Eating out gluten free

Welcome to my first blog, I’m really excited to be able to share my personal thoughts on all things gluten free. I love food and particularly love a good coffee and cake outing.

Eating out gluten free is often very frustrating.

During our recent family holiday I was amazed at the highs and lows of gluten free availability in the local cafes and restaurants. I was reminded on several occasions of the ignorance of service staff and café owners and of general traps in gluten free dining from places claiming to cater for those needing gluten free food.

My gluten reaction time is a standard 20 minutes so share my giggles when my family and friends sit and wait after a meal to see if it’s going to be a good review or bad based on my toileting requirements!!

I’ve listen to many stories about gluten reactions. Some people are like me with an instant reaction, others vomit when gluten enters their stomach and others take their time but endure a three day marathon of agony and lethargy.

It astounds me that I still come across food outlets who are blasé about the need to offer uncontaminated, not ‘low gluten,’ gluten free food, considering the effects it can have. I insist on gluten free food items to be at the top of the display fridge rather than in the middle or bottom collecting crumbs and other bits and pieces from the above glutinous food.

Pizza: more than the base

On one occasion we enjoyed lunch at a gourmet pizza outlet who openly listed gluten free pizza’s available in their front window. However, when ordering and confirming the toppings I asked “which toppings are gluten free” the response was “we prepare everything fresh”. The response showed a lack of understanding of gluten free. I made my choice of pizza and then asked the waiter to check if the BBQ sauce was gluten free. It wasn’t. I had the pizza minus the BBQ sauce and hopefully created an awareness of this issue with the manager. Many pizza places now offer gluten free bases either made onsite or pre-made but do not understand the need for pizza toppings to also be gluten free. Many toppings can contain gluten e.g.ham, salami, tomato sauce etc..


Coffee and cake

It’s easy to locate a good coffee shop these days who can produce a long black with a thick crema (my way of thinking I’m having a latte!) but to match this with a cabinet full of fantastic gluten free cake…..another story. I have my favourite haunts in my hometown which I frequent regularly. I make sure I comment on their great selection of gluten free food; when travelling I found it much harder. I realised after numerous poor coffee and cake experiences that finding a great place is really about trying each café as it’s not something you can research beforehand or call and ask ’do you make a great long black and have more than one choice of gluten free cake, if any?’

Pantry No 8 Brunswick Heads

Gluten free treaties available at Pantry No 8, Brunswick Heads

I asked every café I visited on my travels about their gluten free food choices even when I could see they didn’t have any. I hoped they would understand they were losing business by not including gluten free options especially as I had three friends with me. The highlight of my trip was rediscovering the little town of Brunswick Heads, NSW, Australia where the selection of good cafes with the above requirements was plenty, all within the one block.

Riverside Espresso Brunswick Heads

Plenty of gluten free options at Riverside Espresso, Brunswick Heads

On a much more positive note I enjoyed several dinners at some outstanding restaurants. I will mention just one – the best!

Asian Dream

Asian restaurant Orient Express, 1/2 Fletcher St, Byron Bay, NSW, Australia, owned by well known chef Tippy Heng blew my socks off. The service was top notch and when requested, our waiter swiftly presented a separate gluten free menu highlighting at least 90% of the menu to be gluten free or could be prepared gluten free. We enjoyed a scrumptious meal including crispy duck and crispy skin chicken followed by a platter of desserts including handmade honeycomb icecream and my favourite banana fritters, gluten free battered bananas finished with a cinnamon sugar mix. I doubled checked because I couldn’t believe it. The price was also great at only $40AUD per head for main courses, desserts and T2 tea. A must for dinner when you visit Byron Bay.

A few secrets to successful gluten free eating out:

  • Always ask for gluten free. Each time you ask for gluten free food it reinforces the growing demand.
  • Research restaurants in the area and check their websites or call to discuss your needs. This will also give you an idea of their level of understanding of gluten free dietary needs.
  • Take the lead when going out in a group and ask the organiser if you can be involved in selecting where to eat. This will make it easier and more enjoyable for everyone on the night.
  • Book a table in advance specifying how many gluten free guests so they can prepare for your arrival.
  • Always pack your emergency medication or ‘kit’ in the event of contamination.
  • Share your good experiences with friends so they know where to eat OR where to met their gluten free friends. Also share these experiences with local Coeliac Societies or food bloggers.
  • Address contamination issues with the manager or owner only. General staff rarely care and don’t want to be in trouble.

Let’s hope with the continued awareness of Coeliac Disease and gluten intolerance, along with our campaign of providing better gluten free food that many of the places who do not currently cater for gluten free decide to add some to their menu!!

Happy cooking

Mel

P.S – you know when you’re obsessed about a topic when your five yr old starts serving you gluten free wooden food as part of her tea party in our afternoon game “Now, mummy, this is absolutely GLUTEN free, there is no gluten and it’s very yummy chocolate cake!!!”

Comments – if the comments box below doesn’t appear please click on the title and return to the bottom. Thanks!

71 Responses

  1. Melissa Curtis Says:

    I too have been accused of being obessed about gluten free! Lol. And still have moments when out with people when all heads look at the ground when I have made complaints about meals not coming out gluten free and having to send them back. In the small town I live in it would be wonderful for all restaurants to be Gluten Free Friendly but unfortuantely it’s not the case. If only there was some sort of information package that could be sent to businesses in the hospitality industry to make them aware of how to cater for gluten free. It’s really not as hard as it may seem. The Asian restaurant you dined at sounds amazing too!

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Melissa, we are madly promoting our new foodservice packs to the hospitality industry as we speak. Look out for our choc fudge brownie on the menu of your local resturants soon!

  3. Cathy Says:

    My 3 year old now knows to ask politely “is it gluten free?”. It brings a smile to my face every time. And we recently celebrated a milestone: her first birthday party as a guest where the hostess had made the entire menu DF and GF for my little girl. It was a delight!

  4. admin Says:

    What an extremely thoughtful host, I would deliver a bunch of flowers to show my appreciation! Its incredibly hard to tell a three-year old they cannot dig into the party food their friends are eating and instead eat out of a home-prepared lunch box!

  5. Melissa Curtis Says:

    Cathy that must have made your day! My best friend has three of us to cater for when she has functions at her home. One gluten free, one gluten and dairy and one gluten and chocolate free. It makes for an interesting challenge! But she does a wonderful job every time :-)

  6. Carla Burns Says:

    Mel, fantastic first blog….you will soon have a tribe of followers dropping over for your stories. I look forward to watching your experiences as a GF customer so that we at Vanilla Pod Cake and Deli Cafe can ensure we cater to your high standards!

  7. admin Says:

    Thanks Carla, you know Vanilla Pod (Ascot, Brisbane) is one of my top 5 for eating out gluten free in Brisbane. Always a wide variety of choice for both savoury and sweeties. Keep up the good work.

  8. Lucy Says:

    Hi Mel – found you by chance when surfing for Australian gluten free blogs.

    I’m amazed that you have ‘many’ pizza places that will offer a gluten free base – we’re obviously way behind you on that front here in the UK. There are places that will top a gf pizza base if you bring it in (and if you care to risk contamination), but not many that have them in stock.

    Good for you, creating the demand for GF, and pointing out the issues: we do the same!

  9. admin Says:

    Thanks Lucy, everyone tells me we are lucky in Australia but it can always be better. Let’s hope the word starts to spread into the UK.

  10. Belinda Says:

    Fascinating blog and something that we all experience. My hubby is a diabetic type one as well as coeliac and nothing frustrates us more than when we ring prior, speak to the chef, and are told in no uncertain terms, they definately do gluten free and tell us what we can eat, then when we arrive with friends, there is zilch. The ignorance of many chefs is unbelievable.
    But, then their are the little surprises that you come across that absolutely delight you normally in the most unexpected places.
    We went to Echuca and they were great, but go to Melbourne suburbia and they are poor, very poor.
    We have come across many places that offer gluten free bases and not toppings – another way for them to make money and people ill which we advise them of, and they just shrug their shoulders, as if they don’t give a damn.
    What is in your pack of medication in case of contamination? For years my hubby would just feel sick, but over the last twelve months two hours after contamination severe vomiting and diarrhea which is dangerous as he is a diabetic type 1. He takes his pump off to stop insulin. But it is sooo unfair to see him like this, and each time it has being when we’ve eaten out, and when I’ve rung to explain kindly that their meal wasn’t gluten free they simply don’t care again.
    Please let me know what is in your medipack?
    Great idea, this blog. Well needed,
    Belinda

  11. admin Says:

    Thanks Belinda for your comments. Let’s hope we can change the way of thinking and make eating out as enjoyable as it used to be.
    My ‘kit’ is Advanced Immodium, spray perfume and a face spritzer. The immodium to get me home to some privacy and the sprays in the event they don’t work and I have to go public – or the resturant facilities.
    It’s very embarrassing particularly if there is only one toilet and your stuck in there for 1/2 hour or more!
    A bottle of water is also handy to rehydrate after a contamination.
    Mel

  12. Misty Says:

    Mel,
    Firstly, we love your products in our household. I’m dairy free, my husband is wheat free and my mum is dairy, wheat and nut free. Thankyou for helping to raise awareness. Its so frustrating when we eat out at places that offer ‘gluten free’, but can’t tell us what else might be in the product – a huge drama when you need to avoid wheat AND nuts (so many gluten free cakes are made with nut meal). It really is time that eateries got educated as to what is in their food, and only time and demand will do that. Thanks again!

  13. admin Says:

    Thanks Misty – agree, more thought is needed for the whole allergy market.

  14. Mary Monks Says:

    Great to read your blog Melinda.
    I live in Brisbane and have recently had a great GF meal at The Roman Empire, Carindale. I enjoyed a delicious pasta dish! I had no reaction to it.

  15. Lois Says:

    Having just returned from Vanuatu this weekend, I have to tell you about the Resort Manager and Chef at Iririki Resort in Port Vila. On arrival a letter, together with laminated menus was popped under my door. The Manager asked me to alert the staff and at breakfast the next day a special plate of gluten free bread (freshly baked) arrived! I chose from my special menus and the food was a delight, the service impeccable and I was made to feel very wanted and therefore had a wonderful time. Thoroughly recommend. Just a shame some of the restaurants in Melbourne can’t “get over” their issues with coeliac disease and a gluten free diet.

  16. admin Says:

    Lois, I’m booking my next trip to Vanuatu – sounds like heaven…fresh bread!! thanks for sharing

  17. admin Says:

    From Verna Rowe

    For those in Melbourne, there is a lovely restaurant in Yarrambat (near South Morang) called Rivers.

    They have some divine gluten free cakes and apart from these, the setting is truly beautiful.

    You can wander around their nursery, or buy food for the ducks on the lake.

    We particularly like the gluten free orange cake and their cappuccino is delicious too.

    As I said, it’s a gorgeous setting and they have an incredible (but not cheap) gift shop there.

    Oh to have more money!

  18. Caroline Says:

    Mel – I can’t believe Orient Express in Byron- I drooled in my keyboard and think I can not resist either the duck or the banana fritter … I am sure I will not be able to keep away ! Conti at Brunswick Heads also does good GF Steven the chef is used to me putting pressure on him and is always happy to make any adjustments to come up with GF pleasures on a plate …. my biggest hurdle is when i head up the coast and get stuck in shopping centres or on the road – food courts are a complete nightmare ! Great Blog keep up the great work !

  19. Melinda Says:

    Caroline, as a Byron Bay local you must get into Orient Express. We are heading down this weekend and will be lining up again for their service and food. Brunswick Heads is such a delight to visit and eat. Agree foodcourts are a nightmare!

  20. Rebecca Guymer Says:

    Well done Mel on another very informative venture that you have undertaken. A blog such as yours will do wonders in informing people such as myself, who do not suffer from the allergies that you and your followers have described. I am becoming more aware of gluten intolerance though, especially now that I have an employee who is presenting with gluten intolerance. Our Christmas party for 2010 turned into a disaster for her when she was obviously not served the gluten-free meal that she had requested.
    This is where your gourmet pre-mixes come in handy for me in preparing afternoon tea for my staff that I know will not only be safe for her, but everyone will enjoy.
    Well done again Mel, I am always very proud to tell everyone that the spectacular person behind Melinda’s Gluten-Free Goodies is a friend!!
    Bec

  21. Kirily Says:

    I’m more interested in your ‘medical kit’. I was only diagnosed a year and a half ago, and still no very little about how to help when I accidentally have gluten, and I also have not been able to pin down a particular recurring reaction. I’ve only recently started throwing up- and it was with things I thought were safe. Does anyone know of any good forums I can get more advice from fellow coeliacs?

    On the eating out aspect, I have to admit that due to my own insecurities, I find it very uncomfortable having to dictate dinner based on my needs, though it is absolutely necessary. I should be more bold like you Melinda, and give more of a voice to the still fairly limited range of food in restaurants. Unfortunately I have had one or two family members tell me I go on about it too much, so that keeps me more quiet on the gluten topic too. I just try to be as prepared as possible for all food situations, and just say no thank you when offered things I can’t eat. Reading your blog, I feel I really need to balls up….. Thanks Melinda!

  22. Melinda Says:

    Kirily, thanks for your comment. I’m sending you some muscle through this message. The more we all speak up the more the industry will understand. I still encounter cafe’s who tell me they don’t have a demand for gluten free. This is exactly why I always ask if they have gluten free (even if I can see they don’t!). Family members who can live a normal life and roll their eyes at the annoyance of our ‘issue’ is another story for another soapbox…..If possible selecting the venue and calling ahead so your family don’t know is the best solution. Then its simply a quick “I’m the coeliac” when you arrive.

    It depends on your reaction but My ‘kit’ is Advanced Immodium, spray perfume and a face spritzer. The immodium to get me home to some privacy and the sprays in the event they don’t work and I have to go public – or the resturant facilities.
    It’s very embarrassing particularly if there is only one toilet and your stuck in there for 1/2 hour or more! A bottle of water is also handy to rehydrate after a contamination.

  23. Gerry Says:

    My husband and I are ‘Grey Nomads’ which is a good thing when travelling as extensively as we do. We use our GPS and the POI (Point of Interest) function for gluten free cafes and shops that sell ‘our food’. We also look for Organically or biodynamiclaly grown fruit and veg and include them as POI on the GPS as well.
    As a back up, becuase we’ve murdered a couple of GPS units, we also make a pencil note in our Camps 5 book whick travels everywhere with us.
    The upside of our lifestyle is that we can pull over and I can prepare gluten free food no matter where we are. Like may country folk, we often take advantage of ordering on line and ensure a good supply of our ‘favourites’ while we are travelling to less gluten free friendly place.
    Great blog – thanks

  24. Gerry Says:

    I forgot so metion Malaney in QLD has several places that cater for G/F as does Nimbin and Lismore in NSW. Also found Crookwell in NSW has a couple of places that have G/F on the menu.
    Cheers

  25. Melinda Says:

    Great Gerry, give us a few names of excellent places in these area’s next time your travelling…oh the life!!!

  26. Dione Says:

    HGi Melinda, Congratulations for giving us all a place to vent and rejoice.
    I have three daughters, two whom have coeliac. I too spend all my time trying to get restaurants on board and have a found a really good thai restaurant in Gymea Sydney called Mie Thai. They clean out the wok, use gluten free sauces and add fresh tofu not the one that has been prepared in the conatminated deepfryer. I just give them a good tip each time we go! I also have attempted travel and have found the one travel place i can go and get a real break from the stresses of GF for kids is on a cruise- they have a separate GF kitchen area and have to supply all meals and snacks each day. We go annually now-it is then truly a holiday for me and a great feast for my kids. Keeo up the great work Melinda!

  27. Melinda Says:

    Thanks for sharing Dione, I’m still not sure the g/free food will stay within given my motion sickness issues!!!

  28. Sue Says:

    Dione, which cruise line do you travel with? We had a cruise booked on the Dawn Princess when my little girl was diagnosed with type 1 & coeliac 6 weeks before cruising. I contacted the cruise line, three times & in writing, and was assured each time that they will be able to cater for her. For the first 3 meals on board she was served fresh fruit and yoghurt!! After a big crack up they prepared her some pasta for dinner and that is what she had for the next 9 nights. We won’t go with them again.

  29. Sue Hassel Says:

    Please tell me about your emergency medication – I’d never heard of such a (good) thing!

  30. Melinda Says:

    Hi Sue, It depends on your reaction but My ‘kit’ is Advanced Immodium, spray perfume and a face spritzer. The immodium to get me home to some privacy and the sprays in the event they don’t work and I have to go public – or the resturant facilities.
    It’s very embarrassing particularly if there is only one toilet and your stuck in there for 1/2 hour or more! A bottle of water is also handy to rehydrate after a contamination.

  31. Melanie COnroy Says:

    What a great blog!!! I am a huge fan of your products and enjoy sharing them with my family.

    I am the first Coeliac in the family…

    I barely eat out these days, I was only diagnosed at the start of August 2010.. I fear the reaction of eating something containing gluten..

    I have learnt pretty quickly to ask plenty of questions.. If they answer right I will stay there and give it a shot, if they aren’t confident or say we can cook this with no sauce then I don’t bother.. why should my taste buds suffer? hehe.

    Here is hoping that one day we will live in a world that contains plenty of variety for us to taste and enjoy!!

  32. Dione Says:

    Hi Sue,
    MSC cruise lines we have used a few times…it’s european cruise line. They do the caribbean and mediterranean etc.
    This year we are going to try “Princess” cruises from sydney. We have found that the better or more expensive (unfortunately) companies seem to cater better- you know like hotels too. Such a pity but the way it is unfortunately. That is so unfair for your daughter. Makes holidays more stressful than just staying home! Apparently on the Princess cruises they have told me they even bake their GF bread! Cant wait to see if its true!

  33. Melissa Curtis Says:

    I have travelled with P & O Cruises in 2008 and could not fault their food at all! I was able to order what everyone else had (which needed to be done 24 hours in advance but was quite happy to do so). And that cruise had the most amazing tiramui! It was great being able to travel and not worry about getting sick. And was even brought gluten free bread every night when everyone else was having bread before their meals. The ship i was on was Pacific Sun i think.

  34. Melissa Says:

    Hi Melinda and fellow coeliacs, I was diagnosed 14 years ago and can’t believe the advances made in availability of foods to meet our special needs in this time. being able to purchase a trolley full of food from 1supermarket with the other foods my family needs is unreal, I find Ashfield and Leichhardt woollies have a great range. About Life in Rozelle in like you’ve died and gone to heaven. I recently was taken out to The Ocean room at the overseas passenger terminal, circular quay, oh my god! Expensive but every thing on the set menu that wasn’t suitable for me was substituted for a gluten free option, no problems, my fellow diners wanted what I had. Speak up about what you want… It’s your health and your money!Great blog and products thanks Melinda.

  35. Melinda Says:

    yum, will make a visit when I’m in Sydney next week.

  36. Christine H Says:

    Hi Melinda and all readers, I’ve been a diagnosed Coeliac for just over 3 years and in that time eaten out very rarely. that is until i met and married my husband. He has encouraged me to get out and try different places to eat and now in our small town we have a few favourite choices of eaterys. My most recent and worst encounter, however was at one of the ‘safe’ restaurants, for my mothers 70th Birthday. I’ve talked to the staff their and it’s been explained what is and isn’t Gluten free, and i knew what i could have… Never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me, being smorgasboard, the cross contamination of food that was to happen on that night. 2 hours after the dinner, arriving home with a slight headache, by the time i got kids settled in bed and myself in bed,the stomach cramps began. $ hours later and many trips to the bathroom i finally had all the food out of my system, But it still took 3 days or headaches and lethargy before i finally came good and felt normal again.
    Doesn’t take a lot to set my reaction off, but it sure is a good reminder to not be tempted to have just a nibble of that fresh bakery bread, or to just try a little of something that a friend has supplied to a BBq lunch. Its tough some days but the alternative is much tougher.
    Unfortunatley not many cafe’s in our town have anything but the pre-packaged biscuits, so coffee and cake with friends just doesn’t happen anymore unless i want to pay something like $8 for a slice of fresh cake.

  37. Melinda Says:

    Christine, I feel your pain. Let me know your town & cafe names and I’ll see if any excellent g/free suppliers I know could make contact

  38. Sue Says:

    Hey Dione, it was Princess cruise lines we travelled with. They told me, in writing, that each cruise caters for sometimes 10 coeliacs BUT the knowledge just didn’t exist when we were in the restaurants. I was advised to go and see the maitre’d of the restaurant that we were booked into. He hadn’t been advised that anyone required gluten free. So for dinner, breakfast and lunch my daughter was given a plate of fruit and yoghurt. When I asked to speak to someone because this wasn’t good enough is when they offered to bake her some bread (unfortunately it wasn’t very good) but then she was offered pasta at dinner and that became each nights meal. good luck. I wish now that I had taken it further when we returned home, if only to try and raise the profile of what is required.

  39. Chris Says:

    What a great blog, thanks. At Landsborough up on the Sunshine Coast there is a cafe called “3 Divas”. They do an amazing array of homemade GF cakes and GF dishes. We have never had a reaction with their food and my children love their GF pancakes and ice-cream. My pet frustration is all of these places that stock “Orange & Almond Friands”. Usually it is the only option available and I am so over eating them that I refuse to have them any more.

  40. Melinda Says:

    Look forward to trying those pancakes!

  41. Talina Says:

    Great blog Melinda, and I love your products too. (I was lucky to win a huge selection of them through AliV’s website – so I’ve tried almost all of them!)

    Like many coeliacs, I’m also lactose-intolerant…and I LOVE a soy-latte out. BUT its incredibly frustrating how many soy-milks contain gluten (malt and barley). I always make a point of explaining to cafe staff that many coeliacs also can’t tolerate milk and they should look into other soy milk brands (thankfully most are very open to suggestions).

    My 3-yr-old son also gives me play-food and ensures me its gluten-free! He also points out all the products in the shops that say “Gluten-free” on the packaging and says they’re safe for mummy – I’m a very proud mother!

  42. Melinda Says:

    A good point Talina, keep telling the cafe as if their customers request they are more likely to listen

  43. Siew-Tuan Smith Says:

    Hi Melinda,

    Great blog, Been on your email since buying your product at the Bris Gluten Free expo. Good to read others comment on GF restuarants as it is so hard to eat out. We had a Chinese New Year banquet GF in Indooroopilly ( Sun Fay)after much research & had a great feast & no sore tummy. Mmm will try 3 Divas.

    Tuan

  44. Melinda Says:

    Tuan, thanks for the heads up on Sun Fay – I do love Chinese but traditionally it doesn’t love me!

  45. Jen Parker Says:

    I live in Brisbane and there is a great coffee shop just opened at Ferny Grove called Blended. They have a shelf of GF goodies and next time I am there I will mention to them that it should be the top shelf. There is a sign saying just ask about GF options. Also Nicks Restuarant at Jindalee Hotel and Six Degrees at Indooroopilly have a good selection of GF meals. I recently travelled to Chile, Argentina and Antactica and over the six weeks had no reaction. I had the Coeliac Society’s Spanish translation in multiple copies and gave a copy to the kitchens. Our guides on the hiking sections from Andes Mountians Expediciones had heaps of GF food for me and as usual eveyone else was jealous of my goodies because they looked delicious and healthy. Aurora Expeditions’ Polar Pioneer chefs were wonderful and I enjoyed pancakes, bread & butter pudding etc the same as everyone else. Mostly I had the same mains as everyone else with maybe a substitute GF pasta which was cooked to perfection. They also served great vegetarian meals. I had no cereal for the 6 weeks and really tucked into my cornflakes and museli on return.
    I have been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease for over three years now and have experienced the odd reaction (vomiting as soon as the gluten reaches my stomach) but I am not going to let that stop me eating out and travelling. If that is part of my life well I have to accept it and there are worse diseases to suffer from. I am lucky in that my reaction is over and done with quickly. I am always polite and not demanding because some restaurants have been put off by previous diners but I do let them know that the roast or steak without the gravy is not a satisfactory option for me. I usually mention that there are GF catering gravies available for them to use. I am also wary of “you can have the risotto that is rice” and reply “what about the stock?”.
    Just remember to smile and not show your annoyance and thank the people who look after you effusively, so they welcome the next GF diner.

  46. Melinda Says:

    Thanks Jen, I look forward to trying your recommendations!

  47. Donna Kidd Says:

    My daughter and I are lucky ones…..Gluten Intolerant only. When in Brisbane we visit the Bonjour Patisserie, 876 Brunswick Street, New Farm…..they have a large range of GF sweet and savoury French bakery items. Mainly sweet treats, but we also got GF pies and quiches yesterday. Delicious and guilt free (well, almost guilt-free, not sure Gloria Marshall would approve).

  48. Alessia Says:

    @Melissa Curtis :)

    YES!!! I was on that cruise in 2008 with my family and it was AMAZING, I have never had such an amazing chocolate self-saucing pudding as on that cruise (as with the rest of the food!). The Pacific Sun staff really treat you and like you said, about 10 slices of gluten free bread was brought out to me every night! It was the only time I have ever relaxed about being coeliac (even though I can’t feel the effects if I do eat something contaminated) as the staff paid so much attention to me!

  49. Kerrie Says:

    Hi Mel
    Matthew made your Brownies and said they are his favorite, but still not as good as how you make it – compliment to you!

  50. Melinda Says:

    He is a sweet boy! thanks very much

  51. Terri Says:

    Great blog Melinda.
    Creating a list of good gluten friendly cafes would be great.
    Had a funny note to share… after about 5 mins of confirming that the soup was GF… they put normal croutons in it and brought it to the table. It frustrates me – so many people suffer with this condition, people in the food industry should be made aware of it..

  52. Kathie Says:

    Great to hear all the stories, esp about cruises as I am thinking that’s the only way I’ll ever get a rest! My daughter has been diagnosed since she was 2 and is now 7. She is also a fussy eater and has a strong will, so it’s doubly difficult to eat out as she refuses to try new things. Last Christmas, my best present was when we took her to an Nepalese/Indian Restaurant. I expected she would just eat the rice, but I was thrilled to see her pile loads of butter chicken onto her plate after I convinced her to try a small piece. She loved it and it now means we can eat out somewhere with interesting food for the rest of us. I do get tired of all the cooking at home but on the plus side it means we have a very healthy diet!

  53. Anita Says:

    Hi Mel,
    I have travelled with P&O, Princess Cruises Holland America, Celebrity and Carnival cruise lines. I have found that once you notify the company, make yourself known to the Maitre D there is no problem catering for Gluten Free but some cruise lines are better than others. The only problem is that once they find a course that is satisfactory they will not vary it and on a long cruise an identical platter of fruit for 3 weeks is boring. I also take my own crackers and get cheese from the breakfast buffet for morning and afternoon tea as savory snacks are hard to find. As always, we have to be prepared, but if the service is good it is greatly appreciated.

  54. Dorian Says:

    Hi there, having just returned from a month long visit to the UK, I have to say I am impressed with the choice of GF foods available in the supermarkets. Quite different to a few years ago when looking for stuff for my nephew. Having been diagnosed since living here in Aus, I have struggled, along with my daughter, to find foods and restaurants here that cater specifically for GF. Very disappointed at times to be told it is only to find out it isn’t!
    I bought ready meals and bread over in the UK that actually tasted good and wasn’t dry and crumbly or lacking in taste. Chocolate biscuits and cakes that seemed like regular ones.
    I also experienced the whole range of GF meals on board the planes I flew in…from the UK, great with imagination and flair, devised by a nutritionist with a fair amount of knowledge I believe regarding GF, sadly others not so!

  55. Dorian Says:

    Also got told at a place in the UK that the meals available for a GF diet were the following, soup, pea and ham and also tomato and sweet pepper, followed by Irish Stew which had all amounts of pearl barley in it along with a gorgeous looking aubergine and veggie bake, which was then covered in regular breadcrumbs for a crunchy finish…oh dear, some of these chefs need educating on what is and what isn’t GF!!

  56. Susannah Says:

    Hi all.
    Firstly let me say “CONGRATULATIONS” Melinda. Love your website, products and now blog.
    Interesting read from you all.
    Living on the Gold Coast I have come across some great gluten free places. So, if you either live here or are on a holiday, here are some great places that I visit often and all serve GF.
    SAKS restaurant at Marina Mirage, they have a GF menu with breads, pasta and pizzas.
    Savvas Fish & Chips at Nobbys Beach, they use a separate fryer just for their GF batter.
    The Cupcake Parlour in Broadbeach have GF cupcakes & Urban Burger have gluten free buns, fillings & chips.
    I hope this helps you.

  57. Anne Says:

    Thanks for all the interesting comments posted – i feel less alone now! I have just moved to sydney from brisbane and am finding it much harder here to find cafes with either a decent range of gf cakes or that offer gf bread for their sandwiches. Any recommendations for the chatswood or crows nest areas? Also a plug for bonjour patisserie and the shingle inn chain in brissie – both are great.

  58. Suzanne Says:

    My partner is a recently diagnosed coeliac and we are still learning…but if a cafe or restaurant is the least bit hesitant, we know to leave. At a Sunshine Coast food court, Maroochydore, every shop had GF beside the safe foods…my partner thought he was in heaven. Staff were also well informed – out of years of habit, he went to ask for tabouli on a kebab and the young girl serving him pulled him up straight away. We were most impressed. Come on NSW…still a problem here. Also, Lizotte’s, music venue in Dee Why – the chef’s partner is coeliac and the staff check and double check with you. My partner was spoilt for attention AND choice…really lovely!

  59. verna rowe Says:

    Hello to all. My daughter is coeliac plus fructose-lactose intolerant and said to mention that the Eden cafe, 48 Maling Road, Canterbury is fantastic if you ask for gluten free. Phone 9846-4818, apart from Maling Road is a delightful area for window shopping.Am going to try your risotto cake mix as a base for a meat loaf with sliced tomatoes on top.

  60. Melinda Says:

    Thanks everyone for your support and encouragement along with a super list of places to visit. I’m looking forward to trying some of them out.

  61. verna rowe Says:

    Hello again. Anyone in Melbourne. Try Crown Pizza in Spring Street, Reservoir(opposite the railway station). I’m not coeliac but I prefer the gluten free pizza that my daughter has to have. She loves the Olympian pizza with marinated lamb complete with a drizzle of yoghurt. I have the pizza with pineapple but the gluten free ham instead of the usual ‘ham’ topping. I pay extra for the gluten free ham but it’s lovely and even yummy cold. Their cappuccino is excellent too. A wee bit more expensive but well worth not having problems later on.

  62. Melissa Curtis Says:

    Just had to share as this made my day. I work in child care and came from a centre I had worked at for over 8 years with parents and staff knowing about my dietry requirements but never catering for them or simply caring. Have just moved to a community based centre where meals are provided and because of this some of the parents are aware of my needs. Half a dozen parents so far have approached me asking what chocolate i can eat as they wanted to give myself and assistant Easter gifts to show appreciation for what we do. I was suprised to say the least that they actually made the effort to ask! And have since found out the parents who are aware are informing the other parents in the room. It’s nice to know there are people who do care :-)

  63. Belinda Says:

    This is such a fantastic networking group – great idea Melinda! Thank you.
    I’ve heard the Orion Cruise in Broome does great gf food. I’d love to go on a holiday where we didn’t have to make a fuss with every meal, or try to find somewhere, only to get roast without gravy – ugh! Sometimes I take my gravox with me and ask for boiling water. LOL.
    Between hubby and me we’re coelic, diabetic type 1, lactose free, soy free and fructose free! So rather difficult as you can see. Don’t eat out much. Were extremely disappointed about three years ago with both Dunk and Brampton Island with all meals included and they assured us they could cater after several letters, emails and phone calls. Yes, they did cater – fruit and salad!!! YUK! So we paid all that money and I was so upset. I felt we deserved a refund of some money.
    I’d be interested in holidays where people do get the service they need with meals without a fuss being made.
    There is a chinese restaurant in Mitcham Victoria, Jade Village – they are fanbloodytastic – catering to all our needs, and the Eltham Hotel, in Eltham is great. The head chef is a coeliac. Sadly not many desserts though, but main meals are nearly all gf.
    It turns us off going on holidays….I’m not well with neurological probs and it would be lovely to go somewhere like Port Vila (above) where all meals were gf and able to cater for the other needs.
    Oh, if only we had money…..Australia needs a bit of a kick I think!
    Belinda

  64. Hayley Hyytinen Says:

    Hi Melinda,

    Was great to read your blog and I enjoy trying your products. Unfortunatley my allergies are more difficult than Gluten Free, I have fructose malabsorption and also react to raffinose. As part of my intolerances I can’t have soy including soy flour. This means that I also can’t have some of your products as these contain soy flours. It also makes it doubly difficult when eating out as just because it is gluten free doesn’t mean I won’t get a reaction. You are right people in the hospitality need to be more aware of allergies. Some staff are great while others just don’t care and seem to think you are just being difficult. My reactions can be immediate in a bad contamination or can happen the next day in small cases. It definitely makes life difficult especially when travelling. On a recent holiday in Tasmania I learnt it was essential to keep a pack of plain chips in my bag at all times. We will soon be heading to New Zealand on a holiday and I am hoping that things are better there.

  65. Trina Says:

    Like Jen Parker, I too have travelled to Antarctica with Aurora Expeditions although on their other ship Marina and to Mawson’s Hut in East Antarctica not the South American side. I have a wheat intolerance, an allergy to meat and mushrooms and I am a diabetic, I find it hard when travelling but Aurora’s chefs gave me the most amazing food with a lot of variety which is not bad for a 29 day cruise. Others on the cruise with other dietary concerns were also catered for, including the coeliacs. Melinda I too suffer from very bad motion sickness, I have tried lots of different meds and find Avomine worked well for me although I didn’t find it worked too well in the Force 8 gale, although only sick the once. Can definitely recommend this company and it is Australian too.

  66. jill rolleston Says:

    I have just today disembarked from a 35 day cruise aboard Dawn Princess and must say that as a coeliac, my special dietary requirements were met at every meal, and on special occasions such as afternoon tea. The maitreD would bring me the lunch and dinner menus the evening before and I would pre-order my meals to allow the chef(s) sufficient time to ensure they were gluten free. Very impressed by the attention to detail and desire to ensure passenger satisfaction.

  67. Kady Says:

    Hi there! I have had CD for 7years and stumbled across your blog today.
    I have also just been diagnosed with Lactose and Fructose malabsorption which makes eating out even more difficult!!
    I am in Essendon (Melbourne) and I love Taco Bills as they offer a large range of Gluten free options and now with the Fructose/Lactose (lucky i can have hard cheeses!!) the waitress was spectacular in helping me choose options (not alot of choice if you can’t have onions or kidney beans but appreciated the effort) and also Smoken Joes was so helpful and i felt safe in what i was eating.
    For anyone in the Essendon area, there is a shop in Keilor East called Gluten Fr3 living and it is amazing, huge selection and a cake cabinet and coffee machine to sit and enjoy!
    Great blog, love it!

  68. Amy Says:

    Great to see a good blog developing here. @Hayley Hyytinen that’s an interesting point you make about the raffinose and soy. I’m allergic to soy as well as coeliac and have to avoid many foods on the market too (including soy lecithin, meaning I have to avoid virtually all chocolate). I’ve found some chocolates I can buy from european specialty stores that contain ammonium phosphatides instead of lecithin. I believe many chocolatiers object to the alternative emulsifier ‘ammonium phosphatides’ because of the name (or this is what I’ve heard) despite potential GM concerns with soy. Sometimes the natural ingredients can be worse than the artificial alternatives.

    Unfortunately I’ve found a vast majority of pizza outlets here in Australia use one particular brand of pizza base made with soy flour as the primary ingredient (this pizza base is pretty much free of all other allergens including nuts and eggs). I don’t quite know how it could be IBS friendly (as the company claims) when it contains soy as the primary ingredient but this in turn has narrowed options quite immensely. I often find places that make their own pizza bases are a better bet. Also helps if I can see the nutrition and allergen information before-hand so I know what’s in what.

    I don’t seem to experience the most obvious negative consequences from consuming small fragments of either gluten or soy. I find that eating out has been fairly easy as long as I plan in advance, but try to avoid frequenting it. Thus, I believe been able to manage my diet fairly adequately.

  69. gluten free cakes Says:

    There needs to be more gluten free recipes. Thanks for your efforts.

  70. Emily Says:

    It’s great to be able to see and hear so many other stories from others, I’m getting used to making my own GF food now but only since coming across your premixes… the choc walnut slice is TDF!!!

    Keep up the good work.

  71. Jenny Says:

    Hi Melinda, My husband has to eat gluten free and fructose free, we have a son that is anaphalactic to dairy and nuts and I am dairy free. It was our sons graduation from yr 12 this week there was one of those big dinners planned by the school 350 people & 34 staff attending. After so many bad experiences with those big do’s we decided to organise our own food. I bought pretty formal bento boxes and we took them to a local restaurant the day before and the chief designed each box to suit us. It was great, we didn’t get sick.
    Thanks for the great packet mixes our older son is in the kitchen cooking the mud cake right now!

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