Gluten Free France – Fat Chance
And fat was not going to happen in France. So as I mentioned yesterday, I went on a coach trip to the Loire valley with Mr P. and my mum – a winning combination ( ha ha). At the moment I am not eating anything with gluten, or sugar, or caffeine, or alcohol which makes the whole french experience a bit of a pig’s trotter really. I am a very difficult, but cheap date!
Every time we got to lunchtime, the charming courier would announce in his marvellous Lancastrian drawl, that there were lots of super take away options for lunch ‘ there’s a quaint little boulangerie round the corner where you can buy a delicious cheap baguette or a lovely piece of quiche’. Marvellous. So when all my fellow passengers were chomping through brie and ham salad baguettes and pastries piled with raspberries and myrtles, with paper cups of steaming strong french coffee, I would be racing round town trying to find a place that sold; what seems to be the only take away food I can eat in France … the carotte rappe… the translation being …yup…you guessed it! grated carrots. Take away food in France revolves around wheat, wheat, and more wheat…all bread and pastry. In good old London Town there is a lot more choice for the gluten intolerant.
It was torture. While they chomped their way through all these lunchtime goodies, mmming about how good it tasted I chomped my way through bits of old fruit and carrots that were lurking at the bottom of my rucksack, as the grated carrot shop always seemed to be closed at lunchtime. I ate a lot of cheese, ham and yoghurts for breakfast while others bathed in carb heaven with pancakes and maple syrup, pastries and 17 sorts of bread. I started to dream about my porridge ( not completely gluten free but a lot of ‘intolerants’ can deal with a bit of oat) mashed potatoes, gravy, suchi, brown rice, quinoa, hummous…. Funny though, as I noticed that organic food has finally made it to French supermarkets. I saw in Monoprix ( the French equivalent of Woolworths and a supermarket all rolled into one) that they had a ‘bio’ section. One of the hotel’s we stayed had an organic section at the breakfast table -mostly wheat products but hey ho you can’t have everything. Well there’s progress. Gluten free will come…it is just a matter of waiting it out. Until then I shall continue to pack carrots and a peeler, and hope they do not confiscate it at customs.
Strangely the only place I found take away gluten free food was on the Eurostar buffet car on the way home . It served organic porridge, and hot lentil stew with pork belly and sausage in a handy plastic pot….unbelievably yummy if you’re not a vegetarian.
SONG OF THE DAY – Prezel Logic -Steely Dan -Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald
a real gem of a live video from around 1991…….shivery.