For many a trip to Paris without tasting the croissants seems bizarre but all is the reality for the allergen-aware traveller. Travel and food have grown so synonymous with each other that it is difficult to have one without the other. From the floating food markets of Thailand to the café culture of Paris, food and travel go together like bread and jam. For the nut-free, celiac and lactose-intolerant traveller, a trip abroad navigating language barriers and menu lists can be a tricky one.
Cities abroad are a treasure-trove of restaurants and eateries offering authentic, local cuisine. The streets of Paris are speckled with cafés, bakeries and restaurants that all entice the foodie-traveller to experience the city through taste. For those travelling a dietary-restricted road, however, this is often difficult to do. One way to overcome this is to ensure background research is done back at home before you start to travel. Having a quick search to find out more about the local dishes on offer is crucial to arm you with the knowledge required for a hassle-free restaurant experience. Knowing dishes that are allergen-free and likely to be on a menu can save you from hassling restaurant experience.
In the same way, learning some key-words in the local language is a brilliant way to navigate the menus and restaurants abroad. Learning the French, Spanish or German for ‘milk’ and ‘gluten’ as well as that all important ‘no’ before it, can help no end in communicating your dietary requirements to waiting staff. It is not necessary to be fluent in a language to have a hassled and allergen free travel experience.
Whilst restaurants can have limited options for food-allergies, the supermarkets and shops offer a huge variety of options. A supermarket sweep in Europe may not seem like the most satisfying of culinary delights, a pulled-together picnic whilst people-watching in a beautiful city is a perfectly fine way to spend an evening.
Doing your research back home is often the best way to find out about specialised restaurants and shops abroad that can cater directly to your dietary needs. Though often more expensive to eat in these places, they offer a wide variety of choice and can give you peace of mind when eating abroad. It is in these shops and cafés, where the lactose-intolerant can taste an ice cream in warm Croatia, or the gluten-free croissant in Paris.
Travelling the world with your taste buds can be a great experience, but it is best to remember that it is not the be all and end all. A country’s cuisine can be experienced in a variety of ways and it is always better to be safe than sorry.