do have an intolerance you could spare yourself the year of worry and eventual surgery that I went through. Be happy and don’t ever feel you have to justify your eating habits or health-related choices. If you want to live a healthier, happier life go for it, I’m glad I did.