Gluten free travel, tips and information to help you have a great trip. Including my top three items for your gluten free travel emergency pack.
Sharing my experiences of flying gluten free and enjoying delicious gluten free food around the world.
I love to travel. Visiting new places or familiar favourites the thrill of being somewhere different revitalises me.
I enjoy the anticipation of the journey although my tolerance for the reality is less than it used to be. Airports are getting busier which means more of those dastardly queues.
I have had the good fortune to travel to some amazing places over the years. I don’t want my food requirements to spoil my trip so I have evolved various strategies to minimise the risk of this.
However there are times that I have had to accept that food is not going to be a highlight of that particular trip (very sad for a foodie like me). I just have to accept that there are some countries where my food choices will be restricted.
That’s where my gluten free travel emergency pack can be particularly helpful.
No matter where I am going, I travel with my emergency pack. This has evolved over the years through experience but also as the variety of gluten free foods has expended (and got better).
My main aim is to ensure I always have something to snack on so that pure hunger doesn’t force me to take food risks I wouldn’t normally take.
The beginning of a holiday is particularly high risk in my experience. It is when you are most tired (from travelling) and you haven’t worked out how gluten free food “works” in that particular country, even if you have done your research before setting off.
1. Gluten Free savoury biscuits, in my case gluten free oat cakes. They are easy to transport and versatile. They work as a simple snack eaten on their own and as a bread substitute to have at a restaurant or on a picnic. They are delicious with cheese, cold meats, pates etc.
2. Gluten free snack bars. The variety of gluten free snack bars means I can take different flavour combinations to give me a (healthy) sugar fix when my sweet tooth kicks in. A life saver since finding a gluten free sweet treat is often the biggest challenge when travelling.
3. Pre-prepared phrases about gluten free in the local language, saved on my phone in an easily accessible place. I also have the Google translate app which has proved extremely useful although by no means fool proof.
Travelling in Europe has become easier over recent years since there are common laws to standardise allergy labelling on food products in shops (really useful) and on menus (patchy, some countries have embraced this more than others).
Given that wheat is the key ingredient in their national dishes of pasta and pizza I didn’t expect food to be a highlight on a holiday in Italy a few years ago. In fact I was slightly dreading eating out. I shouldn’t have worried. Italy turned out to be a wonderful revelation.
The Italians seem to have taken the approach that food is so important no one should be without great Italian food and that includes people who need gluten free. It was a liberation, I found GF options everywhere!
Ok, slight exaggeration life is never that easy but I was astonished with the prevalence of gluten free options in even the simplest eatery. And these weren’t second class options, these were delicious freshly made dishes. My experience was restricted to main cities and towns in the north. Made me want to go back and travel more widely.
France, as always is different. I had only had very short trips to France prior to meeting my husband.
As a complete Francophile it is not surprising that our first proper holiday together was in the Loire region of France.
I will never forget the reaction of the reception staff when we checked in. We had warned the hotel in advance that I needed wheat free food and their sympathetic horror that I couldn’t eat bread was lovely if slightly comic.
They did me proud though, making truly wonderful dishes adapting them without compromises in terms of taste and beauty. You can’t ask for more.
Although I was familiar with hearing all about the French love of food it was the first time I had experienced the emotion of it. Food really does matter to them, it is a key part of life.
The prevalence of gluten free food has grown in France but you do still need to be careful when ordering. I find Google Translate or similar to be a great help.
Over many more visits to France since that first holiday in the Loire, the French passion for food has definitely rubbed off on me.
It inspires many of my recipes as you can read shortly on our sister site My Healthy French Summer.
I'm Janne. I create recipes and provide tips for enjoying fantastic food that just happens to be gluten free.
Whether you are living gluten free full-time, trying it out or cooking occasionally for family and friends.
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