Here’s a question:  Why does Melbourne have so many gluten-free food products and cafes/bakeries/restaurants specializing in gluten-free foods?  I’d like to think the answer is, because our new home is super cool, food and health conscious, and ahead of the times in terms of gluten equality. 

What’s the real answer?  Apparently Australian wheat has a larger grain size that, when milled and processed, has a higher gluten content than other types of wheat.  As a result, many more Australians are sensitive to the gluten in wheat-bearing products and hence, Australian wheat wants to kill (or at least gastrointestinally discomfort) my gluten-intolerant sister…

(NB: This may or may not be true.  But it is straight from the mouth of the random baker I stumbled onto at the grocery store.  While trying to determine what type of biscuit (cookies in American English) to substitute for graham crackers, I picked on an unsuspecting couple who were also shopping the biscuit aisle and asked what they would use (Arnott’s Marie’s, for anyone interested, which worked perfectly).  The husband suggested a gluten-free alternative to the Marie’s and I, socially deprived and jumping at any chance to have a 10 minute conversation with random strangers, asked why there was so much gluten-free food in Melbourne.  His answer (the short of it), was the above. I thought it sounded pretty believable, and as he went on and on about wheat processing and byproduct etc., his wife explained that he is a baker…)  

Another fun fact: Australia is the world’s second largest wheat producer (after the U.S.) and exports 80% of the wheat produced. So think about how many super-sized wheat grains engorged with gluten are reaching your mouth!

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