Since I took the plunge and went to Sweden two years ago I have since travelled more than I had in the previous ten years. Milan followed Sweden, then a trip to London for something other than work. There was a fabulously sunny short break in Barcelona last November, then a once in a lifetime treat of four glorious days in Marrakech and most recently a long weekend in Hamburg for my cousins wedding.
I have discovered that I won’t necessarily starve for the want of gluten free food when I travel so I have become more confident and my old desire to travel has resurfaced with a vengeance. These have all be short breaks but I am ready for something longer and more adventurous. As someone who never liked to sit in the sun I have been converted to the soul lifting pleasure of waking to a bright sunny day, breakfasting on a warm terrace and swimming in a pool that is bathwater warm by sundown.
Each country has its own little gluten free revelation, Marrakech had a dense gluten free almond meal cake which was served instead of bread and slathered with butter and preserves it was perfect with strong black coffee. It was also the country where every desert menu had several options of panna cotta, each one more tremblingly perfectly set than the last and all gluten free.
In Hamburg it was the grocery store below the apartment where my cousin and her new husband graciously ignored the contents of five make up bags that were strewn about their home for the duration of the few days they welcomed us in to their home. This grocery store had a fruit and vegetable section that was the equivalent of a fancy farmers market back here in Ireland with a huge variety of high quality produce, there were wild mushroom, heirloom tomatoes, green and white asparagus, artichokes and nestled around a gurgling water feature a miniature forest of fresh herbs.
There was an in-house bakery with a beguiling aroma, a bewildering amount of cheese and charcuterie and best of all for me an extensive gluten free range. Most of the products were from the Schar range, and I would dearly love for them to extend the range they export to Ireland to include the Landesbrot which was soft and flavoursome with no need for toasting. There were several different varieties of bread and crackers and in the freezer section there were frozen GF croissants, pre made lasagne, ice cream cornetto’s, fish fingers, chicken goujons and large sharing sized pizzas as well as mini versions.
Organising breakfast involved nothing more taxing then walking downstairs to the store, picking up some tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs, bacon and GF bread and heading back to the kitchen. Eating out was a bit more difficult but there are places to eat, the best fun was Brazilian restaurant that was all meat roasted on skewers served with vegetable sides, rice and beans and there is usually a baked potato and sour cream lurking somewhere on a German menu. The hotel where they held the wedding reception sent over a basket of the best gluten free bread rolls I have ever tasted, I am seriously going to contact the hotel to get the name of the supplier. For brunch on our last sunny morning I packed up some GF Landesbrot and walked to a local brunch place for scrambled eggs and home fries, we checked in advance and they had no issue with me bringing my own bread since they didn’t have any in house. Sitting outside with a huge mug of coffee, enjoying the sun with my sisters and cousins I realised that this is why people travel, to see people who live abroad, to enjoy good weather and different cultures and just to relax and as long as I have some emergency GF crackers or bread in my bag to stave off any hunger pangs I am going to travel a lot more in the future.