How to Travel Gluten Free
I was very excited for my trip to Bavaria, Germany. I would be exploring the land of Oktoberfest and leiderhosen, beer and pretzels. I foresaw just one problem. I am gluten free. Luckily, Traveloni works with some of the finest hotels and luxury tour operators around the world. I had made my dietary restrictions known while the trip was still being planned. As a result, our itinerary included hotels and restaurants that were familiar with the concept of gluten free and planned our meals accordingly. The Hotel Klosterle in Nordlingen even had a gluten free section at their breakfast buffet!
These days, hotels and restaurants around the world are becoming more familiar with the specific restrictions of a gluten free diet. It is becoming increasingly more common and recognized within the culinary community, which makes life less slightly worrisome for the gluten free traveler. However, it is still important to specify dietary restrictions while planning your trip so that the hotels and restaurants included in your itinerary will be prepared for your visit. Even airlines should be made aware of dietary restrictions.
It is always obvious when a restaurant serves you something gluten free that they threw together at the last minute, while everyone else at your table gets to enjoy a thoroughly planned and prepared gourmet meal. However, this was not the case during my trip to Germany. Most of the time, I was served the exact same dish as my travel companions but with gluten free substitutes. I was thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the same entrees and desserts as everyone else.
Unfortunately, my dietary restriction did prevent me from tasting Bavarian beer. Thanks to the German Purity Law, Bavarian beer is required to use a specific list of ingredients in order to be considered “reinheitsgetbot”, or pure. While non-alcoholic beers are not uncommon, German beer purists would frown upon gluten free beer. However, Bavaria does have plenty of vineyards and the region also makes some of the best wine in the world. Whether red or white, wine makes for an excellent gluten-free beverage alternative.
So that was my experience traveling in Europe, but what happens when gluten free travelers visit all-inclusive resorts in Mexico or the Caribbean? Most high-end properties, like the Secrets Capri or El Dorado Resorts in Mexico, are going to be accommodating to individual dietary restrictions. Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean are also known for providing fantastic service and options for those with dietary restrictions. At the Sandals Montego Bay, I enjoyed a gluten free fire oven pizza from the beachside snack bar that was absolutely delicious.
I recently stayed at the Now Amber in Puerto Vallarta and had a wonderful culinary experience. One day, I went to their pool snack bar, called the Barefoot Grill, I was dismayed to discover that they that they didn’t offer any gluten free options. The staff addressed my situation immediately by directing me to the Oceana Restaurant, which sent someone to my lounge chair for specialized service. They offered to prepare anything from their menu (with the exception of desserts) just for me gluten free. Not only that, but the restaurant served the food to me by the pool so I could still sit with my friends while they enjoyed a casual lunch from the snack bar.
If you are more into sweets, you may find that your all inclusive dessert options are more limited, especially if you eat at an a la carte restaurant. Making a whole batch of gluten free baked goods for just one person may challenge efficiency. Therefore, get ready to enjoy lots of ice cream, and if you’re vacationing in Mexico, I hope you like flan!
In Jamaica, I stayed at the Iberostar Grand Montego Bay, which provided the most superior gluten free experience I’ve ever had. Upon check in, the front desk staff had me meet with the concierge to discuss my meals and dietary restrictions. When I first got to the room, I found that our mini-bar was stocked with Red Stripe Beer. After a quick dip in the pool, I returned to our room to discover a full size bottle of Appleton Rum waiting at our mini-bar! This was a gesture on behalf of the staff so that I could still savor the tastes of Jamaica without disrupting my dietary restriction.
Overall, the concierge and butlers at the Iberostar Grand provided the most superior service I have ever encountered. They were attentive and accommodating, and when I ordered room service at two in the morning, they knew exactly which late night menu items would be gluten free. The buffet at the Iberostar Grand had plenty of gluten free options as well. With plenty of fresh seafood, caviar, and fancy European cheeses, there was no shortage of delicacies for me to enjoy.
Traveloni will always recommend the hotels and tour operators that we trust to provide the utmost customer service. We strive to ensure that our customers’ needs are met. That is why we provide personalized consultations to assess your situation before we start planning your ideal vacation. The goal is utilize our knowledge to provide comfortable, safe, and healthy travel options with recommendations and itineraries designed for you on an individual basis.
Make sure you tell your Traveloni vacation destination travel specialist if you are gluten free or have other restrictions so that they can recommend resorts and tour operators that are able to accommodate your needs. Whether you are gluten free or have other requests, the travel specialists at Traveloni are ready to help you plan the perfect vacation!