Gluten-Free in France



Gluten-Free in France

Advice on dealing with wheat & gluten allergies.

Because wheat and gluten allergies are a medical condition, you may have a more understanding response to your allergy than veggies or vegans will get from their life-choice. However, the land of patisseries and ‘pain’, can be a bit of a torment for those on a wheat free diet!

1. If on holiday, bring vacuum packed GF bread, bake-off bread or bread mixtures, depending on the facilities available to you. Then take some bread with you, everywhere you go. You will need it to go with meals, especially the cheese course, picnics, and if your are invited to someone’s house.

2. As you are probably aware from the UK, it is not enough to simply tell waiters/ friends that you cannot eat wheat. You need to ask about everything: does the sauce/ pate contain flour? Does the salad/ soup come with croutons? However, you will probably receive a good service and understanding response if you explain your needs in a restaurant.

3. The delicious French dried sausages often have flour on the casings, which need to be removed, and can have gluten in the meat mixture – check the label or ask the butcher. Luckily, the best and tastiest ones only contain pork, pepper and salt, with perhaps some sugar or cognac.

4. The organic section in supermarkets often have a very limited range of GF products. The ‘bio’ (short for ‘biologique’, meaning organic) shops are a real blessing, and do tend to have a decent range of GF, with plenty of choice – sometimes even freshly baked crusty bread!

5. There are some french desserts and ‘pastries’ that are not made with flour. Ask the shop or restaurant, but an example is pumpkin pie, which is sometimes simply a combination of pumpkin, eggs, milk and sugar. Then there are mouses and ice-creams, delicious creations based around ‘chantilly’ cream, and massive meringues!

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Gemma is a food writer, who lived in France for eight years, and now divides her time between her cottage in the rural Dordogne and her home in the UK.

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