Gluten Free Guerrillas
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How do you find eating abroad?

Bizarrely enough, I find it easier to eat out in many countries than the UK.

Being milk and gluten-challenged, UK is a problem as everything is in pastry, sauces, pasta, coated in flour, etc... And cooked or smeared in butter or cheese.

Overseas, I tend to have less problems (although there are less gluten free products available).

France - easy as they tend to cook fresh and use oil, not butter

Spain - more tricky, less gluten free products available

Portugal - not too bad, cook in oil and some gluten free products available...

What do you find?

20 Replies

Hi Meanioni, sadly I agree with you. And for example in Australia and NZ they have 5ppm as gf and no codex wheat, no barley traces and no oats. So I am fine with all their gf foods.

In the US they have GIG (gluten intolerance group) and they certify eateries and thse eateries display a GIG gf symbol in their windows and these establishments have to be below 10ppm no wheat etc.

10ppm I believe is 5ppm gluten and 5ppm gliadin but I might be wrong. All I know is I can eat these foods safely whereas in the UK I'm a super sensitive coeliac and the gf tag doesn't cater for me.

And I'd love to see something like this in the UK. For obvious reasons.



Egypt is by far the worst - they really do not comprehend. Hotels tend to manage okay, but restaurants are more tricky. I managed a 2 week tour without being glutened more by luck than anything else, as the meals were buffet and I just didn't eat anything suspect. Then early this year was severly glutened in Sharm after spending 15 minutes dicussing my needs with the staff. Kenya and Senigal were fine but all food was provided by the hotels.

Spain (Canary Islands) I find fine all fresh ingredients and no problems, we usually go self catering so I take gf bread and stick it in the freezer for breakfast.

Greece is ok as long as you talk to them again most things are cooked from scratch.

Canada they understand and will usually accommodate you - difficult to find snacks other than crisps, nuts or fruit, more difficult if you are on a tour and continental breakfast is provide even though you've informed the tour company and the hotels before leaving the UK!


I lived in greece for a few years, though difficult then to find gluten free, i managed very well, with so much food being fresh from the wonderful markets, which are twice a week. it really wasnt a problem apart from pasta, my mother in law made a mean pasta dish. now i take GF with me. When i visit now she adapts mousaka to suit, and anything else, shes a brilliant now ex ma in law!!! i even have a bit of their bread and to be honest dont really suffer from the effects of it!


Sweden is brilliant when it comes to GF eating. You can buy lovely bread etc in supermarkets. In Stockholm and Gothenburg there are fantastic GF bakeries..


Have not been back to Sweden since being diagnosed but we did go to Norway last year and they were wonderful. Went into a museum cafe and not only did they have Gluten and Dairy Free Soup, they also came out with gluten free bread to go with it.

Over here - blank looks from waiting staff and cries to the chef/cook of "ere, John, does your chicken have glutens in them?"


All of Europe is easy to eat GF; France, Spain, Italy(!!), Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, maybe not so much in Belgium. Iceland was ok but incredibly expensive. India was easy, especially Southern India as they tend to eat dosa. Thailand was easy too, although I didn't eat in street markets. I was concerned that I'd have problems in Cambodia, but again, I found it easy to communicate and get what I needed.

In Morocco, it was easy to eat and communicate in Marakesh but when I got off the beaten track things got a little more difficult, but still got by.

I never go on 'hotel' holidays or all-inclusive, I'm more of a backpack girl! To be honest, I would never let coeliac/lactose intolerance dictate where I would travel. Instead, I carefully research where I'm going first.

I'm lucky enough to have done a fair bit of travelling, and the only place I've ever had a problem eating out (as in being refused to be served) was The Castle pub in Framlingham, Suffolk!!


I had a roast beef dinner presented to me at a pub in Kelso, on the plate there was 2 roast potatoes 2 slices of beef a bit of brocolli and some carrots. Needless to say i was not happy as i had informed when i booked the table that there would be one GF and they said that they cater for all diets!!!. They didnt charge me for the drinks though, but wont be going there again thats for sure!!


One restaurant I went to, they said: "gluten free? Oh that's going to be tricky!" "Why?" I asked (as this was supposed to be a posh restaurant with fresh produce"

Maitre D' couldn't answer. They then served up my meal with a sauce - I challenged them and they came back and said it had gluten in it and that "I told you it would be tricky...!!!"

Beggars belief really.


Shouldnt happen anywhere now surely!!!!


They refused to serve you??? :-O on what grounds?


They didn't change their menu for faddy awkward customers. The Ploughmans had a bread roll on it and they couldn't serve it without!!! LOL! We went elsewhere.


What???!!! Faddy/Awkward? Holy cow. What a dreadful place

Speaks volumes for their customer care!


I joined the Coeliac page on Facebook & put in a question asking for recommendations as to restaurants in various countries or chains of restaurants.

My best eating out experience was in New Orleans where the chef in 2 different restaurants came & sat at the table with us & discussed what he could make for me to eat. In Kingston on Thames there is an Italian restaurant - Bruschetta - where 3 members of the family are coeliacs so you can have gf pizza & pasta as well as risotto & all their delicious deserts are gf. It's at the bottom of Kingston Hill, within walking distance of the shopping centre & well worth a visit.


Hong Kong very helpful, larger restaurants a chef sometimes comes out to chat first and in the smaller ones when language might be a barrier i use my phone app which converts into most languages to explain what coeliac actually means.


I live in Greece so there is a problem with getting hold of gluten free flour etc, I have mine brought from the UK so I can make my own gf bread in my breadmaker. when I go out I warn them not to bring me bread as is standard practise and I order from the grill menu. Lots of traditional things are gluten free anyway so its easy enough to eat out safely. I haven't travelled since I found I was Celiac so have that fun to come yet. I was wheat free when I went to Italy and it was very difficult to find gluten free where I stayed. I lived on ice cream, cappuchino, salad and steak lol


I downloaded an app for my iphone which translates what coeliac is in other languages. It's brilliant!! x


we went to Italy for 3 weeks and it was fantastic for GF. 99% of restaurants not only understood what GF was but had an indepth understanding of all GF containing things. All restaurants also kept GF-pasta in stock as an alternative.


Whereabouts did you go? I went to Naples and, like you found them great. But Tuscany was a bit more tricky


I'm surprised you said Spain. The supermarkets have a much larger selection of specialist gf foods (and lactose free). I've never seen so many different gf breads and flours in one place. If you find an El Cortes Ingles hypermarket they will have everything you could need, but even ordinary supermarkets basic products are well labelled with gluten free status. They even had a selection of lactose free milk! Unbelievable having a choice, and it tasted better than the one I get here.


I live in France and found it very difficult in the beginning. However there has been a big change in the last 6 months. The supermarkets have all brought out their own range of GF products but not all of the shops stock them. There are specialised shops too. As for the restaurants, it depends. I work with apprentice cooks and have to visit many of the restaurants and make sure I drop it in about GF - educate wherever possible! The higher range restaurants all cope with gluten free dairy free however the cheaper ones buy in alot of stuff so can't.

Italy is OK although had diificulty finding foods when I went but then thats because they have so many coeliacs I guess.


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