Is The Gluten Free Grass Always Greener ?

When I take a trip to another country I always get excited about what gluten free delights I might discover and often see posts on social media about how other countries are so much better with the whole gluten free thing than we are in Ireland but are they?.  I think part of it is we're away from our day to day routine,  cooking the same things, shopping in the same places, we're more relaxed and looking for adventure, ready to try new things so can that make it all seem more exciting than it is at home?.  When I speak with customers from other places they think Ireland is amazing in terms of it's gluten free offering which possibly strengthens my argument about being away from home and seeing things with a fresh eyes.

Other countries are better with labels and using the appropriate GF Certified symbol in the US or Cross Grain symbol in Europe.  The larger supermarkets here really need to up their game in that area,  they have the volume and scale to do it so that's a big area of improvement (like seriously guys just get your s*** together).  I still often face similar battles in restaurants and have been gluttoned in countries that supposedly have a better reputation so it's hard to escape that.

On a recent trip to LA I'd the good fortune to visit some really cool places and if you're travelling there be sure to check out this great blog about eateries to visit my sis found  I was diagnosed Coeliac while living in the US so knew what symbols to look out for which made it easier.  If you're going there for the first time then look out for the GF in a circle symbol that means it's not only a gluten free product but produced in a safe environment.  You will find other products that say 'gluten free' but don't have the symbol...if you're Coeliac they are to be avoided.   Oats are big in the US,  a lot of products contain oats so be on alert for that.  I did find plenty of good gluten and oat free cereals in the supermarkets especially at Erewhonmarket stores,  they are upmarket and more pricey however have a great range of products.

What I found tricky at times was ordering in main stream restaurants that are not dedicated.  When you ask for GF and even if things are marked GF you still have to check them out fully as mostly not Coeliac same issue we face at home.  You really have to ask and say upfront you are a Coeliac as if you ask 'is this GF ?' and leave it in that you could be in a spot of bother.

Some of my fave places were; Erin McKennas Bakery where I picked up fab donuts and eclairs plus her cookbook (yep did it again and bought another darn cookbook !).  She also has outlets in NYC and Orlando.  Another highlight was Shojin which is a Gluten Free and Vegan Japanese style restaurant.  I used to live in Asia so to be able to tuck into some dumplings and copious amounts of rolls was heavenly plus a few gluten free beers to wash it all down. And I loved this place Tocaya much so I went back twice and each time opted for the GF quesidilla which was totally delicious.

So in a nutshell the Gluten Free Grass can be greener but you still have to as always stay safe,  ask all the right questions and air on the side of caution.

Back next week for a 'What to get my Gluten Free Valentine special' :)


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