Gluten Free in Paris, France – Day 1

My youngest and I caught the red eye from the states to Paris, where we were to meet up with my oldest daughter, who is doing study abroad in Italy. You can read about our eating gluten free in Florence by clicking ‘HERE‘.

A couple of tips:

1. Find out if your airline will serve you the option of Gluten Free. We pre-ordered and Delta airlines was extremely good about serving us gluten free. (I discovered on our return trip home, that we had a MUCH nicer afternoon snack than the regular passengers do) Along with the GF meal we were served a pre-packaged of Udi’s dinner roll for the dinner flight (I am assuming here, the airlines have consistency among the red-eye meal choices, and are similar from flight to flight), which we stuffed into our bags which came in very handy later on. (see my post on Versailles)

2. Pack some protein bars, nuts or dried fruit. As I mentioned in ‘Gluten Free in Italy‘, there really is no street food for grab and go meals, and La Guardia really had nothing but a Starbucks fruit&nut bar. It was handy to have protein bars as an emergency back up, instead of walking around starving. Also, being stranded on a ‘transfer’ flight is stressful enough without having to try and find something to eat in a foreign country, with dietary issues in a limited amount of time between flights. You can put some in your luggage, but also keep a couple on hand for emergencies.

We arrived at our hotel, Residence Hotel Foch, which was cozy, comfy and quaint, having excellent service. Natalie, at the front desk brought us a cafe au lait while we waited for our room, which they kindly were letting us gain access to early! While we waited for my oldest to arrive, we cleaned up and then took a brief tour around the neighborhood. This is a lovely neighborhood, very close to the Arc De Triomphe, and Port Malliot with RER, Metro, and airport transportation buses. Its’ more residential, so it was blissfully quiet at night, perfect for a restful nights sleep after long days of walking the city.

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(the view from our room overlooked a quiet courtyard)

When our third member arrived, we headed off to walk up the Arc De Triomphe, and then sat down for an early dinner. We stopped at a little bistro on the Champs Elysée called Le Touring (appropriately named, since it was surrounded by motorcycle & bicycle shops), and they were very accommodating of our need for Gluten Free. They served us potato chips instead of bread, which was just fine by us. Hang on to them and order the Paté de Fois Gras as an appetizer! They will bring bread for those who can eat it, but my daughters used their chips to eat the paté. (I apologize that these food photos here are dark, as I was just learning how to use my new camera, and out of respect for others dining experience, I don’t use a flash)

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We then ordered Duck:

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This duck was served with a green peppercorn sauce. Be aware, this sauce is NOT gluten free!! Above it is served on the side, but to be safe, I would just request no sauce, or sauce on the side. Typically anything from the hollandaise family are ok. Bernaise is fine as well as Meunière. You will find most french sauces off limits, since they use flour to thicken. Also, I found that in all over Paris, “medium-rare” is blood rare. I had to send my duck back to be fired off a bit more. If you like American medium-rare, order medium and it will be perfectly pink on the inside but not raw.

My most sensitive daughter ordered chicken. French roasted chicken is delicious!:

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Another plus, in France, they don’t flour their Pommes Frites!! (french fries) So they are perfectly safe to eat. Just check with your establishment, but my daughter ate them everywhere we went and had no issues. (Those who are sensitive to frying oils shared with floured items might want to steer clear. But I doubt much that much, if anything, fried in the fryer had flour. The french just do not have American fried food as an option. Their starters are pates, steak tartare, smoked fishes and cheese plates. I don’t recall seeing any jalapeño poppers, chicken nuggets or chicken wings of any sort. And my daughter cannot eat food fried in a shared fryer and she was fine. Like I said in my previous posts, if you are celiac, please check in advance of leaving as to what your options are)

And then our third dish was pan seared Veal Chop, YUM!

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The sauces were off limits for the girls, but my point here is to show you foods you can eat. Just be sure to request your dish with no sauce unless you are absolutely sure. Many establishments in the city understand ‘Sans Gluten’ and will work to be accommodating. Also, many dishes in Paris have fries as a side, sometimes salad, but are more often – a la carte. So, be sure to order greens.

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It was a good start to Paris. A yummy, that is for sure.


Gluten Free in Florence, Italy – Day 2

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After a full day of walking the Boboli Gardens at the Medici Palace (Villa Medici), and Accademia Gallery which houses the statue of Michelangelo’s David, exploring the boutiques in the side streets, we found ourselves back in a piazza near my daughter’s apartment looking for gluten free dinner options. We were initially headed for a little place she had been wanting to try when we passed this Ristorante, and I mentioned to the girls how good the mussels looked on someones plate, as we had passed through earlier that day. We stopped to check the menu, and a kind gentlemen came over to ask if we were hungry. We let him know his menu looked good but we had gluten intolerance (senza glutine) issues. Well, well, well…comes to pass they had new ownership and had incorporated ‘senza glutine’ as part of their menu, which is why my daughter had not noticed it prior.

It was still fairly temperate from the warm day (in march, it can be quite cool, but we lucked out on beautiful weather) so chose to sit outside, since the Piazza della Signoria is beautiful with statues everywhere and a giant fountain that is lit at night.

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We had a wonderful meal and all our dishes were delicious. My daughters ordered a gluten free pizza that was absolutely killer to die for. The crust, unlike american GF, was soft, tender and flavorful. (American GF tends to be like a cracker or at the very least, chewy or crispy). Italian pizzas are not like american, where quantity seems to be preferred over quality. This pizza had high quality toppings which shined in its simplicity. I will take a pizza like this any day over the cheese laden gut bombs in good ole USA. I’m not knocking American pizza, its just that it is very different and if you travel expecting it to be the same, you will be disappointed. But then, if you travel expecting it to be like ‘home’, you are missing the point of traveling.

Pancetta & Mushroom (Fungi) GF Pizza:

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I asked the waiter if he had a antipasti he recommended, and he brought me this beautiful platter with fresh greens, juicy sweet little tomatoes, prosciutto, salami and two little crostini, one with a savory mushroom topping, the other a traditional bruschetta. The quality was excellent, and the meats could be shared with the girls :

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For our Secondi, the girls went for pasta, and I got the wild boar. I tasted theirs, they tasted mine. All were amazing, the pasta was perfectly cooked, the sauces were simple but complex in flavor. I know a good sauce, and these were made from scratch, well balanced and flavors fully developed. Bolognese sauce can be amazing or gross, depending upon the skill and time put in to making the sauce. This was amazing. (3 amazings…yes, it really was that delicious! Sorry for the half eaten plate, the girls were diving in to it before I could grab my camera!) Notice how it’s not sauce heavy? That is the way it should be served.

GF Pasta Bolognese:

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My Wild Boar:

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Doesn’t that look so yummy you want to eat the screen??? I know, and trust me, it was! Please be adventurous! Wild boar is a local favorite, and it’s hard to go wrong ordering what the locals eat.

I don’t have a dessert to recommend, other than panna cotta here. But with so many gelato stores nearby, it’s not a hardship. I would highly recommend a grappa to go with your espresso! They have a lovely selection here by the glass. I had the waiter recommend one for me, based on my after dinner drink tastes.

While I was searching the internet for appropriate links, I saw some negative reviews by american tourists of this place. I will reiterate that this Ristorante is under new ownership, and they are very proud of the new menu and quality of food they serve. I found the waiter and staff to be helpful, charming and well versed on their menu. An important point to make is that this place is unlike other eateries we visited throughout our trip. This one did NOT have the service included, so they DID run on tips. Some might be put off by the waiter informing them of this, but please, do not be offended. They are merely letting you know that the tip is not automatically included in the price, as it is in most establishments. Therefore, it is up to you to tip. In the rest of the places we ate they had “Service Compris” which means they automatically add in 15%. Many travel guides warn tourists to not tip because you end up double tipping. I am a fan of tipping over service charge added, because if service is excellent (or terrible), I can compensate accordingly. We had excellent service, so I tipped generously. Besides, my daughter lives around the corner, and she would be back for pizza!

If you are passing through Piazza della Signoria, I highly recommend stopping in.

Ristorante Cavallino

Piazza della Signoria
Florence 50122
Italy  Tel: 39 055 215818