During our vacation we visited three countries, namely Austria, Croatia and the Czech republic. The glutenfree experiences vary so much between these three countries that I will devote a post to each. The last one will contain information on the Czech republic, specifically Liberec and Prague.
Before the vacation I did some (glutenf)research. For Croatia I had already visited Dubrovnik and knew that as long as you’re not vegetarian there usually are plenty of options and that there is a lot of knowledge on the gluten free diet. As I speak German fluently I also wasn’t too worried about visiting Austria. The Czech republic on the other hand… I couldn’t find a lot of positive news online. Mostly stories about how the glutenfree diet was not very well known yet and especially going out to dinner could be a real issue. Thus before leaving Croatia I re-stocked gluten free supplies so that I had plenty of back-ups in case the food would indeed be difficult.
One of the first things we did upon arrival in Liberec was go to the supermarket. Different country, different words for gluten free/ without gluten and unfortunately also different brands so we had to start the recon from scratch. Ironically there were products with Dutch or English labels both in Croatia and in the Czech republic yet there were labels stuck over them so we could no longer read them. The supermarket that we visited was gigantic, even for American standards it was big! Thus it didn’t surprise me they had an allergy friendly section, the portion that was dedicated to gluten free products on the other hand was astounding! Approximately 1/3 of the entire isle was gluten free! From baking mixes to cookies, to bread, and mainly things or brands we don’t have in the Netherlands. Unfortunately I only figured out after getting back into a wifi zone that gluten free wheat starch is often used but luckily was only present in a few of the products I chose.
During our stay we made a day-trip to Prague. The city was a little less impressive after visiting Vienna but oh my……, I got glutenfree bread there which tasted like how I remember fresh bread tasted! It was so heavenly, delicious, mouth-watering good! They also had (cup)cakes and cookies which were good but this bread, this was simply the best glutenfree bread I have ever had! The shop (The sweetlife Gluten free) is very small and you would walk straight past it if you are not looking for it but just for the bread I would already want to return to Prague!
We also found an ice cream store which had gluten free cones! Since we just happened to walk by this ice cream parlour and in my enthusiasm to start eating I completely forgot to write down the name. So sorry, but for the more adventurous it’s there; you just have to find it!
In Liberec we went out to dinner once. We chose an Irish restaurant in the hope that they would speak English, which they did a little. Yet with the help of the gluten free passport (in Czech this time) we managed to communicate and I got a delicious meal. There were only a few options but with a little flexibility and creativity from the chef the food turned out great. The quality of the food (both mine and those of the other people at the table) was outstanding. Unfortunately a glutenfree dessert was not an option but they gave me a fork and plate so I could eat the cake I bought at the Sweetlife Gluten free that afternoon.
The expectations for the Czech republic were not very high but I must say I am not disappointed. Preparations make life easier so download a gluten free passport and also check the words for gluten free wheat starch if you can’t tolerate this. If you go out to eat I would definitely advise to always take something with you because it occurred more than once that they couldn’t offer me more than just a broth. From the three countries we visited the Czech republic is definitely the one where it’s good to always have back-up food, but if there is a gluten free option then it most likely is going to taste really good!