Sweetening life for Coeliacs

Tintin Sealey felt so sorry for her niece who was diagnosed coeliac and couldn’t indulge with her friends at birthday parties (and after suffering her own dietary intolerances), she decided to throw in her career in wealth management and turn her hand to gluten free ice cream instead

Her venture, Cocofrio, started from her Melbourne kitchen just one year ago, and the dairy free, gluten free ice-cream is now available to all kids (and grown ups) in health food stores nationwide

The certified organic ice cream will be showcased to more than seven thousand people at the largest Gluten Free event of its kind in Australasia – the Gluten Free Expo held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in October, alongside hundreds of Gluten Free products and beverages, including John O’Brien’s gluten free beer.

When the engineer was diagnosed with Coeliac he wasn’t prepared to settle for the ‘no beer’ advice his doctors were giving him.

So determined not to give up his favourite tipple, he became a self-taught brewer, even convincing his wife to move house so he had a shed to make his gluten free beer.

Several years later, and after lots of positive feedback – he partnered with Andrew Lavery, another engineer, who happened to be diagnosed with Coeliac disease, and the determined duo opened Rebellion Brewery in Ballarat producing John’s namesake O’Brien beer.

Nearly a decade on and they’re selling 500,000 litres of the stuff a year and are now one of the biggest micro-breweries in Australia.

Tintin has seen similar success.

“I very quickly realised my kitchen wasn’t going to be big enough, so had to move to a certified food manufacturer to help me make the ice-cream using my recipe.”

She says the growth of gluten free products is continuing, but it’s important people also look for quality and be aware of the ingredients listed.

There’s certainly plenty of that at the Gluten Free Expo, where you can try and buy everything from Gluten Free muesli to decadent desserts and even craft beer.

In its third year, the event which is run by not-for-profit organisation Coeliac Victoria and Tasmania, has doubled in size and includes an education zone where people can hear from leading researchers and doctors, cooking demonstrations by Masterchef contestants and a kids zone.

One in 70 people in Australia are affected with Coeliac disease and many are unaware they have the disease.

The Gluten Free Expo is held from 11 – 12 October 2014 at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre.



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