Gluten-free Iceland- Part II

Hiking Landmannalaugar

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We booked a 5 day trekking tour with Extreme Iceland and my partner chose this company as it is well regarded, but also as it has a gluten-free meal option for about $10 dollars CAN extra each day. The meals worked out quite well and I had lots of gluten-free options to eat. It is always a little complicated to cook in a shared space and keep everything gluten-free but another guest on the trek was also gluten-free, which made me feel less like an outsider. Each night we prepared meals at a different lodge where we were staying with our small group and other hikers. Many of the meals for the group were prepared beforehand by a chef and were put together with a salad in the lodges we stayed at.

I made sure to always take part in the food prep which made everything easier and we had our own gluten-free box full of gf oats, snacks and breads. Each morning we would make sandwiches for the day to bring in our packs with gluten-free bread and there were lots of cookies and snacks. The tour guides spoke Icelandic so they could read the packaging of some of the products. Overall, it went well and while it was a challenge it was much easier that they provided so much gluten-free food and that most of the meals were gluten-free as is, such as salmon, potatoes and salad. Overall we has an amazing time on our trek. Our experience, guide and group were amazing and I highly recommend Extreme Iceland for anyone, gf or not.

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Snacking on my gluten-free sandwich during the day

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Always the prepared gluten-free boyfriend, he brought me extra supplies like Annie’s for the night we ate lamb that was gluten-free but too much meat for this former vegetarian

Gluten-free salmon on the BBQ

Gluten-free salmon on the BBQ

Yummy gluten-free veggie soup

Yummy gluten-free veggie soup

Our group at the dinner table

Our group at the dinner table

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Natural hot springs

Natural hot springs

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The Blue Lagoon

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Enjoying the Blue Lagoon

Lava Restaurant was very accommodating, they were able to prepare most of the menu gluten-free and were even able to prepare us a crėme brûlée upon request when we didn’t fancy the gluten-free option on the menu. My main gripe is that my meal was the most expensive of the trip and by far not the best we had in Iceland. But we did thoroughly enjoy our time at the Blue Lagoon and had a super relaxing time.

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Lobster Soup

Lobster Soup

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The delicious dessert they made on request


Basically, if you like fish, lamb and yogurt it is relatively easy to go gluten-free in Iceland. I hope you get a chance to one day visit this magical place!

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Gluten-free in Iceland- Part I

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Seljalandfoss

This past July my partner and I spent 10 days in Iceland. We ate our way through Reykjavik, did some day trips and a 5 day trekking tour. We had an incredible time and the gluten-free options were pretty decent. As usual when traveling, it’s cheaper and easier to bring some snacks like granola, nuts and energy bars from home. Iceland is expensive and while meals are pricey we were able to eat some delicious and fancy meals for less than $90 CAN for two. You just have to watch what you order.

I found Gluten is my Bitch’s post about Iceland super helpful in planning where to eat: https://glutenismybitch.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/gluten-free-iceland-blue-lagoon-to-rotten-shark/

Below are some of the places we ate in Reykjavik and Part II features the Blue Lagoon and our Trek.

Reykjavik

We had lunch our first day at Fiskfelagid. This restaurant came highly recommended by a friend and we opted for lunch since it was almost half price and dinners can run around $60 CAN for an entrée. We got to eat outside which was lovely. Our lunches were delicious and it was a great way to start a trip. Most of the dishes offered could be prepared gluten-free.

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Lunch at Fiskfelagid

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The fish with veggies was amazing


We had dinner at Sakebarinn our first night.  I had seen this place listed online as gluten-free friendly and they were very knowledgable on gluten-free and had gf soy sauce. We had a delicious meal and without alcohol it was also decently affordable.

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The following we had dinner at Hradlestin, an Indian restaurant. We went to their more casual location and ate at there from takeout containers, which was perfect since we were exhausted after an all day tour. Most of the options on the menu were gluten-free and we had leftovers for the next day.

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When we were walking around we found  Reykjavik Chips . They only served fries so they were all gluten-free and all their sauces, except for 2, were gluten-free as well. It’s a nice casual place to pick-up a snack. I always love perfect fries, especially when I’m travelling.

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I could eat these fries with chive sauce all day!

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The night we got back from our trek we had dinner with some of our new friends at Snaps. They had quite a few gluten-free options and our group had a great dinner. My fish was delish and there was almost too much!!

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Bonus Grocery store is where we picked up our gluten-free snacks, pasta and some Skyr yogurt. The store we visited right downtown had a whole mini aisle of gluten-free products filled with yummy flatbreads and cookies.

http://www.bonus.is/

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Gluten-free around Sandbanks National Park

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In June I got to take a mini-vacation with a group of friends to the Sandbanks in Ontario. We rented a great house near the Sandbanks National park and visited a few beaches and just relaxed. While we ate at the house most of the time the two places we went we visited were:

The County Cider Company

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We did a cider tasting for $1.50 and then sat outside and drank some pints. They were only serving snacks at the time so I just had cider. I highly recommend stopping by if you are in the area.

www.countycider.com

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The County Canteen

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For dinner the next day we ate at this gastro pub in the center of Picton that has a quite a few gf options on their menu and also can adapt some of the other dishes to be gf as well. We had chicken wings and curry. If you are in the area and this is a decent option for a gluten-free meal. There was also live music and a fun atmosphere.

http://www.thecountycanteen.com/

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The Sobey’s in Picton is a gluten-free dream, they even had gluten-free graham crackers for smores! So no need to bring stuff from home.

Happy gluten-free Summer travels!

Gluten-free in London

Little Venice

Little Venice, near the Truscott Arms

I recently spent 2.5 days in London and ate all the gluten-free things! London was great for gluten-free.  I did a little research before I left (always recommended) and I had an amazing time eating my way across the city. I found great options everywhere I went, even at the airport. We also spent some time in Preston and Manchester where I also didn’t have a problem finding things to eat.

Honest Burger

We stayed near Portobello Road so we had lunch at Honest Burger.  This was a great find as all the burgers could be made gluten-free. The staff were friendly and our meals were delicious. I highly recommend having a burger here. It had been a really long time since I had a chicken burger, maybe 12 years! They also had a great drink menu and we sat looking out onto the market.

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Gluten-free chicken burger with fries

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Gluten-free beer!

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People watching from the table on Portobello Road

Dishoom

We then had dinner at Dishoom and it was amazing. I had heard about this Indian restaurant a few times and decided we had to try it. They had a gluten-free menu and all the choices my table wanted to order were gluten-free. There are really long waits, but we waited 30 minutes outside and then another 30 at the bar but it was really worth it. There are 4 locations in London and we visited the one near King’s Cross.

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Raita & dahl

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We shared a bunch of dishes…

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The gluten-free dessert & drink menu at Dishoom

Borough Market

The next day we had brunch at Roast, right in Borough market. The location was great but the food was so-so, not worth the price at all. You are better off getting a pie or some cupcakes in the market the Free From Bakehouse. Everything we tried from this stand was delicious.

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Roast

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Borough Market

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The Free From Bakehouse in Borough Market

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The Free From Bakehouse

Corner Room

For dinner we went to the Corner Room with some friends of my partner. We had a delicious dinner and most of the dishes could be made gluten-free. My main was amazing.

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Tomato Starter at Corner Room

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Dessert at Corner Room

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Corner Room’s version of Eton Mess

Ottolenghi

The next day we walked through the Columbia Road Flower Market and went to the Spitalfields Ottolenghi location for lunch. We each had a main with a choice of two delicious salads and most of the options were gluten-free already. We also took home some delicious meringues for dessert.

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Columbia Road Flower Market

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An assortment of gf salads at Ottolenghi

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Gluten-free lunch at Ottolenghi

Truscott Arms

For dinner we went to the Truscott Arms and I had amazing gluten-free fish and chips. It was such a treat to be able to have flaky and delicious fish and chips. After most of the plate and two ciders I was very full and happy despite my sadness over ending our 3 week vacation. My partner had the Sunday Roast with all the fixings.  We had a great time at this pub near Little Venice and recommend it if you are in the area and craving fish and chips.

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Cider & gluten-free fish & chips at the Truscott Arms

Gluten-Free in Puebla Mexico

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I recently travelled to Puebla Mexico for a wedding. Eating gluten-free is not easy in this area of Mexico if you do not speak Spanish. Even with my Spanish Gluten-Free card it was a challenge. I learned how to explain that I have celiac disease in Spanish but my pronunciation was terrible. In general I stuck with dishes I knew were made with corn tortillas and took a chance. I love to travel and choose to eat out and take my chances while I am discovering a new place. I am always as careful as I can be without stressing out too much about what I can’t control. It happened twice that I was brought dishes visibly containing wheat even after having the waiter read my spanish gluten-free card and specifying I needed to have my tacos on corn tortillas. One time I had them take it back and bring me something completely different on the menu (I was nervous they were going to remove the taco filling from the flour tortilla and place it on a corn tortilla). The second time, at a different restaurant, my boyfriend switched dishes with me as his dish was gluten-free. I made sure to bring snacks from home and picked up yogurt and extra snacks at the local store so I had something to eat in between meals.

All that to say travelling with celiac disease is hard, even when you speak the language. My tip is focus on all the amazing things you are experiencing and less on the annoyances of eating, like the amazing wedding we attended in nearby Atlixco. I did get a bit poisoned while we travelled but pushed through it like I always do. Having a travel partner who is understanding and supportive makes the process a whole lot better. I have been lucky to travel with some amazing GFBFFs over the last few years!

Here are the top 4 places we ate while we were in Puebla.

El Mural de los Poblanos

Chalupas!

Chalupas!

This restaurant was delicious and the waiter really took the time to explain what could be made gluten-free despite there being a little bit of a language barrier. We really enjoyed our lunch here. This restaurant is on the more expensive side and I have mixed feelings about recommending it. We went for lunch and had a great experience but went back a few days later for dinner and were treated very poorly. This is an issue with the hostesses only I believe and could have been avoided if we had made a reservation.

Casareyna

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I loved this restaurant! Everything was delicious and it is incredibly beautiful. I think this was our nicest meal while we were away. The only problem was our waiter didn’t understand gluten-free and I had to really double check everything I was eating (which was basically the case everywhere we went).

La Mexicana

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

We went here for breakfast as it was right near our hotel. I had huevos rancheros which is what I had almost everyday for breakfast as it seemed to be safe and is delicious. The atmosphere is really nice and you can eat your breakfast outside.

Azotea Rooftop Bar

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This was a great spot for a drink overlooking the central square. It was a little expensive but a nice treat and they were able to make me a fresh salad with a few ingredients removed to make it gluten-free.

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Gluten-free in Italy: Cinque Terre Region & Liguria

Pizza at Netuno in Rapallo

Pizza at Netuno in Rapallo

Sailing for almost two weeks in Italy with my best friend and her friend sounded too good to be true but I was worried about my diet. Thankfully Italy in general is accommodating to gluten-free diets and my travel partners were amazing in adapting to my diet on the boat and were happy to share gluten-free meals with me at restaurants. As I mentioned in my previous post about Rome, I tried my best to be prepared which included stocking the boat with gluten-free crackers, breadsticks, cookies and pasta. Most of the products in Italy are individually wrapped in portions which was great for eating on the boat. We ate breakfast, lunch and a few dinners on the boat. Pesto pasta was our go to dinner and to simplify things in our mini kitchen we would make gluten-free pasta for everyone or make mine first. My friends were careful and I just had to explain how I couldn’t use the same utensils as were used on bread etc. Gluten-free is difficult in any kitchen, never mind a mini-mini one but keeping things simple made it easier. Luckily my travel partners were up to the task of being amazing GFBFFs and made it a lot easier for me, they even scouted out gluten-free products and found me gluten-free gelato in random places.

As we were moving from port to port each day and had limited access to the internet I wasn’t able to research gluten-free friendly restaurants in advance but found great places to eat in most of the towns we were in. I always say it’s important to try and be easy going and positive when traveling gluten-free. It’s a challenge but with a positive attitude it’s a lot easier to navigate a gluten-filled world.

Overall, Italy was amazing as always and being able to eat and have people understand celiac disease everywhere I went made for a great travel experience.

Delicious pesto pasta made by my GFBFF Andrea

Delicious pesto pasta made by my GFBFF Andrea

Lots of products like this prosciutto were labeled gluten-free

Lots of products like this prosciutto were labeled gluten-free

Even the yogurt was labeled gluten-free

Even the yogurt was labeled gluten-free

Nettuno, Rapallo

We ate at Nettuno twice as the food was great, it was full of locals and they had great gluten-free options including all the pizzas on the menu and most of the pastas. The pizza is made on its own tray to keep it celiac friendly. Both my pizzas were amazing and my travel partners had great meals as well. I couldn’t contain my excitement when we decided to dock here a second night. We got margherita pizzas to go to eat on the boat the next day as it’s an easy meal while sailing.

Pizza at Nettuno

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The non-gluten-free 1 meter pizza for my friends

The non-gluten-free 1 meter pizza for my friends

Margherita Pizza on the boat the next day

Margherita Pizza on the boat the next day

La Prua, Lavagna

La Prua didn’t have a million options but I had a great seafood risotto and there were a few other options as well.

http://www.paginegialle.it/lavagna-ge/bar/prua

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Portofino

The restaurant we chose on the Main street on the water had gluten free penne. It’s good to ask if they have gluten-free pasta when you are walking around looking for a place to eat.

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Manarola (Cinque Terre)

In this small town there were two places I saw that had gluten-free faranita. Il Discovolo had an entire gluten-free section and a lot of gluten-free products for purchase. The owner was super helpful and stepped out to explain what what was gluten-free in store and explain how things were kept separate. My friend was super excited by the “gluten-free limit zone” in the display case. I ordered a delicious panini with tomatoes and mozzarella. Riomaggiore also had gluten-free farinita.

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Delicious Farinita

Delicious Farinita

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Happy waiting for the train with my gluten-free panini from Il Discovolo

Happy waiting for the train with my gluten-free panini from Il Discovolo

Gluten-free in Italy: Rome

Italy Gluten-Free

Travelling gluten-free is always a challenge but it’s a challenge I will always happily accept. Celiac disease will never keep me at home and particularly will never keep me from Italy! The last time I visited Italy for a month I was 19 and hadn’t yet been diagnosed as celiac but I sure was. On our backpacker budget of $40 a day (including travel) my friends and I were eating bread, nutella, pastries, pizza, paninis and more bread. To say I had stomach problems would be an understatement but at the time it was normal to always have stomach problems. Now more than ten years later I was curious to see what Italy had to offer in the gluten-free department. I was looking forward to eating in Italy as I had heard that they were very accommodating to gluten-free diets. My consensus after two weeks visiting Rome and some of the coast north of Rome is it’s a pretty good place to travel gluten-free if you have normal expectations and are easy going about it. Not once did someone not know what senza glutine was. Everyone I spoke to understood what it meant, which doesn’t always happen in Montreal. As usual, airports and small cafés do not have good options but most restaurants were able to at least make me salad and fish, while most had risotto or gf pasta and quite a few places had pizza that was safe for celiacs. In Italy they understand that for celiacs eating gluten-free is not just a diet but a treatment for a disease.

Packing lots of snacks for any trip is always very important when travelling gluten-free. For the flight I brought a sandwich and snacks and for the trip things like gluten-free granola to add to my yogurt for breakfast, nuts and Larabars were key. Once I was in Rome I picked up some gluten-free products at the grocery store in the Termini station. Before I left I researched restaurants and saved maps detailing how to get there them from my hotel on my phone. In less than 48 hours in Rome I had two pizzas, pasta and two servings of gluten-free gelato.

Fatamorgana

I highly recommend Fatamorgana in Rome. Not all gelato is gluten-free and it can also get contaminated from cones. At Fatamorgana all the gelato and the cones are %100 gluten-free. I went to two different locations and all the flavours I tried were amazing. I recommend mapping them out so you can find one in whatever area you are in. I wish I could eat it everyday!

http://www.gelateriafatamorgana.com/web/

Gluten-Free Ice Cream from Fatamorgana in Roma

Fatamorgana

Gluten-Free Ice Cream from Fatamorgana in Roma

La Scaletta

The pizza here was delicious. It’s in a super touristy area but it’s a great place to grab a glass of wine and gluten-free pizza if you are near the pantheon. I was very happy to have my margherita pizza and a glass of wine after a long day traveling.

http://www.lascalettaroma.it/

La Scaletta GF Pizza

La Pilotta

This restaurant near the Vatican is also a little touristy but they can make almost the whole menu gluten-free. It’s a great spot to stop for a quick lunch if you are in the area. The margherita pizza was delicious with a great crust!

https://plus.google.com/107935115050249984501/about?gl=ca&hl=en

Pizza at La Pilotta

Mama Eat!

This restaurant was highly recommended online for gluten free-dining. It is in the Travestere area and I think there must be better options around. Based on the good reviews I tried it but the food was so so. They have a gluten-free menu which is what I think draws people to the restaurant but my salad was the worst I had in Italy and my spaghetti carbonara was not great. I make a much better one at home!

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Where to buy products:

Pharmacies and grocery stores usually had some gluten-free products for sale. If you are moving around like I was I recommend stocking up on some pasta and snacks as it is hard to know what will be available. The tiny grocery in a little port town had a gluten-free section while a much larger store in a bigger town did not.

Tips:

  • Research and map out restaurants that are recommended by other gluten-free travellers. I saved photos of maps to different restaurants on my phone and also mapped restaurants that were recommended on a paper map. The streets in Rome aren’t on a grid so it’s a good idea to map out the places you want to eat if you aren’t using GPS.
  • Print a celiac card in Italian: http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/italian/
  • Pack snacks.

Part 2 of my trip coming soon!

Lots of gluten-free products!

Lots of gluten-free products!