SPONSORED: Pacific Delight Debuts Gluten-Free Tour of India’s Gardens and Palaces

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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.

An inspiring view of the Taj Mahal from a palatial suite at the Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra

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 or contact 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.

Gluten-Free Travel Tours

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.

Top 10 Gluten-Free Travel Destinations


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.

Gluten-Free Worldwide

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.

Be prepared

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.


Gluten-Free World at Your Fingertips

App enables gluten-free eaters all over the world to share their favorite spots
Gluten Free World featured image 3











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…

PinPub@3xIt 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.

gluten_free_world_logo_darkblueThe 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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Day in the Life: Lindsey Schnitt on Working and Eating Gluten Free During the Rio Olympics

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt

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.

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt

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.

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt

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
sweet lady.

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.

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt

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.

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schnitt

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.

[This interview has been edited for clarity]

All-Inclusive Resorts Include Gluten-Free Guests


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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.