Singapore’s culinary scene is a melting pot of Asian influences that results in unique flavors and interesting dishes sure to satisfy even the most jaded of palates. And while most tourists may think that going gluten-free in the country may be a challenge, it’s refreshing to see that interest in having a gluten-free lifestyle has increased by a whopping 900 percent in the last decade. Moreover, a growing number of Singapore dining establishments have begun offering gluten-free options and are proving that healthy food can taste so good. If you’re going on a vacation in Singapore, check out these restaurants for the best gluten-free food that will keep you coming back for more.
The Butcher’s Wife – 19 Yong Siak Street
Restaurants in Singapore are known for their diversity and ever-expanding range. This is why it’s common to see hot pot places alongside Italian or Korean restaurants, and it’s perfectly acceptable to have a street food market or hawker stands in front of swanky food joints. The variety of food choices means that every craving is satisfied, and if what you’re craving for is comfort food, then head to The Butcher’s Wife on Yong Siak Street.
This cozy bistro serves up comfort food influenced by Asian and Italian cuisine, and everything on their menu is gluten-free. For starters, try their goat cheese with honey and walnut bread, then for your main course, get The Husband’s Favorite Beef Burger which is served with bacon jam, provolone cheese, and sriracha mayo. End your meal with a sweet treat and order the Lemongrass Pannacotta or the Warm Chocolate Cake, which is served with a rich caramel-miso ice cream and sprinkled with pili nuts.
Kitchen – 28 Stanley Street
This cafe advocates clean eating and it caters to vegans, vegetarians, and those with food intolerances. Kitchen has menus for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, as well as an organic wine list for those who want to indulge a little while feasting on their offerings. Try going on a Saturday morning for their weekend brunch and enjoy their gluten-free options, such as the Rendang Egg Benedict and Bolognese Sweet Potato Fries.
For lunch, there’s Beef Bolognese made with zucchini noodles, Sustainable Barramundi with Asian Sesame Greens, and the Rebel Pie, which is Aussie Beef Bolognese topped with a sweet potato mash. Pair your food with a glass or two of organic or biodynamic wines, and you can take your pick from a white, red, or a gorgeous rose from their selection.
Summer Palace – Regent Singapore, Cuscaden Road
Finding a Cantonese restaurant that serves gluten-free food can be a challenge, as most authentic Cantonese dishes contain soy sauce, which is made from soy and wheat. But those who are gluten intolerant will be happy to know that Summer Palace, a restaurant situated inside the Regent Singapore, has a special gluten-free menu. Try the Garlic Fried Chicken with Plum Sauce, or their Fried Beef Cubes with Lily Bulbs and Asparagus. Another must-try is their Brown Fried Rice with Wolfberries and Pine Nuts, and this dish pairs well with their meat or fish dishes.
Singapore is a country that promotes an inclusive eating experience. Check out these restaurants on your next trip and enjoy feasting on delicious, gluten-free meals in the Lion City.
If you haven’t heard, James Howe, a 39-year-old man with celiac, was given only snacks to get him through 10+ hours on a flight from Mexico to his home in England following his honeymoon. Howe had ordered a full meal long before the flight. He had a lot to say about the incident on his Facebook page.
“Fabulous way to end our honeymoon,” he said in a lengthy post that called out the airline.
We asked for your experiences. And you answered with errors, meals of nothing but lettuce and one reader reported receiving a banana wrapped in plastic. You also shared some positive experiences. Read on for more.
Here’s what else readers are saying:
Jayne Burcombe-King: “I ordered a GF meal. Then when it came to it they didn’t have one for me. So they had to scramble around and take a GF off a passenger who fell asleep.”
Cindy Quadrini: “Happened to me from London to Washington DC. Ordered and confirmed it……”no record of it”. So glad I carry GF snacks with me. Told them I’d just have a ginger ale…..”Sorry, we just handed out the last one”. Not a good flight!”
Sky Vad: “A few months ago, I flew to Mexico by Iberia and despite that I’d selected gluten-free food accordingly with their very strict rules, when I took the flight they gave me VEGETARIAN food by “error” and the assistant told me “what’s the problem? Vegetarian and gluten-free are very similar”… I always take food with me, but is not fair to be 11 hours eating two fruits and some almonds… 😖”
Ulla-Britt Vitus Cowan: “I was served once with an unpeeled Banana wrapped in cling wrap labeled GF.”
Claire Barnes: “Went all the way to Australia and most of the way back on watermelon after my husband spent 45 mins on the phone ordering gf/ veggie meals.”
Carol Mohan: “Even when they do have them, they are often inedible. Try to cover vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free in one meal – result cardboard. I usually bring food on longer flights.”
Patricia Bercovich: “Oh yes. Flying from the U.K. to California. Then I ate the fruit salad they scrounged up for me and was severely glutened. I now always bring enough for the flight plus one day, in case of delays.”
Becky Culbertson: “Multiple times in my life. My favorite gluten-free meal on an airline was lettuce (just lettuce, no other veggies and no dressing…. not one drop) it was icky.”
And it’s not just airlines!
Pattie White: “Lol. No. I can’t afford a ten hour flight, but I did spend many nights sitting overnight w hospitalized loved ones without having had anything to eat since lunchtime. Hospitals are not Celiac friendly.”
Carla Rishton: “It wasn’t an airline but I paid for 1st class via a train service and was given popcorn as that was the only gluten-free items available.”
Nonetheless, we did find a few happy endings:
Heather Kramer Mallinger: “Flew quite a bit for work several years ago to Europe, and Delta always had something for me. I did preselect that I was gluten-free. Not to say airlines cant make mistakes, but had great experiences on Delta. I always took extra snacks just in case, and the food wasn’t always the best, but I was happy to get a meal on the long flights.”
Patti Hanisch Townsend: “Air Serbia was amazing, GF meals and snacks both ways.”
Jeanne Leadley: “My personal favorite is when Air France forgot my GF meal. They gave me free champagne and cognac. Who needs food. 😜”
Taking all this into consideration, always bulk up on your favorite GF food before traveling! Airlines do not always follow through on their ability to provide meals for celiacs or restricted diets
New vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options are on the way for United Airlines passengers in 2020 after the company announced an overhaul of its in-flight menu.
The announcement arrived on Oct. 25 during the company’s Flight Plan 2020 event held in Chicago. Amid news that larger planes, the addition of sixty-plus planes to the fleet and technology upgrades were on the way, officials noted that new menu items will be rolled out with health-minded flyers in mind.
United Airlines first introduced gluten-free offerings in 2014. Officials said by focusing on plant-based menu items the carrier is keeping up with the latest food trends. Some of the new menu items set to take flight next year include a vegan stuffed grape leaf with yogurt, red beet hummus with roasted vegetables, and roasted curry cauliflower.
Those with special dietary needs may choose a gluten-free or vegan meal up to 24 hours before takeoff by using the carrier’s mobile application or via the company’s website, United.com. The company has not yet announced when in 2020 the new options will be available.
According to United Airlines, special meals are available on select routes when breakfast, lunch, or dinner is set to be served. If special meals are available they may be chosen during booking. Generally, special meals are available on most North American premium cabin flights that are more than 2,000 miles in length.
The carrier says special meals are available on all international flights crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The meals are also available on South American flights to and from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru.
When United first announced the gluten-free offerings the carrier noted it updated what’s available on itsChoice MenuClassic, Savory and Tapas Snack Shop snackboxes. Snack Shop options may be purchased in United Economy on most North andCentral Americaflights scheduled for more than two hours and flights to and from northernSouth America. Also, United offers fruit and nut bars as a gluten-free Snack Shop à la carte option.
Curators of luxury travel experiences to Asia for more than 47 years, Pacific Delight Tours will debut a tour of India’s alluring gardens and palaces for travelers requiring a gluten-free diet, including people with celiac as well as those who maintain this diet as a healthy lifestyle choice. Departing Sept. 21, 2018, this tour features 12 days exploring Old and New Delhi, architecturally significant Chandigarh in India’s Punjab region, the “Pink City” of Jaipur in the heart of the Rajasthan desert, and culturally rich Agra, home to the world renowned Taj Mahal.
Guests will enjoy FiveStarPlus® accommodations at the luxurious hotels, resorts and spas of the Oberoi Group properties throughout India.
Tour participants will immerse themselves in the destination’s authentic culture, beginning with an express train to Chandigarh to explore the fabulous gardens and architectural landmarks designed by the famed architect Le Corbusier. A gluten-free cooking class at Oberoi Sukhvilas Hotel affords an opportunity for guests to refine their culinary skills. The picturesque setting is ideal for enjoying the hotel’s glamorous spa, including India’s famed Aryuvedic treatments (optional) and other idyllic pastimes.
In Jaipur, touring the Palace of Winds, walking through an ancient astronomic observatory designed by a child prince and meeting with a Rajasthani royal for high tea are among the highlights. Soft trek through an exotic bird sanctuary in Bharatpur and visit the deserted palaces of the “Ghost City” of Fatehpur Sikri before arriving in Agra, where participants will explore the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.
Throughout the journey, visitors will be enthralled by the succulent flavors of Indian cuisine, which utilizes cream, yogurt or chickpea-based gram flour to thicken sauces in lieu of wheat flour, in addition to delectable Indian breads prepared from lentils—all strictly gluten-free under the guidance and supervision of India’s leading celiac support group.
The tour is priced at $5,880 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes: roundtrip economy group airfare from New York’s JFK via Emirates; local intra-India flights; deluxe accommodations; sightseeing by air-conditioned coach with knowledgeable English-speaking guides; all meals gluten-free; the services of a gluten-free dietician throughout India; taxes and service charges. Passport and visa fees are not included.
A business class upgrade is available from $4,700 per person, while travelers who wish to arrange their own flights may join the tour in India; the land-only price is $4,900 per person, double occupancy.
“We are actively working to accommodate the growing demand in the gluten-free market and to apply our 15 years’ expertise in gluten-free travel to our portfolio of experiences,” said Charmaine Lau, manager of Pacific Delight Tours.
Consult your travel agent orcontact Pacific Delight Tours at 800-221-7179 for more information. Visit Pacific Delight Tours at www.PacificDelightTours.com.
Pacific Delight Tours
For 47 years, Pacific Delight Tours has been America’s leading tour operator to China and Asia. Among numerous industry awards, the luxury tour operator is a proud recipient of the TravelAge West WAVE Award from 2008–2016, the 2009 Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Award and the 2016 Travvy Award from travAlliancemedia for Best Vacation Packager – Pacific Asia. The company is also a proud member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA).
Pacific Delight remains dedicated to providing unparalleled vacation experiences for discerning travelers. Its longstanding reputation within the travel agent community is a testament to its unrivaled quality assurance, extensive expertise and top-notch customer service.
Pacific Delight Tours (www.PacificDelightTours.com) knew it was tapping into a rapidly growing market with significant pent-up demand when the leading operator launched a new gluten-free tour series earlier this year. Executives at Pacific Delight did not anticipate how quickly the company’s May 2017 China tour would sell out and are now working to add additional capacity, beginning with a Gluten-Free China & Yangtze River departure on Oct. 7, 2017. Pacific Delight will also debut a Gluten-Free Italy program on Oct. 15, 2017—featuring a deluxe river cruise on the picturesque Po River in cooperation with Europe’s river cruise leader, Uniworld—and will return to India’s Golden Circle with a departure on Dec. 5, 2017.
Pacific Delight’s Oct. 7 China & Yangtze River departure—escorted by gluten-free food and China travel guru Bernadette Sheridan—will feature unique sightseeing and activities such as a gluten-free Chinese cooking class at the Linden Centre in Dali, winner of the 2016 TripAdvisor Reader’s Choice Award. The tour will incorporate a luxury river sailing aboard Victoria Cruises’ five-star Victoria Jenna in addition to fascinating experiences in Beijing, Xi’an, Chongqing and Shanghai. Luxurious hotels of the Shangri-La Group will be featured for the program. The departure is priced at $6,995 per person, based on double occupancy, incl. all taxes and gratuities, and includes round-trip airfare from NYC via Cathay Pacific Airways.
The Oct. 15 departure for Pacific Delight’s new gluten-free Italy features Uniworld’s recently remodeled, 130-passenger River Countess for a deluxe river cruise along Italy’s Po River, visiting Padua, Bologna, Murano Island and three days in Venice. Guests enjoy sumptuous gluten-free dining on board prepared by Uniworld’s award-winning culinary team. Guests will also receive unlimited beverages, all gratuities, complimentary Wi-Fi, on-board entertainment and lectures, shore excursions and airport transfers on sailing days. The single supplement will be waived for a limited number of cabins, and all passengers will receive a $100 shipboard credit. Past Uniworld travelers will also enjoy additional savings. For reservations received by April 30th, Pacific Delight is also offering an extended introductory discount of $400 per person. The program will be led by respected dietitian Pam Cureton, RDN, of the Center for Celiac Research (CFCR) at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Italy rates start at $3,749 per person, based on double occupancy (reduced to $3,349 per person when booked by April 30th), and vary based on stateroom category selected. The tour cost includes a tax-deductible donation to CFCR. International airfare is not included.
Pacific Delight is also accepting bookings for its second gluten-free tour of India’s Golden Circle, visiting cosmopolitan Mumbai, romantic Jaipur, the exotic tiger reserve in Ranthambore, colorful New Delhi and must-see Agra—home of the Taj Mahal and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Deluxe hotels and resorts of the Oberoi Group will be feature in the program, which will be escorted by Dr. Simran Saini (pictured right), chief dietitian of India’s foremost celiac support organization. She is a registered nutritional therapist in Ireland and England, and affiliated with India’s Fortis Group of Hospitals. The tour is priced at $5,788 per person, double occupancy, and includes local intra-India flights, sightseeing by air-conditioned coach and 4×4 vehicles for game drives, and all taxes and gratuities. International airfare is not included.
“We are excited to introduce a world of gluten-free travel opportunities and are actively working to accommodate the growing demand for gluten-free experiences,” said Charmaine Lau, operations manager of Pacific Delight Tours.
Consult your travel agent or contact Pacific Delight Tours at 800-221-7179 for more information. Visit Pacific Delight Tours at www.PacificDelightTours.com.
Pacific Delight Tours
For 46 years, Pacific Delight Tours has been America’s leading tour operator to China and Asia. Among numerous industry awards, the luxury tour operator is a proud winner of the TravelAge West WAVE Award from 2008–2016, the 2009 Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Award, and the Travvy Award from travAlliancemedia for Best Vacation Packager, Asia for 2016 and 2017. The company is also a proud member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA).
Pacific Delight remains dedicated to providing unparalleled luxury vacation experiences for its discerning clientele. Its long-standing reputation within the travel agent community is a testament to its unrivaled quality assurance, extensive expertise and top-notch customer service.
Much like the gluten-free diet itself, finding the top gluten-free travel destinations requires research and planning. Thankfully, gluten-free travel has become “trendy,” just like the gluten-free diet, creating an opportunity for companies such as TravelSupermarket.com to help do the research for you.
TravelSupermarket.com pulled restaurant reviews from 250 cities around the world to create a list of the top 10 destinations based on their gluten-free dining offerings. It began by compiling restaurant and bakery reviews by city from TripAdvisor, using the dietary restrictions filter to find only the gluten-free options. It arrived at the top cities by looking at the total number of reviews, percentage of reviews rated four or five stars, and the average rating to create the rankings.
Where to go in the U.S.
Chicago comes in as the top U.S. city with a whopping 240 establishments, followed by Portland, Oregon (181); Denver, Colorado (150); Maui (132); and San Francisco (138).
Unfortunately, the list doesn’t mention the names of the establishments for each city or how they were compiled. (I only found out by contacting TravelSupermarket.com directly.) Since it only used one travel site for research, any reviews from other sites were left out. Their findings, while intriguing, aren’t as helpful or useful as they could have been with a larger set of data. We appreciate the effort, but the site left out several U.S. cities that are “must-visit” destinations.
Some of our favorite cities for gluten-free travel include Boulder, Colorado; Las Vegas; Austin, Texas; New York City; and Asheville, North Carolina. These destinations are known in the gluten-free community for accommodating those following a gluten-free diet, as well as other allergens.
In addition to the five U.S. cities determined by TravelSupermarket.com, the top 10 gluten-free travel destinations included Prague in the Czech Republic, with 102 establishments for those following a gluten-free diet; Auckland, New Zealand (180); Amsterdam in the Netherlands (210); Barcelona, Spain (270); and Dublin, Ireland, with 330 gluten-free-friendly locations.
When it comes down to having a successful trip, research and planning are the keys, but they don’t have to be as time consuming as they once were. Start by searching for local support groups and bloggers in the area and tap into their resources when looking for safe places to eat and shop. The hotel or bread and breakfast in which you are staying is another great resource. Let your fingers do the walking and use apps from Find Me Gluten Free, Gluten-Free World or Gluten Free Passport to read reviews on cuisine and service.
The top travel destinations in the U.S. are, in the end, subjective and what you make of the experience. With some planning and research, you can enjoy a stress-free, yummy vacation.
App enables gluten-free eaters all over the world to share their favorite spots
Whether in your hometown or traveling abroad, the Gluten-Free World app aims to help you find pubs, restaurants, bakeries, cafes and even stores so you can relax and enjoy yourself instead of wasting time researching. The app provides not only the name but also hours and directions to each spot.
In the beginning, there was beer…
It all started when two blokes in London—one of whom with gluten intolerance—found themselves struggling to find a place to kick back with a gluten-free beer after work. Finding the process of researching pubs and bars highly inefficient, they developed the app London Gluten Free, which listed pubs in London where they had found gluten-free beers. As the app gained traction and positive feedback from users, the blokes thought, “Why limit this to London? Why limit it to beers?” Those two simple questions led them to develop and launch Gluten-Free World in August 2015.
Now covering more than 200 cities in 55 countries, the app grows daily as its expanding user base (currently more than 1,000 people worldwide) shares their favorite places for a good beer, meal with friends or quick cup of coffee—and all gluten free. Based on a crowd-sourcing model, anyone can add a gluten-free spot to the map.
Ever-expanding Gluten-Free World
In addition to its users, Gluten-Free World has a team of researchers working to fill the map in areas where the app does not yet have any entries. And anyone can directly contact them about adding coverage for an area. For example, a user whose hometown does not yet have any entries or even someone with upcoming travel plans to an uncovered locale can email the team, who can then research the area and add appropriate places to the map.
The tremendously interactive relationship between the Gluten-Free World team and the app’s community of users works both ways, too. Followers of the Gluten-Free World Instagram account
are asked for their opinions on proposed new features before any resources are dedicated to development. The team also asks for and welcomes feedback about user experience, including bugs, and missing features that would make the app more helpful.
This collaborative effort led to the app’s September 2016 update, which improved search by allowing users to find a destination by business name, city or keyword. Future updates will add reviews and ratings as well as indicators to distinguish between celiac-friendly establishments and those that simply offer gluten-free items—a direct result of feedback from users with celiac disease who raised concerns about cross-contamination.
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Long before many of the athletes had even qualified to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games, Lindsey Schnitt knew she was Rio bound. In fact, when Schnitt interviewed to be a coordinator in the events department at NBCUniversal, she found out the position would mean a chance to be part of the Olympic experience. “When I interviewed for my job about a year and a half ago, I remember my future boss asking me, ‘Are you ready to go to Rio?’ I remember smiling and being so excited because that would be an opportunity of a lifetime in the work world,” she said.
Schnitt, who has celiac disease, approached traveling to Rio the way she does all her trips—by doing her due diligence. Having already studied abroad and being comfortable traveling with celiac disease, she knew what to do. After consulting with her gastroenterologist, Dr. Peter Green of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, about what to look out for in Brazil, she began to prepare for the trip. She researched the gluten-free offerings in Rio, printed translation cards stating that she is gluten-free and packed plenty of gluten-free food for her month-long stay, which would begin before the games began and continue through the duration. “I couldn’t live without my chocolate chip cookie dough LÄRABAR. I brought five boxes with me,” Schnitt says. She also packed small protein balls, pretzels, popcorn, packets of Nutella and other items that she could eat on the go.
Schnitt worked on the NBCUniversal hospitality program in Rio. Her days were spent overseeing daily trips provided for clients to Rio’s famous sites—Samba City, for a behind-the-scenes look at Rio’s Samba Schools involved in the annual Carnival celebration, and Sugarloaf Mountain, where visitors can ascend a mountain peak that provides magnificent views of Rio. Schnitt worked the tours and joined clients for the lunches that followed. During her month in Rio, Schnitt worked long days between tours and meetings. But her time in Rio was not all work, as she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic culture and attend some of the events.
After returning from Rio, Schnitt shared what an average day was like during the 2016 games.
What time did you wake up? I would wake up around 5:45 a.m. and just kind of spent some time in my room reading the news, and then by 6:45–7:00 a.m., I would leave for the office.
What was for breakfast? For breakfast, if I had time, I would eat at the hotel. I would have an omelet with peppers, onions and tomatoes and then I would have delicious fruit. I never really was a mango eater and I was obsessed with mango there. I became very friendly with the woman who made the omelets—she’s a
What was an average day like for you? I was at the office by 7:30 a.m. at the latest. I was usually in before that doing some research. I would leave for my tour at 8:45 or 9:00 a.m. It could be 10 people or it could be 58 people. I would be in charge of getting them from point A to point B and telling them exactly what our meetings times were and explaining the day to them.
What was for lunch? For lunch, because I was working the tours I would join the guests at a restaurant. We had translators with us and I would say the translators were key. I felt is that there are a ton of gluten-free options like you wouldn’t believe, but it’s the language barrier for cross-contamination that becomes the tricky part. It did take a little learning, a little help with the language, but eventually they got it and made me what I wanted. And what I also think is really cool about the Brazilian culture: Everything there is labeled ‘Não contém glúten’ if it doesn’t contain it.
I think that was my favorite part about any time I would have something that was in a bag or a can or bottle it had proper labeling. The olive oil was labeled gluten free. The balsamic vinegar. Those things that sometimes can be so tricky. You could Google it a hundred times, but the answer was just there for you.
Did you try any of the gluten-free products you found? I tried the gluten-free cheese bread, which we had at our hotel, and I’m not really a cheese eater, but I lived on that. There’s nothing out of the ordinary that I tried that I was surprised to see.
What was for dinner? Dinner we had at the hotel most of the time and it was a buffet. They had labels for what was gluten free and what wasn’t.
Did you have the chance to attend any of the sporting events? Yes, I was fortunate enough to go to Opening Ceremony. I also went to beach volleyball two times, including the bronze match for the women, which was really something very special. I saw Michael Phelps’ swim his last race, and my favorite part about that was we were on TV during the gold medal ceremony waving the American flag. It was a very special moment in history. I also went to the men’s basketball gold medal match. It’s different because you’re still working so if anything pops up, you’re hopping out of your chair.
What was your favorite part of the day? My favorite part was being with the clients and seeing them have a good time. At the end of the day, when everyone got off the bus with a smile on their face, I knew we’d done well that day.
What did you take away from the experience in Rio? There’s so much that I took away from it. I took away the fact that, number one, it’s amazing, as cliché as it sounds, to see the world come together. I was on the phone with my boss the other day and I said to her, ‘I just want to let you know that I know this is work, but really as a young kid, I thought having a career like this wouldn’t be attainable, not because I’m not hardworking, but you just kind of think of the world, and these things just seem so far out of reach—even if you reach for the stars.’ It was really special. I just don’t take these opportunities for granted.
I like that I was also a go-to person for guests with food allergies. Since I understand the severity of allergies I was able to ensure an enjoyable dining experience.
Has this experience in Rio changed your thoughts on traveling with celiac disease? I’ve never wanted to be held back by celiac because it’s not my choice to have it. I think that this allowed me to see once again that anything is possible anywhere. Of course, certain things are difficult and there are little bumps you have to get over, but I would say it just reminded to never say no to an opportunity based on the food. I could live out of a suitcase, honestly.
For gluten-free travelers, a vacation that doesn’t require extensive research to find accommodating restaurants at their destination may sound like a dream. But a growing number of all-inclusive resorts are making it a reality by catering to gluten-free guests.
At all-inclusive resorts, visitors pay one price for unlimited food, drinks and activities, without having to set foot outside the retreat.
The most familiar names among these resorts are family-friendly Beaches, with locations in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos, and couples-only Sandals in St. Lucia, Antigua and four other Caribbean islands. Each resort has more than half-a-dozen themed restaurants, which offer meals ranging from Southwestern tapas to pan-Asian cuisine.
Paul Bauer, group manager for food and beverage standards at Sandals Resorts International, the parent company of Beaches and Sandals, says virtually any dish can be made gluten free, including breads, pizzas, pastas and desserts. He notes that the menus at each resort’s restaurant have icons indicating which items are gluten free, and service staff members are trained to ask guests if they have any food allergies or special dietary requirements before taking orders.
Beyond that, Beaches and Sandals resorts offer culinary concierges, with whom guests may meet in a private, one-to-one consultation to discuss any food allergies or dietary concerns.
“They can peruse all restaurant menus and choose specific dishes to make allergen free as well as make special arrangements for the next day or entire length of stay,” Bauer says. “Those needs and preferences are communicated to managers and sous chefs directly to ensure that no information is missed.” He also points out that separate preparation areas and utensils are used to prevent cross-contact with gluten-containing ingredients.
With notice in advance of a guest’s stay, the resorts can also order specific items such as gluten-free beer, which is not readily available in the Caribbean.
Mexico’s all-inclusive Grand Velas Resorts also offer menus with gluten-free options. Seven restaurants at Grand Velas Riviera Maya serve gluten-free dishes, each marked on the restaurants’ regular menus, while all gourmet restaurants at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit have gluten-free icons that guests can identify while dining.
Both resorts have several AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurants on site. For guests who choose to order room service, the resorts’ chefs can make the necessary accommodations for gluten-free diets.
At Grand Velas Riviera Maya gluten-free pancakes, waffles, muffins, cereal and bread loaves are offered, says Executive Chef Eric de Maeyer. Food stations throughout the resort have gluten-free hamburger buns, pizza crusts and French fries available daily, and the food service staff uses dedicated cookware and utensils to prepare gluten-free foods in a separate processing area, he says.
After a guest who is checking in advises the front desk of a gluten-free need, the information is entered into Grand Velas’ computer system. When that guest provides his or her room number to the restaurant the staff is automatically notified of the requirement, according to de Maeyer.
Guests staying at one of Wyndham Viva’s seven all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Bahamas can contact a guest service representative two weeks before arrival to request gluten-free options. The representative will notify the resort’s specialty restaurants of the dietary requirement and advise the chef at the main buffet restaurant so that gluten-free choices are on hand.
Last summer I wrote a blog post about three celiacs in a beach house, but this year we’ve upped the ante. Five out of eighteen people at this year’s family reunion eat a gluten free diet and that requires some extra preparation! Most people pack bathing suits and sunscreen, and we do that as well, but we also throw in a bread maker, GF flour and mixes.
I’m originally from California and this is the first time in a long time that we have all gathered on the West Coast, so I am not the person in control of the gluten-free food. When the celiacs come East, I’ve got them covered. This time I just have to make sure everyone has food to eat on the airplane. I forgot to tell my sister that I would split the GF grocery bill with her when we arrive at the beach house. Feeding five celiacs is not cheap. So if you read this Whitney, know that I’m good for it!
Summer camp ended today, summer swim season ended today and my kids are a bit melancholy since the long days of endless fun in our home town wrapped up today. They know that six weeks of their precious summer is over and school is lurking around the corner. The good news is that there is still almost one month left and we will all enjoy ourselves after a long day of travel. Once we get there, we will swim, laugh, surf, eat lots of Mexican food and goof around with cousins.
It’s like a Mastercard commercial….Airplane tickets-$1800, Beach Share-$1400…not having to worry about finding gluten-free food upon arrival because your mom and sister are handling it-PRICELESS.