Saturday, April 12, 2008

All inclusive resorts and travelling

It's been a while since I've posted - seems like March just flew by. We have a family tradition of going south in March, and this year we went down to Club Med in the Bahamas.

I thought a little post about travelling and being a Celiac might start a good discussion on resorts to go to, travel tips, etc.

Firstly - when travelling I always try to bring my own food on the plane. You can easily make a GF sandwich, pack some snacks, and buy something to drink at the airport. On many flights I've been promised GF food, and they forget, give it to someone else by accident, or like many flights now, don't even offer a GF option. (It seems to be more common that you have to purchase a meal on the flight, and there is little (if anything) that is gluten-free.)

We've been to a variety of resorts, from Club Med, Sandals, Iberostar, and others. Although we like to experiment, time and time again we come back to Club Med for their food. Both my mother and I are Celiacs and have had good experiences at Club Med. Usually the staff speak English very well, and you can always talk to the head chef about the buffet.

On a few occasions, the chef walked my mother and I through the buffet and let us know what we could and couldn't eat. I also had soup on a few nights (they used cornstarch to thicken it), but on other nights they specifically said that wheat flour was used. My rule of thumb is always to ask.

Of course, being at Club Med does pose its challenges: they have a pastry chef on staff and amazing chocolate bread! (I remember how good these treats were from before I was diagnosed.)

Of the week we were there, we visited the buffet and both specialty restaurants. Neither my mother or I ever got sick, and we always ate very well.

I've also been on a couple cruises, and my mother has been on many through Princess. They've always tried to accommodate the GF-diet by having gluten free meal options and even gluten-free bread (usually just 'ok', but the fact that it's available is amazing).

I think they do a terrific job, but on a ship that large with so many staff and guests, things sometimes get lost in the mix. As an example, on my mother's last cruise they presented her meal, and she got half way through before they returned and said there was wheat in the sauce. She got very sick that evening...

As for other resorts we've been to, they usually have enough options that I can manage to eat GF for a week. Sticking to the basics is always a good bet - grilled fish, salads, etc. But it's nice to just not worry about it while on vacation. If you're heading to Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, etc. - knowing a little Spanish goes a long way. But if you stick to the larger resorts like Club Med, usually the chefs all speak English and also French.

If you have any travelling tips or good resort destinations, please feel free to comment.

1 comment:

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