gluten-free Vienna

We have just returned from an incredible month of travel. Vienna, Prague, Berlin & Copenhagen in that order. I'm now going to give you the good, the bad and the ugly on each of these cities from the celiac perspective over the next couple of weeks. I'll start where we started... in Vienna. 

Unlike the other cities, here we were staying with our friends Andrew and Renu. This meant we had hosts who cooked, and knew the best places to shop, and dine when we ventured out for grub.

Viennese cafe food offers little for the gluten intolerant. Good coffee and wine though!
I hope you like eggs. Sometimes that was the best option on the menu as so many Viennese items are breaded (read: schnitzel)... that contamination (and disinterested wait staff) made me a bit skittish. 

I didn't suffer... we ate out at an international grocery store with an Indian meal counter called Prosi . If you haven't eaten a masala dosa - you are missing out hugely. Essentially a Dosa is an over-sized super thin crepe made of lentil and rice flour and stuffed with curried potatoes. I'll write more about these one day when I'm not talking about Vienna :).... the Viennese diet is not made for the likes of us. In this part of the world the diet revolves around breaded things and processed meat products.

We did have a terrific dinner out at a restaurant in the heart of Vienna. It was a beautiful venue, essentially an enormous greenhouse overlooking gorgeous gardens and historical buildings. I would certainly recommend Palmenhaus. Check out the link to see what I mean. I had a lovely salmon dinner with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Renu had a mixed grill seafood platter that was equally delicious and safe as our food was either grilled or roasted and very simply seasoned with oil and herbs.  Our server was gracious, patient and validated that my choice was a safe one.

what's with the wheat sheaf pattern on the box??!
You may be surprised to learn that my favourite find was the humble Wasa cracker. I did find it a little ironic that the graphic on the box is that of WHEAT FIELDS. However, they were a much enjoyed staple. I carted them in a sandwich bag (I packed these - very handy!) to eat on the road. These crackers are light and hardy. They went well with the omlettes :). I also never left the house without my sandwich bag full of trail mix and a couple of little wrapped cheeses that kept well in my bag.

no shortage of carbs to be found in the grocery store
Finally, fear not. Schar products are available in a number of the major super market chains (we were mainly in the chain called  BILLA). Somehow I found my self restraint and didn't go overboard on this stuff. I knew that I had a long trip ahead of me that would be full of temptation and I was determined not to overindulge in products that I can find on my home turf in Toronto. The Naschmarkt is a great outdoor market where you can to shop for fresh produce, fish, cheese olives and the like.  

In summary, you can most certainly eat safely and well here - with a little patience, preparation and some realistically set expectations. Go for the art, the architecture, the history and the cafes (which are gorgeous - and don't seem to mind if you lounge with your book all day!). We saw so many inspirational works. We walked more than 10km every day and made up for passing the gorgeous bakeries by celebrating the end of each day with a good (and cheap!) bottle of vino. Don't go to Vienna for the gluten-free grub... but certainly do go. Next stop Prague... where I'll tell you all about an amazing gluten-free restaurant :)


1 comment:

  1. Schar products are certainly my favourite out of any brands I've ever found. Unfortunately they are very expensive here :(
    We just came back from Singapore and I found it quite easy to manage Gluten free. I guess it helps that it's a rice based food culture!