I have been researching gluten-free in Paris for years now with the hopes of finally traveling there one day. Well, that time has come and I am Gluten-Free Globetrotting off to France later this week. I have a long list of patisseries, épicieries, and markets that I plan on visiting during my trip!
Much of my research has come from gluten-free bloggers, Twitter friends, and even Instagrammers. The information these people have given me have helped me plan where to eat, where to shop, and even where to stay. While France doesn’t seem like the easiest place to be gluten-free, I do feel more confident with this information at my fingertips.
If you are planning a trip to France, I highly recommend following these people! They all have personal experience living, eating, and traveling gluten-free in Paris.
My absolute favorite part of writing Gluten-Free Globetrotter® is connecting with people from around the world. Your comments emails, tweets, and Facebook posts coming from all corners of the earth make writing this website HUGELY rewarding.
I was curious to see exactly where my readers are coming from and to say I was surprised would be the understatement of the year. There are 196 countries in the world. I had web visitors from 149 of these countries since January 2015. In just 7 months, gluten-free travelers from 76% of the globe have visited my site!! I cannot thank you enough for searching for gluten-free travel tips and finding Gluten-Free Globetrotter. My goal by the end of the year is to get a reader from every single country in the world.
Thank you to all of my Gluten-Free Globetrotter visitors. I hope our gluten-free travel paths cross in person one day. Until then, safe gluten-free travels!
Today is my first GFGlobetrotter GPS, aka Global Product Spotlight. It is through these posts I want to start exploring international gluten-free products I find here in New York City and during my travels. This will not be your average gluten-free product review. I want the most unusual and unknown products out there! I plan on contacting all manufacturers directly and getting as much information as possible about these products. I also want to feature the country the product is from and how to use the product or eat the food. Please let me know if there are any products you want me to research.
Product: Tajín Country of Origin: Mexico Usage: seasoning for fruits, veggies, etc.
TAJÍN is one of those products I see everywhere in my neighborhood but had no real clue what it is or how to use it. I noticed many of the Latin American vendors around NYC were sprinkling this red stuff on fruit, usually mangoes, and selling it everywhere. Whatever it was, it was popular! From street fairs to subway platforms, a plastic bag of Tajín-speckled fruit is a common sight in New York City.
I finally learned Tajín is a blend of mild chilis, sea salt, and lime used to season everything from fruit, veggies, seafood, and more. The seasoning comes in both spice and sauce form and originated in Mexico. According to a spokesperson from Tajín:
Our Classic Seasoning Powder: “Chile”, Lemon and Salt in the different presentations 0.03oz, 0.05oz, 0.2oz, 0.35oz, 5oz and 14oz does not have gluten. In a medium term we are decided to certify this product and process as “gluten free”.
Recently, I attend Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY and tried my first chamoyada. This popular Mexican treat is a blend of sweet, spicy, and saltiness all in one cup. This snack consists of fruit ice, chamoy, Tajín, and a tamarind candy stick. I was intrigued by the combination of flavors so my boyfriend and I split a mango chamoyada from the La New Yorkina food tent. I can’t say I loved my first chamoyada, but I also didn’t hate it. It was a little too salty for me and the mango wasn’t as sweet as I hoped to balance out the saltiness. I love jamaica (hibiscus) so I think next time I will go for that flavor instead.
I never really questioned the “gluten-freeness” of the seasoning until a Facebook follower named Alicia questioned me after I posted the pictures above. (Yes, this was a HUGE mistake and risk on my part to eat first and research after but in this case it turned out just fine.) I am pleased the Tajín company responded to my emails and also happy they are going through the gluten-free certification process for their product.
How do you use Tajín? I would love for you to share your favorite gluten-free recipes below!
Translation cards are a MUST when traveling to a country where English is not the primary language. These cards are very helpful in explaining to your server and the manager exactly what foods need to be avoided in order to keep you safe. I tend to avoid Google translations for my homemade cards because the translations aren’t always exactly what you need or want. The free cards may not be as specific as you would like if you have multiple food allergies and intolerances, but they are a great starting point for your gluten-free dining adventures.
Below you will find a list of the free translation cards I have found so far. Download the cards, print them out, and pop them in your wallet. I have used translation cards extensively in both the Czech Republic and in Thailand. I have also used translation cards closer to home here in NYC when dining at a Chinese restaurant. Have you had success using gluten-free translation cards? I would love to know where and when you used these cards!
Special Gourmets Chef Cards
These chef cards are prepared for those who cannot eat gluten. There are also separate cards available for those who cannot eat milk, eggs, soy, wheat, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts. Free; Available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese
While these aren’t exactly translation cards, Coeliac UK provides information about celiac resources across the globe. They have prepared PDF documents on more than forty countries across the globe. Many of these documents include translations for the local language. Free; Available in a variety of languages.
Gluten-Free Passport These cards are basic phrases in various languages about your gluten concerns, specific ingredients and preparation requests to communicate your special dietary needs in foreign countries. Free; Available in Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Latvian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
Hindi Gluten-Free Restaurant Card
This card was written by the Celiac Society Rajasthan in India to help you navigate Indian cuisine for Hindi language speakers. Free; Available in Hindi
BrokerFish Food Allergy Cards
Eight different allergy cards available in six languages created by the international health insurance portal, BrokerFish. Free; Available in French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai
In both Brazil and Argentina, labeling for packaged foods is fairly easy to see. They speak Portuguese in Brazil and Spanish in Argentina. English is fairly well understood in the more cosmopolitan areas though many spoke no English. I had no difficulties communicating wherever we went. When you make an effort to use the native language too, it seems to be appreciated. It might help you eat safely somewhere else. Many have heard about gluten because it is law in those countries. Industrialized foods and drinks are more regularly labeled “contains gluten” or “does not contain gluten” (translation: “CONTÉN GLÚTEN” or ““NÃO CONTÉN GLÚTEN”). Despite this, many people don’t know exactly what it means or how to deliver safe Gluten-Free. The translation of barley, oats, wheat and rye is ” malte”, “aveia”, “trigo” and “centeio” (from www.CeliacTravelSite.com). I had no problems in the markets shopping for Gluten-Free food. What goes on in a kitchen is another matter. Here are 2 links to help understand and manage better.
As one who must avoid gluten always, in any form, I keep a vegetarian diet. The most unlikely foods during processing often are enhanced with, come in contact with or are derived from wheat, rye, barley or oats. Avoidance is the only cure for celiac. (I highlighted this for the tour company to understand dietary importance.)
These above Argentinian and Brazilian sites offer translations. These and others offer venues that might be accessible for traveling celiacs to eat safely and possibly better than what was offered during our recent South American tour. For future celiac guests, it would be beneficial if a few eateries from Rio and Buenos Aires nearby the destination hotels could be identified to inform your gluten sensitive guests. Tour people know better than travelers which places are nearer than others. Since diet is the only medical way to cope with Celiac Disease, this step would sufficiently enhance a celiac’s visit to your countries.
Many celiacs have dietary issues other than Celiac so a diet can be more restrictive than some with Celiac alone. Celiacs have to avoid Wheat, Rye, Barley and Oats but fully appreciate good flavor, like all other travelers. Food should be part of the travel fun.
These conditions do not have to confine Gluten-Free travels for several reasons. I contact hotels and tour companies well in advance and confirm at several points prior to arrival that they expect to serve a gluten intolerant guest. If tour companies would release hotel emails, this would greatly simplify this step as it is not easy frequently to find emails directly to the hotels. If I had the tour guide’s name and email, I would email them directly to assure they have my information in time to prepare, in a timely manner. This makes guides and the company all look good. Frequently tour companies say one thing yet do a bit differently in forwarding such health information to their guides in a timely manner.
Food choices were not nearly as generous for Gluten-Free compared to the goods for “regular” guests but I was cared for, other than too much sugar – which causes other problems. Meat-eaters have much more variety, as was the case throughout Brazil and Argentina. If dairy is tolerated, the selections expand nicely. There really is no reason celiacs cannot eat well other than a lower level of preparation in the kitchen or by the company. If places even provide a range of vegetables (not just salad) – grilled and/or seasoned – that would be appreciated. There are wonderful Gluten-Free pastas, bakeries and breads available in both Rio and Buenos Aires. I was not offered these alternatives where the tour went as a group in Brazil or Argentina, although Internet sites indicate they are available.
Rio and Buenos Aires appear to eat a great deal more meat and much less vegetables. As a non-meat-eater, U.S. vegetarian’s daily diet is much richer in fiber, vegetables and fruits than I found were available where we were scheduled to visit. Some Gluten-Free foods I experienced in these two countries were flavorless or they tended to be overcooked, cool or dry. A best first step would be for the tour company and travel guide to exchange vital information about a celiac traveler at least one week BEFORE the first tour meeting. This gives the venues better lead time than guest showing up expecting to have Gluten-Free. It is most frustrating for celiacs to have completed all forms, requirements and requests, only to find out that same information was not transmitted in time to have Gluten-Free food available after a long flight or at any point along the way. It is impractical for celiacs to pack a week of food in a suitcase. This is one alternative if communication cannot be timely.
Stay tuned for part 3 of Kathleen’s story including where she ate throughout South America. For a sneak peek, check out Kathleen’s South American restaurant reviews on GlutenFreeTravelSite.