Every now and then a new gluten-free product shows up in the grocery store that surprises the hell out of me. Several weeks ago when our family was on vacation, my son Alex bought a package of Toufayan Gluten-free Wraps at the local Publix grocery store while he was helping to stock our away-from-home kitchen. For some reason, neither of us had seen this particular product before. It was almost like the company was quietly, almost shyly offering them up to the gluten-free community. The wraps weren’t in the gluten-free section- they were with the fresh baked goods in the bakery along with the other Toufayan products. We’d seen no ads. No PR articles in the newspaper. I hadn’t seen them at any of the gluten-free events I’d been to in the last year. I hadn’t heard any buzz in the gluten-free community. These wraps were a stealth product that suddenly showed up in our lives and they looked and felt like the real thing.
We gave them a try the next morning for breakfast. Alex filled his right from the bag with eggs and hot sauce. I warmed mine for a minute in a large fry pan and then filled it eggs and pepper jack cheese. Wow. Soft and pliable with a very, very mild flavor. They were good.
The next afternoon, I was served a lavish lunch at a friends house that included small wedge sized pieces of the very same wraps (again, right from the bag!) along with a luscious seafood dip. My friend Wendy waved the plastic bag with the huge words gluten-free printed all over it to reassure me I was safe.
I have to say, Toufayan wraps are a pleasure to eat after all the less supple, weird tasting ones I’ve tried over the last several years. They’re a good product to be able to have in our gluten-free pantry for when we don’t want to make them ourselves, or for when we don’t want to have to deal with the freshness issue of homemade wraps or tortillas (my homemade gluten-free flour tortillas only last several hours unless you freeze them, just like the fresh ones you’d get in a restaurant where they make them on-premise). They’d be really nice to pack for hikes, tailgates, and picnics at the beach because you can roll them right out of the bag and they won’t dry out (as long as you keep them wrapped). They’d also be good for lunch boxes and dipping in dips.
When we got back from our trip, I looked for the wraps in several stores but couldn’t find them anywhere, so I called the company. They told me that they’d be stocking my local grocery store later that week with a new shipment (and they are available all over the country in spite of what their confusing website says). I also found out that they make the wraps in a dedicated gluten-free facility and that it took over a year for them to come up with a product good enough to pass muster with the Karen Toufayan, daughter of the company’s founder.
The only real downside to Toufayan’s gluten-free wraps is that in order maintain suppleness and retard mold, the product contains a couple of ingredients that wouldn’t be in a homemade wrap or tortilla. But so do most of the other wraps available on grocery store shelves, and as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, so do many of the gluten-free baked goods and snack foods sold in stores around the country. What this means is that these wraps may not be good for those who choose to only ever eat food that is completely void of food additives. For families like ours, while we won’t consider them an everyday-food, we’ll welcome them as a not-all-the-time treat (and we really only eat baked goods on the weekends anyway, unless I’m testing recipes).
By the way, the folks at Toufayan also informed me that they will be introducing three new flavored gluten-free wraps in their line: a spinach tortilla, a savory tomato tortilla, and a garden vegetable tortilla. I was able to get a sneak preview and they all passed the taste and texture test here —but with the same shelf-life prolonging food additive ingredient list heads-up.