Allergies / Dietary Restrictions
Eating in Europe is sightseeing for your tastebuds. Deciphering the menu is half the fun! But some travelers have special needs when it comes to food: vegan, diabetic, low-salt, gluten-sensitive, lactose-intolerant, nut and other allergies, etc. Any tips for those with special diet concerns in Europe?
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Gluten free pasta in Bruges
I ate at Carlito's in Bruges. They say on the menu that they have gluten-free pasta. They were out of it, but they do carry it, and if more people ask, they'll keep carrying it! I doubt that you are safe if you absolutely can't have any gluten, but if you are just avoiding it, this could be a good place.
San Francisco, CA USA 11/21/2012
Berlin is very vegan friendly!
Berlin is very vegan-friendly! There are maybe 17 all-vegan places, and 25 all-vegetarian ones. Happycow.net is a good source for listings, but some of the info like hours aren't always up-to-date. Most of the restuarants tend to be clustered in the former Eastern side of Berlin (like Prenzlauerburg and Friedrichshain), but that's where all the hip and hidden places tend to be anyway.
There is an all-vegan grocery store in Prenzlauerburg near the Schoenhauser Allee S+U-Bahn stop. And there are numerous "bio-markts" that feature organic produce and sundries, many of them carrying things like soy yogurt and vegan sausages.
The version of vegan German brats and wursts is surprising, with all sizes and "regional" distinctions, and some of the best vegan cheese I've ever had was German-made!
I had absolutely no trouble as a vegan in Berlin; after talking with the owner of the all-vegan shoe store (next to the vegan grocery store), he said that it all took off in the past 10 years. Before then, there was nothing really to speak of, but Germany as a whole has started to eat healthier diets and are more concerned about what they eat.
So with the number of vegan/vegetarian restuarants available, we didn't even bother going into any omnivore places to eat, but I suspect that given that most people in Berlin know enough English, and that it is such a metropolitan city, asking for vegan options isn't much of a hurdle.
Seattle, WA USA 11/14/2012
My sister has celiac disease and she was so pleased in Scotland and Ireland to find that all the restaurants and B & B's were very cooperative and helpful in providing gluten-free meals for her. She said it was easier for her there than in the U.S.
Newport, OR USA 07/26/2012
Travel buddies and allergies in Ireland
Always bring your own food and meds with you when traveling throughout Europe! We were in Ireland without our allergy medication and were in lots of trouble. Went with a great group tho and perfect because we wanted to meet fellow travelers: http://www.photoflytravel.com/
Stockton, CA USA 06/07/2012
Gluten Free in Italy
Believe it or not, being Gluten-free in Italy, the pasta capital of the world, is POSSIBLE. I went on a 10 day tour of Venice, Florence and Rome and my tour guide worked it out so I could be gluten-free for every group meal, and he did so happily. The restaurants were all happy to help and accommodate me! Even when I was out with my husband for meals without the group, I just said "Senza Glutine" and they understood. No problema!
Mill Creek, WA USA 11/11/2011
gluten free in italy
italy for celiac disease travelers is difficult if you don't enjoy many foods. risotto works, but you have to enjoy shellfish or veggies. potatoes aren't a hot item here unless it's gnocchi - and that, sadly, does have some gluten (flour) in it.
scalea, italy 10/28/2011
Traveling to Italy with Food Allergies
My 5 year old son is allergic to peanuts/nuts, dairy/eggs/cheese and shellfish. When I went to Italy, besides explaining this all to my close native Italian friend who speaks fluent English, I had 3 sheets of paper each containing his 3 allergy topics on them. On each sheet, in Italian, on the top, I had written "Allergies - Cannot Eat - Danger!" Then I put a red crossed out circle. I glued pictures of "danger" foods with its corresponding Italian words next to it and put an X on the food picture. I used some common Italian dishes/desserts that would contain his allergans but that might not be apparent (ie marscarpone (sp)). I researched (on the Internet) regional dishes and the ingredients before I left and printed out some of those photos and names. That way I was also familiar myself of what I may encounter over there, including candies and treats that many well-meaning adults (outside of restuarants) may try to give my son that would contain nuts and other allergans. I made copies of the sheets of papers and always kept one set with son and me so I could always show anyone, even if my Italian friend was not around.
Northern, VA USA 09/29/2011
Traveling in Europe with kids with food allergies
Hi, just a quick note to share our experiences in traveling to Paris and Monaco with kids with severe food allergies. We recently spent 10 days in Paris and Monaco with our whole family. We have 2 daughters with severe food allergies. They both have life threatening allergies to peanuts, and severe allergies to eggs and shellfish. We had a friend who was fluid in french translate a detailed statement (Much more effective than the free on line translator) that I printed out and cut in to strips. Each restaurant we went into we would hand the strip to the waiter and would converse in English if we could. All but one place went out of their way to ensure that my daughter's food allergies were well addressed and gave us comfort in eating safely in their establishments. We did learn that most french fries and many other things are cooked in peanut oil in France. So we avoided fries that were not prepared at McDonalds. I also alerted several restaurants in advance on line regarding the allergies. We also went to the markets several times and picked things we knew were safe for picnics. The bottom line is through a little preparation and diligence to the matter, we had a great safe adventure.
Danville, Ca USA 07/28/2011
Eating safely when traveling abroad
Before I travel abroad, I find a native speaker of the language spoken in my destination and have them translate my list of food allergies and a statement saying that I need kitchens to be careful about cross-contamination. I print them out on business card sized slips of paper, and bring many copies with me everywhere. Then, when I go to restaurants, I can just hand over the slip for them to keep, and I have plenty of extras.
Cambridge, MA USA 07/18/2011
Allergy friendly Hotels - At LAST!!
www.allergyfriendlyhotels.com - a worldwide directory of accommodation that caters for allergies including asthma, dustmites, chemical, pets and food allergies. If any allergy sufferers know of great places to stay please share this info so they can be listed on our site. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dietary Restrictions and Eating Healthy While Abroad
I found this website for travelers with food restrictions, whether it's for allergies, autism or other food preferences/necessities such as health food. It reviews difficulties you might encounter in various countries and how to work around it. It's at http://nourishingjourneys.com
Mt. Olive, NJ USA 10/02/2010
I would NEVER trust old sushi with raw fish!!! The only sushi I would trust to eat after it's been sitting around, are the strictly vegan variety. You should be OK with cucumber roll, daikon roll (pickled radish), inari rolls (fried tofu skins). I would stay away from any of the raw ones; and actually, I would even stay away from the tamago sushi (grilled egg) and California rolls (even though the crab meat is cooked [or often just imitation "krab"] because of the mayonnaise.
Dublin, CA USA 08/31/2010
Go to triumphdining.com to order great little laminated cards that explain gluten-free needs in English on one side, and in the local language on the other side. I used them two years ago in Spain and France, and ate very well! Just hand it to your server or chef! I have found Europe to be easier than the U.S. for GF restaurant dining. Perhaps because they pretty much know what is or isn't in their food, and the food they cook with doesn't arrive from a central area, packaged and/ or frozen.
Albuquerque, NM USA 06/04/2010
Food Allergies/Great Food
Was just in Thira, Santorini, Greece. My travel companion has multiple food allergies and I am vegetarian. A local shopkeeper recommended "Kapari," which means capers in Greek. She said it was where locals eat. It's located outside the tourist area, on a busy main street. Ask, residents are friendly & will give you directions. The food was fabulous (!!), the owners are charming and very accommodating. Highly recommended.
Nevada City, CA USA 05/30/2010
Being extremely sensitive to gluten I had resigned myself to mainly fruits and vegetables from the markets, but my daughter found a small family ristorante at Piazza Risorgimento,46, called La Soffitta. Wonderful, lovely people more than happy to help and make recommendations. A high point of our stay in Rome. The gluten free tortellini is to die for.
Reno, NV USA 05/08/2010
While taking a late evening charter plane from Sri Lanka to Japan, the mid-flight snack happened to be left over sushi from earlier that morning. It was room temperature at best due to lack of refrigeration and heavy cellophane wrapping. After several pieces of raw salmon and tuna topped with warm avocado, my stomach was rolling in waves. I was not certain if it was the sushi for sure since it may have been the sauerkraut stuffed long dog I had earlier in the day. Either way or either meal, I decided to blame the flight attendant since she could have at least unwrapped the sushi to let it get some fresh air before serving.
New Jersey, USA 04/06/2010
I found a website that gives people with food allergies the possibility to print out a "FREE" Food-Info Allergy Dictionary translation. It works with most major languages. http://www.food-info.net/allergy.htm#de
Algarve, POR 01/25/2010