Highlights From 2022's Summer of Gluten-free Travel
2022 was my get out and travel again summer. COVID under control, family issues handled, and it was time to reclaim my life. For me, that means getting out and about. I hit 8 countries and ate countless meals and snacks -some in completely gluten-free restaurants, others off gluten-free menus, and with others I followed my restaurant rules for safe(r) gluten-free ordering and eating. Here are my highlights.
Fried chicken in London
At Niche, dedicated gluten-free restaurant in the Islington part of London. Let me just say that again: Fried Chicken. Now, I love my fried chicken. But I rarely eat anything fried, because it’s rarely safe and because it’s really not good for your body. But once in a while, when I know it’s going to be completely gluten free, I indulge. I ordered a starter plate of NFC (Niche Fried Chicken) – it was big enough for a meal, and so good! Crispy on the outside, with a crunchy, flavorful crust, and real juicy chicken breasts inside.
My friend had a delicious piece of fish, and we split cheesecake for dessert. She loved the meal, I loved the meal, and it was all 100% safe. None of my own photos, though. I was so excited about the chicken that I forgot to take pictures! Check out their website and you’ll understand why.
Real gluten-free pizza in Rome, Italy
Of course pizza had to make the list! And where better to eat it than in Italy? The Italian celiac association works closely with restaurants to make sure that they can serve us safely. The next time you are in Rome, visit Pizza in Trevi, around the corner from the Trevi Fountain. You’ll feel both special and normal.
Check out this photo. Of the two pizzas, my plain gluten-free pizza (I am a traditionalist) is on the left; my cousin’s gluten-containing pizza with artichokes (WHAT??!!) is on the right. Aside from the placemats, you can’t see a difference. This was soooo much like what I remember from New York pizza.
Luscious gluten-free brownie dessert at Gys, Utrecht, the Netherlands
This one blew me away. I love a fudgy, chewy brownie - after all, I did write a cookbook – and this one is right up there with the best. Even better, it’s served with a berry-pomegranate sauce and vegan orange cream. So big I ate it for lunch and didn’t need dinner. So good that I am going to try to reproduce it for company, either with my Super-Reliable Take Them To Work Brownies (free recipe) or my Easy Tasty Gluten Free fudgy Dense Brownies.
Oh, and they serve great vegan food - the pulled jackfruit tostadas were fantastic. Oyster mushrooms too. I'm not vegan, and I loved it. Gys has several locations; I was in Utrecht.
Gluten-Free Belgian Waffles At The Sister Cafe in Brussels
One of my earlier summer trips was to Brussels with my sister. A bit of research before the trip located the Sister Café, serving authentic gluten-free Belgian waffles. That was lunch on our first day. So good! They offer savory as well as sweet versions. We tried one of each and both were delicious. Read more about my trip to Brussels, including more gluten-free food tips here.
Get out there and go gluten free!
Traveling gluten free does require a bit of preparation – but not as much as you might think. Travel cards in many languages are available for free online. With Google and apps or sites like Findmeglutenfree.com you can plan your safe meals before you even leave home.
I always visit the grocery store, too. There are far more gluten-free options available now than even just 10 years ago. Try something new from a local gluten-free brand. You might find a new favorite!
For more tips, check out episode 54 of Celiac Straight Talk from Beyond Celiac, or any of the travel episodes on the Celiac Project Podcast (I loved the ones on Cam’s visits to Las Vegas). These are 2 of my favorite celiac-themed podcasts. So helpful!
Autumn is a great time to travel. The summer crowds have passed, and the weather is invigorating. Don’t let your celiac status hold you back!