No this is not some righteous blog about gluten being a sin, it’s about our holiday to Lanzarote where ‘Sin Gluten’ i.e gluten free, became a buzz word for our children to find on menus and in restaurants.
Before we got there the small matter of navigating the commute which typically entails packing some snacks in hand luggage. Flying business class and having the use of the BA Lounge at Gatwick Airport we bravely dispensed with this tradition. That was the first mistake! The breakfast offering didn’t include anything for ‘coeliacs’ other than fruit or water. A very embarrassed employee apologised and said he could do was offering some snacks that would be available for the lunchtime offering. Brownies for breakfast anyone? He also suggested that we complain to BA as he is always getting asked for gluten free food. In a rather excited manner he did say lunch would be served at 12 and that salad would be available. Yay!
The flight fared slightly better. The pre-ordered meal was perfectly adequate if unimaginative from a pudding perspective with the ubiquitous fruit salad arriving. Interestingly on both flights, we were offered a bread roll with the meal; the look on our faces must have subliminally conveyed our thoughts as the offer was hastily withdrawn with a “Oh, yes sorry about that”.
Once in Lanzarote, a quick trip to the Supermacado helped stock the shelves of the villa’s pantry with some sin gluten products. Schär was very well represented in a lot of shops as were other brands that you can find in the UK. Daura Damm beer was a very welcome find! Generally speaking the volume of products that were sin gluten in the shops was up on what it would be in similar stores in the UK. Based on the number of times our kids shouted out sin gluten, it felt like every product was!
Eating out was a bit hit and miss. In some establishments, the response was an emphatic “no”. In others, they had gluten free options but clearly had not considered cross contamination, something was evident giving you could witness the food preparation in the open kitchens. Conversely there was some notable successes; one restaurant had embraced allergen awareness by colour coding their whole menu and another, Restaurant La Ola in Puerto del Carmen, whose manager waxed lyrical about their totally separate kitchen prep area which they only open/use for preparing meals for ‘coeliacs’. He went on to say that not only is it a separate area, but that they separate cooking implements, sauces, spices etc were used. Whilst this of course could have been an elaborate tale, if nothing else it demonstrated an understanding of Coeliac Disease. We did however raise an eyebrow on one label….surely ‘sin glutenfree’ is the same as a double negative and would mean ‘without glutenfree’!
The overall eating out experience mirrored that of here in the UK. You need to do your due diligence. We live by the mantra that “you pay’s your money”. It probably comes as no surprise therefore that BA was better than Monarch and Delta who we have flown with in the last 12 months and that the two best restaurants were the most expensive of those we visited.
Now that we’re back from holiday, we’re cracking back on with the opening of our commercial kitchen in between doing our usual markets….hopefully the next holiday won’t be far away, I think we’re going to need it.