All posts tagged: coeliac travel


Gluten Free in Lisbon: Portuguese custard tarts, McDonald’s & piri piri chicken

I’ve been in Lisbon for the past week; hiking up hills, hurtling up and down cobbled streets on the 28 tram, and admiring the view from 16th century palaces and castles. Oh, and eating as many gluten free portuguese custard tarts (‘natas’) as possible. I was holidaying with my boyfriend, David. We stayed in a cute little Airbnb in the up and coming former sailor’s playground of Cais do Sodre. Think bars that used to be brothels mixed with pavement pastelarias, stout old ladies peeking out from their balconies watching the young hipsters move in. We fell in love with Lisbon. It has a brilliant mix of old and new; centuries-old monuments and fortresses but also a bang up to the minute food scene, and more nightlife than you can shake a nata at. I’ll be honest, I found eating gluten free in Lisbon quite a bit harder than eating gluten free in London. Coeliac disease and the gluten free diet do not seem to be all that well known in Portugal, and it is not common for restaurants …


Gluten Free in Sicily – Coeliac heaven in Marina di Ragusa

You might imagine that pizza and pasta-loving Italy wouldn’t be very coeliac-friendly, but Sicily was the easiest gluten free holiday I’ve ever had. Back in June, my boyfriend David and I set off for Marina di Ragusa, Sicily, armed with my coeliac restaurant cards, emergency snacks and a list of gluten free restaurants. We needn’t have worried. In Sicily, I didn’t once have to explain what gluten was. I didn’t feel like I had to apologise for ‘bothering’ staff about gluten, or explain that I wasn’t a fad dieter when asking about cross-contamination. Even though my Italian is rudimentary at best, I barely needed to use my Coeliac translation card. 99% of the time, all I had to do was mention that I was ‘senza glutine’ or ‘lo sono celiaco’, and staff would nod in recognition, and point me to exactly the things that I could eat. It seems that the ‘gluten free fad diet’ hasn’t made it to Sicily; when you ask for gluten free, the assumption is that you have a medical need for it. It was awesome. David …