Surviving Gluten-Free While Traveling: Karan Smith

Just wanted to pass on this article I found in the Globe and Mail by Karan Smith on traveling gluten-free. Here goes:

Salade niçoise. Steak frites. Pistachio macaroons. There are delicious things you can eat in France, you just have to do your homework and ask a lot of questions, says Janet Dalziel, president of the Canadian Celiac Association.

Sure, you may not be able to devour the classic croque monsieur, says Dalziel, who visited Paris last year, “But look carefully and you may be able to find the traditional crêpes from Normandy that are made with pure buckwheat flour or the socca from the south of France, which is a soft, pizza-like dish made from chickpea flour.”

Visit a site such as GlutenFree to purchase books and download mobile apps for safe eating while abroad. (Its “Let’s Eat Out with Celiac/Coeliac and Food Allergies,” for instance, travels through international ingredients and menus and helps you ask pointed questions such as: Was the crème brule dusted with butter and flour?) The site also offers free dining cards, which you can hand to the garçon to explain your inability to eat wheat, rye and barley.

While you’re packing, don’t forget to stash snacks, says Shelley Case, a dietician and leading expert on celiac disease. The author of Gluten Free Dietsays she includes things such as snack bars, trail mix, raw vegetables and tuna in foil, just in case the airline forgets her gluten-free meal or her hotel doesn’t have a suitable breakfast.

Once you’re settled, it can be fun in between wandering the Louvre and soaking up the views from the Eiffel Tower to comb the grocery stores for gluten-free products. Just don’t forget to stay in holiday mode – in the land of the buttery pain au chocolate, celiac travellers need their indulgences, too.

Dalziel found hers in the rainbow-coloured macaroons, made with almond flour, at Ladurée, a Parisian bakery established in 1862. “They look like jewels and cost about as much but, psychologically, they are worth it.”

Send your family travel questions to

Karan Smith is a former editor of Globe Travel.


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