Sans Gluten, S'il Vous Plait?

Sarina Klein
September 27, 2016

Hello everyone!


It’s been awhile since my first post but don’t worry I’m still around! Amidst orientation, off-site excursions, picking classes and getting adjusted to life in Nantes I have been slaking on updating my blog. But now that I’m all settled in, I can’t wait to create more content to share with you all.

As you might be able to tell by the title, this post is about being gluten free in one of the most gluten-filled places on earth: France.

For those of you who don’t know much about me, I have Celiac Disease. Essentially, this means that I must adhere to a gluten free diet since my body cannot properly digest the protein that is most commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye.

This makes life a little bit more challenging in places like France where boulangeries and pâtisseries pop up on every street and the smell of freshly baked goods and sweet treats follow you as you walk through the city.

And to be honest, this was pretty hard at first when I was walking around town trying to find a quick bite and I had to pass by shop after shop because there was nothing that was safe for me to eat. And some days this is still a struggle but for the most part I’ve started to figure out how to manage my gluten free diet in France.

For me, the hardest meal to figure out was lunch. This is because for lunch I usually just want a grab-and-go option that isn’t too expensive and in France that tends to be a sandwich of some sort that you can get from pretty much any bakery or café. However, while I have found some bakery’s that sell gluten free bread, I have yet to find a bakery or café that makes and sells gluten free sandwiches.

While salads are generally a safe go-to alternative (although you have to watch out for the occasional croutons and pasta salads that aren’t always clearly labeled on menus), usually I crave something more than that. So, in order to satisfy my cravings, I’ve opted to make my lunches at the IES center which saves me both the stress of trying to find something I can (and want) to eat, as well as a few extra bucks that can go a long way when you’re studying abroad.

Pretty much every grocery store here sells some brand of gluten free bread allowing me to make sandwiches with the fillings of my choosing and I can even find other gluten free treats like cookies and Madeleines.

Another cool thing that I realized is that the region I’m staying in is probably one of the best for a gluten free diet.

This is because Nantes is located in the region of Brittany, or Bretagne, which is a region with a lot of buckwheat (sarrasin or blè noir) and home of the galette.

Now what is a galette you may ask?

The simple answer is delicious.

But, more specifically, a galette is like a crêpe that is made from buckwheat which is naturally gluten free. Generally, galettes are used for more savory dishes as opposed to dessert-type dishes but when in Nantes, or pretty much anywhere else in Bretagne, you can almost always order a galette in place of a crêpe if you want a sweet treat. And the best part is that galettes are super easy to come by in the region because crêperies are almost just as common as pâtisseries. However, as always, there is risk of contamination if these products are made in a facility that uses gluten but so far I haven’t had any problems and look forward to enjoying many more galettes during my stay in Nantes.

Aside from galettes, some other sweet gluten free treats that I enjoy are French Macarons, which are made from almond flour, and either gelato or ice cream which are both pretty safe, and always delicious, go-to’s of mine.

Overall, being gluten free in France isn’t too bad. And, contrary to what my mom might think, I’m actually eating, and eating a lot.

Although, I do admit that I miss the plentiful gluten free options available in the U.S. that I may have taken for granted before coming here. It is definitely a bit easier to deal with my diet back home where every restaurant seems to have a gluten free menu and the hype over gluten free products has made them readily available pretty much everywhere.

But for the most part, when eating out here there is always at least one gluten free dish on a menu at a restaurant or café, and, when there’s not, I’ve learned to just explain my dietary needs and ask if there are any options for me and usually when I have to do this, the servers are pretty nice about it and try to make accommodations.

So, if you’re like me and you have to adhere to a gluten free diet, do not fear about traveling in France. While it may be a challenge from time to time, it is definitely possible and there are always options.


A bientôt!

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Sarina Klein

<p>Hello everyone! My name is Sarina and I from California but attend the University of Portland. I am&nbsp;currently&nbsp;studying&nbsp;Organizational Communications and French. I love to explore new places, whether that be a new country or a new coffee shop. Additionally, I love all things Disney and Harry Potter related and I&nbsp;am known for occasionally&nbsp;bursting out into song (especially camp songs).&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></p>

Home University:
University of Portland
Francophone Studies
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