I’m excited to welcome back guest blogger Maria Roglieri, author of The Gluten-Free Guide To Italy and now The Gluten-Free Guide To France. I just know you’re going to le freak when you read this! N’est-ce pas?!
If you are planning a trip to France this summer, please take my newest handy guide with you, The Gluten-Free Guide to France (www.gfguidefrance.com) , which we just published after months of working with restaurant owners all over France. It will give you extensive information about:
-Restaurants: over 950 restaurants in France and over 200 in Paris
-Includes: addresses, types of cuisine, phone numbers, websites, and prices
-B&B and hotels that can accommodate gluten-free guests
-Health food stores
-A lot of vocabulary help
FRENCH WOMEN DON’T GET FAT
The coolest thing about traveling through France and gorging on delicious gluten-free desserts is that you will still magically lose weight during your trip! Seriously, you’re going to do so much walking that almost no matter how many desserts you consume you will lose weight! Good deal all around! Below are some of my favorite sweet discoveries.
Whenever and wherever I travel, I love to try the local desserts . If you are like me, you will be very, very happy in France! There are a number of desserts that are naturally gluten-free and easy to find all over France. Some of these you may have experienced before regardless of where you live, but of course, they are even better in France! Macaroons (macarons in French) come in all different flavors and colors.
Pain de Sucre
14 Rue Rambuteau (in the 3rd arrondissement, Le Marais)
Multiple locations in the 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, and 16th arrondissements.
Multiple locations in the 6th, 8th, and 9th arrondissements.
If you got excited about macarons, wait! Meringues can be even more exciting! The most amazing type of meringue is called a flottante: it is huge and bathed in creme anglaise. Yum!
And of course there’s always the infamous crème brûlée, mousse au chocolat, and chocolat chaud (hot chocolate). But have you heard of calissons which are very almondy and Mont-Blanc which has a lovely chestnut flavor? Ils sont délicieux!
You can find these desserts in a lot of places in Paris, including:
226 Rue de Rivoli
In the 1st arrondissement, Musée du Louvre/Les Halles
When ordering a calisson make sure to ask for the calisson that is made either “sans gluten” (“without gluten”–pronounced “son glutennn”), “sans pain azyme” (“without the wheat wafer”–pronounced “san pan azim”), or “avec pain de riz” (“with rice wafers”–pronounced “avek pan de riz”).
SWEET OR SAVORY CREPES
Even more exciting are the gluten-free crêpes in France called galettes de sarrasin which are made from 100% buckwheat flour (blè noir or farine de sarrasin).
When ordering a galette, make sure to ask for the ones that are sans gluten (“without gluten”–pronounced “son glutenn“) or avec sarrasin seulement (“with only buckwheat flour”–pronounced “avek sarasen selman”).
You can have crepes for dessert or even for a meal because you can enjoy many different fillings including ham, egg, mushrooms and cheese, and my personal favorite: Nutella! There are many restaurants in Paris and all over France called creperies that make only crepes, so go crazy!
Two of the most popular places in Paris to enjoy galettes are:
Aux Ducs de Bourgogne
30 Rue Bourgogne–in the 7th arrondissment, Eiffel Tower/Musee d’Orsay
In the 3rd arrondissement, Le Marais.
Our gluten-consuming friends haven’t really discovered buckwheat yet, but they will. Buckwheat is very high in fiber and protein, so this means you are actually eating a healthy dessert–enjoy and don’t feel guilty!
A GLUTEN-FREE BAKERY IN ETIVEY, BURGUNDY
If you find yourself in Etivey in the region of Burgundy, you MUST go to a bakery there that is exclusively gluten-free and uses a lot of buckwheat in their cookies.
Aux Biscuits d’Antoine
5, Petite rue, Etivey
This is perhaps the only gluten-free bakery in all of France and is well worth the trip. Some of the bio stores carry their cookies as well. Save up your euros because if you are like me, you will want to buy everything in this place!
4 KEY THINGS WE LEARNED WRITING THIS BOOK
1. French chefs know about cooking gluten-free, and most of them are willing to accommodate us. They have a number of gluten-free regular customers, and are not only willing to make something gluten-free, but are quite creative in what they do.
2. Many of these chefs would prefer that you request a gluten-free meal in advance. The advance notice will help them best prepare to serve you in terms of having fresh gluten-free ingredients on hand and being able to create a fabulous gluten-free meal.
3. A little French goes a long way. There aren’t as many English speakers around as one would hope, so in requesting a special meal, you may have to use some French–but not much!
I myself do speak some French, but when I started this project, I decided to speak to the restaurant owners entirely in English. I had to laugh when I asked for a gluten-free meal and got a polite but crazy response from one restaurant manager: “Why do you want a free meal?” In French, they don’t say “gluten-free”; instead, they say “without gluten”, or “sans gluten”. The minute I posed the question in French, I found that the restaurant staff was just wonderful–knowledgeable and very accommodating.
For those of you who don’t speak French, we’ve put all the vocabulary you could ever need into this book, with the help of some amazing native French speakers who aren’t gluten-free themselves, but wanted to make sure that we can enjoy their fabulous country and food without stressing. Merci beaucoup mes amis!
4. The French are quite proactive in recognizing gluten intolerance. This is evident in the name of their national society: Association des Intolerants au Gluten (AFDIAG). The number of celiacs in France is estimated to be pretty much the same as in other countries, although the number of actually diagnosed celiacs is comparatively somewhat lower.
Perhaps as a result of this lower diagnosis rate, the chefs may not be able to tell you exactly what celiac disease is, but they know how to deal with it. They may ask you, for example, if you are allergic to wheat–we know that that isn’t quite the definition of what we have. I have found that I get this question in talking to restaurant staff in New York as well as in France, and I answer the same way: “Yes” (or “Oui!”), because the results (a great gluten-free meal) are the same whether I agree to the word “allergy” or I explain what celiac disease or gluten neuropathy is. My doctor’s job is to understand the exact nature of my gluten sensitivity; my waiter’s/chef’s job is to understand the parameters of a gluten-free meal.
Understand they do, and the results are fantastic! The French have always been master chefs and when it comes to gluten-free, they outdo themselves! Many of them answered my query about getting a gluten-free meal with a “bien sur! Pas de problème!” (Of course! No problem!).
Enjoy your trip to France and especially enjoy the food. The landscape the history, the art, and the people of France are all wonderful, but the food is truly divine!