How to dine gluten-free on the go
Travel experts reveal their favorite restaurants and iPhone apps to help you eat gluten-free abroad.
Whether you follow a gluten-free diet or have friends who do, you may find yourself in need of a gluten-free restaurant abroad this summer. From The Grapevine consulted gluten-free travel experts to help us ditch the gluten on the go. We’ll also highlight some helpful iPhone apps to download before you hit the road.
Paris and gluten-free are two words that one wouldn’t expect to be in the same sentence. We spoke with Kim Koeller, the founder of Gluten Free Passport and author of numerous books on gluten-free travel. Koeller’s favorites in Paris include Helmut Newcake, a gluten-free traditional French patisserie. According to co-founder Francois Tagliaferro, their most popular items include the lemon and meringue tart, the chocolate éclair and a specialty item called the Paris Brest, made from gluten-free dough and light praline cream.
At Biosphere Café, Koeller, who is also dairy-free, discovered a gluten-free and dairy-free fresh baguette. Biosphere also boasts gluten-free crepes – the only gluten-free crepes in Paris to Koeller’s knowledge.
Koeller created an app called iEatOut, which has a database of traditional menu items for seven ethnic cuisines. First, you select your food allergies, and the app indicates which menu items contain those allergens. Koeller and her team did extensive research on which ingredients are used to prepare each dish. “[The app] focuses on the preparation of food and how to avoid where gluten and some of the allergens could be hidden,” Koeller said. The app enables you to safely dine at restaurants that aren’t specifically gluten-free. Koeller also wisely thought to make the app available offline so you don’t have to incur those pesky international roaming charges.
Efrat Rabinovitz opened Mezze, a vegetarian and gluten-free restaurant, 11 years ago in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv with her husband Gal Barzilay. Rabinovitz has Celiac disease, and her husband is a vegetarian. “Our kitchen is actually all gluten-free and has no danger of having “traces” of gluten, since we don’t cook anything with gluten,” Rabinovitz said. Mezze has gluten-free bread and desserts available at all times. “The most popular and unique gluten-free item is probably the pistachio cake, which has been on the menu since day one, and is enjoyed by all, gluten-free or not.”
Inbal Baum, founder of Delicious Israel, an Israeli company that specializes in culinary travel experiences, is herself gluten-free and frequents Mezze. “The atmosphere is neighborhood casual with friendly and colorful dishes,” Baum wrote. Baum’s favorite dish is the Israeli breakfast, “which includes many mezzes including their 'secret' tahini.” Baum’s other favorite gluten-free stops include Sabich Tchernichovsky and Falafel Benin, which have gluten-free pita. “I love that there – and at the hummus places – you can enjoy street food gluten-free style.”
Pizza and pasta without gluten? Yes, it’s a real thing. For gluten-free pizza, Koeller recommends Ciro & Sons in Florence. “I love the ambiance, I love the way their food tastes ...” Koeller said. “Even people that aren’t gluten-free should go there.”
Gina DiPrima, founder of GF Journeys, specializes in crafting gluten-free tours in Italy. DiPrima recommends Brio Gluten Free Bakery, located near Verona. DiPrima is a fan of their “beautiful, artisan pastries, breads and desserts, made in a 100 percent gluten-free environment.” DiPrima also highlighted Trattoria il Cortile, in Parma. “Chef Mauro sees [gluten-free] as a stimulus, a challenge,” DiPrima told From The Grapevine. “His philosophy is that cooking without wheat and gluten may at first seem like a limitation, but in fact it actually inspires his creativity.”
If you are headed to Italy, consider downloading the Eating Gluten Free app, which has an extensive database of gluten-free options in that country.
Looking for some gluten-free pub grub or a gluten-free beer? Caz Roberts, the founder and author of the blog Gluten Free Foodie, recommends the Truscott Arms. “The Truscott is a dream for celiacs – downstairs you have gastropub food at its finest – and everything that is normally off limits is fine! Fish and chips, the wagyu burger. The wonderful beef shin chips,” Roberts wrote. If pub food isn’t your preference, Roberts also recommends Ceviche. “It is fresh, clean and modern – the atmosphere is amazing.”
Roberts created an iPhone app called Gluugle, which allows you to search for gluten-free recommendations in the United Kingdom. There’s even an option to search for pubs with gluten-free beer. Cheers!
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