Thursday, March 31, 2011

French Galettes

As far as I'm concerned, Buckwheat is the neglected gluten free flour. Maybe the use of wheat in it's name confuses people, but it is excellent. Flavoursome and with a wonderful texture, it saddens me that it isn't more of a staple in gluten-free diets. Luckily, there are a few places that know the value of buckwheat's flavour. French Creperies.

Melbourne has a wonderful selection of French Creperies, and many people don't realise that they are a great gluten-free option. Admittedly the sweet crepes are generally not gluten friendly, but the savoury crepes, or galettes, are almost always gluten free. They are also dairy free, and most places provide a vegan option. For those who don't know, a galette generally looks something like this:

A thin buckwheat crepe folded over whatever delicious filling you choose. Traditionally served with a glass of apple or pear cider, they're surprisingly filling. Here's a guide to a few of the French creperies the Melbourne has to offer.

Le Triskel: My personal favourite. Admittedly, it was the first one I ever tried, so I might be biased, but nothing else has ever quite managed to top it. Whether its the laneway atmosphere (Hardware Lane), the 'arrogantly french' written on the window or the bowl of coffee containing a ridiculously large amount of caffeine that they are stupid enough to let me have, Le Triskel is just wonderful. The galettes are thin, crispy on top and soft on the bottom, with wonderful filling. The egg, cheese, mushroom and spinach is my personal breakfast favourite, while the walnut, blue cheese and braised apple is an incredible flavour combination. The extensive sweet crepe menu is always tempting if you can squeeze it in, which even I normally can't!
Bowl of Cafe au lait

Breizoz: Walk into this unassuming little shopfront near the corner of Brunswick and Gertrude Streets, and you'll think you've stepped into an authentic French provincial bistro. A little dark and cozy for my liking, it nonetheless definitely gives off a real French vibe. Crepes are delicious, with generous, well thought out fillings. Just make sure you double check that they are aware you want the gluten free option. The dessert crepes are truly exceptional, with homemade ice cream or my personal favourite, fresh made butter caramel. Mmmmm.

Roule Galette: Another city laneway offering, just off Flinders Lane. Sadly, my least favourite of the bunch, but not through (much) fault of its own. I was spoiled, you see, by Le Triskel. Having spoken to a few Frenchies, the galettes at Roule are apparently extremely authentic, but I find them a little too soft and doughy for my liking. The fillings are great though, particularly the French cheeses. The service here could be improved. Never completely terrible, but just not quite as welcoming as the others. They do a fantastic take-away if you need a quick pick-me-up in the city, and are open nights, which sadly Le Triskel is not.

Galettes are a delicious, relatively easy to find food option around Melbourne. Light and tasty, sweet or savoury, keep them in mind next time you're roaming around Melbourne town.

Let me know if you've tried any, or know any others around melb!

Roule Galette on Urbanspoon

Breizoz French Creperie on Urbanspoon

Creperie le Triskel on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


A new food craze is sweeping through Melbourne, and I'm excited! Ok, so by 'through Melbourne' I actually mean 'in Fitzroy,' but I'm still excited. What is it, you ask? Arepas! South American cornbread. Completely gluten-free, and mostly dairy free too! These dense little pockets are amazingly filling and delicious.

I've found two great places providing these tasty little foodstuffs, both doing it deliciously and differently. One is the Columbian cafe Sonido! on Gertrude St, the other is the Cruzao Arepa Bar on Brunswick st.

Sonido! functions as a funky Fitzroy Cafe. All-day breakfasts, strong coffee focus, carefully designed space and a 4pm shutting time. It's not open for dinner and doesn't have a liquor license, but more than makes up for it in atmosphere. If you're feeling adventurous, try one of the South American fruit juices. I gave the 'curuba' a shot, and was pleasantly surprised. They also get bonus points for their large array of Gluten-free sweet goodies. The choc-raspberry brownie is exceptional!

Empanaditas - Deep fried cheese or beef filled pastries
Cruzao goes for a slightly more tapas-bar feel. This is reflected in the menu, the pricing and the set-up. Still very laid back and relaxed, but I wouldn't call it a cafe. They're very enthusiastic about the share plate idea, offering lots of different dishes with great flavours. Cheese and beef are the staple filling, always with some delicious guacamole to be found near by. (I think they throw in some coriander. It's a great flavoursome little touch.) I highly recommend the empanaditas, filled, amazingly fresh little corn pastries. Crispy and hot, these will satiate a gluten-free dumpling craving like little else. It's possibly slightly overpriced for the larger share plates, but the smaller ones are great value.

Fresh Guava Juice. Mmmm.
One of the best things about both of these places is their gluten free knowledge and labelling. I can guarantee no confused looks when you double check ingredients. They're great for dairy-free too, and not bad for nightshades as long as you avoid the tomato-cooked beef. The arepa might be small and unassuming, but it  makes an excellent addition to the Gluten-free scene in Melbourne. I only hope they manage to move out of Fitzroy and into the wider community sometime soon!

Sonido! on Urbanspoon

Cruzao Arepa Bar on Urbanspoon