This Queen’s Birthday long weekend the team behind The Food Truck Park in Preston decided we could celebrate everything gluten free. Organising not only Food trucks that offer gluten free menus in their standard fare, but utilising speciality menus for those trucks that are typically off limits.
Kicking off at 5 pm Friday the 9th of June, the festival is running until the 12th of June at 8.30pm. Earlier during the week, there was some controversy over on the page when The Food Truck Park marked those trucks that they considered to be “Coeliac Friendly”. Despite all of the confusion, this actually meant that the trucks marked, traditionally catered for Coeliacs during the day to day running of the business. Other trucks like Cheese and Bread, outside of this event do not serve gluten free food.
With just under 20 different trucks partaking in this weekend’s “Gluten Free Zone”, and O’Briens gluten free Pale Ale or cider served to quench those thirsty patrons; whether you are eating in or buying something to take away, there are loads of options. Around five of the trucks serve gluten free in their day to day menu, these are the trucks that I focused on so that you can track them down and enjoy their food outside of this festival.
Ardor Gluten Free Gnocchi Bar
Some of you may remember Ardor from last year’s Melbourne Gluten Free Expo. While they sold out of their delicious donuts last year, they have plenty to go around at the festival. The donuts were definitely the best value at the stall with Cinnamon Sugar costing $5, Nutella at $7 and a vegan Nutella at $8. If you want savoury over sweet their Gnocchi was available with Napoli or Pesto sauce for $15.
Realistically $15 for the serve seemed a little high, a price tag of around $10 would be more reasonable. However, the gnocchi was without fault. It melted in your mouth with a delicious sweet herby pesto coating. We opted for parmesan on top, at no extra charge, which made this meal not vegan friendly.
Craved by Cavemen
As you can see by the menu below, Australia’s First ever Paleo Food truck, Craved by Cavemen isn’t short on options. Along with these items, they also served dough-nots and carrot cake balls at the counter. During the week I had an in-depth conversation with Sarah about their uncontaminated kitchen and house-made sauces and marinades. Thankfully none of their menu items ever contain any gluten so if you can track them down, you can enjoy with certainty.
Deciding on a side serve of their Sweet Potato Fries with whole egg garlic aioli ($10) and their Slow Cooked Lamb Burger ($16.50), we sat down at one of the many tables that are available in the park. The sweet potato fries were mostly crispy except where doused with that delicious aioli. That serve probably would have done me for an entire meal by itself.
The winner was definitely the Slow Cooked Lamb Burger. The burger bun was a tad on the chewy side but still extremely good for gluten free buns. The meat was tender but didn’t remind me of that slow cooker lamb that falls apart in your mouth. It did hold wonderful flavour though. The Coconut Raita surprised me, I expected a large hit of coconut flavour, however it wasn’t really present at all. The main flavour that came through was from the sweet mango chutney, that added a touch of sweetness to contrast the fermented pickles.
In terms of price, these items were on the higher side. Brody and I would happily pay around $18 to $20 for the burger and chips if they were ever to introduce them as a combo meal. Overall, definitely worth trying out.
Specializing in Indian street food Babaji’s Kitchen naturally focuses on coeliac friendly food. The main issues they discussed with me in providing a Coeliac Safe food truck were staff training and perception. With international staff where often allergies let alone Coeliac Disease is rarer it can be a bit tricky. Thankfully their years of experience have ironed out all the creases and they are skilled at avoiding contamination during normal business trading.
At the festival they are serving their ‘lentil pancakes’ or dosa. Filled with delicious curry varieties. We chose the Coconut Chicken ($13) to fill our dosa and the flavours did not disappoint. The chicken was moist and the sauce was creamy. With a bit of heat it was a perfect filling for our thin crepe style pancake. The dosa itself didn’t have a strong lentil flavour and was useful in spooning up the curry.
As well as attending the gluten free food truck festival, Babaji’s Kitchen has a Coeliac Friendly catering service and street food store. Catering is from $10 or $12 per person depending on your package, with an extensive menu. Their street food shop in Belgrave is undertaking the application process for Coeliac Society Accreditation too. The idea of another venue taking up the program is exciting and i’ll keep you updated on their progress.
Sweet Forbidden Journey
No day is complete without dessert and Sweet Forbidden Journey definitely hits the spot. Just as the name suggests these desserts are sweet mouthfuls. The food van itself caters to many different allergies and Renee is very cautious about cross contamination. With separate bowls and utensils used only for gluten free items she has cross contamination pretty much down pat. Just be sure to make it known you have Coeliac Disease and you’ll be directed to the menu items that are safe.
To end the day, we decided on a half serve of the Honeycomb Ice Cream Sandwich ($5.50) and a half serve of the Banana Split ($5.50). With such large portions sizes and a full serve price of $11, Sweet Forbidden Journey got my tick for the best valued truck.
This was my first ever taste of an ice cream sandwich and I am addicted. The gooey cookie encased a sweet and delectable honeycomb ice cream, flavoured with a delicious syrup and chocolate chips. I don’t know if I could even finish a full serve but I am willing to try. This is a definite have again. The Banana split was also really good value for money. With half of a banana, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a rocky road crumble and your choice of sauces; of which Brody chose all at no extra charge, this is a complete dessert. The sauces all worked really well together, with none overpowering the other. The rocky road added a great crunch and overall it is something that Brody would happily buy again.
In addition to these trucks I reviewed, Dos Diablos was also present. You may remember that I reviewed them at the Chilli Food Truck Festival last year. If you’re heading to Preston, on this final day of the festival be sure to relax and have some fun. Maybe with enough encouragement the Food Truck Park may even decide to celebrate the world of gluten free again in the future.
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Until Next Time;
Ashlee; The Aussie Coeliac.