I have recently been exposed to the problem of gluten allergies or intolerances and I understand how difficult it is to travel if you suffer from one of these. So to help those who need to avoid eating gluten but don’t want to give up on their active lifestyles I decided to post gluten-free friendly guides to cities I visit too. I hope this will help to raise awareness to the problem also.
I am starting with few tips for those who would like to travel to Provence but are afraid that their dietary requirements will limit their options there.
Good news is that there is no need to worry – most of the restaurants owners take a lot of pride in their places, they know well what goes into their food and will try to offer and serve you dishes you can eat. They are also often aware and understanding of the problem already so don’t be shy with mentioning about your gluten intolerance.
The meal you will have most problems with, especially if you want to eat it out, is breakfast. The French love starting their day with a baguette or croissant and it’s hard to find any other option unless you are fine with just coffee au lait.
We haven’t found any supermarket or shop with a ‘free from’ section either so it’s probably best to take your gluten-free breads and cereals with you and eat in your apartment.
The food markets like Wednesday market in Tourrettes-sur-Loup or opened daily Condamine Market in Monaco offer a wonderful selection of fruits, perfect for un petit-dejeuner.
We have also found a great, naturally gluten-free (san gluten label on the packaging) Provençal gateaux with almonds from Albert Ménès. It’s available also with chocolate and lemon and they are truly delicious. Many larger supermarkets will stock it in their cake sections (it is properly sealed so there is no risk of cross-contamination). We bought few of them to take home as gifts for our friends on gluten-free diets as well.
Socca, most popular street food in southeaster France, is also naturally gluten free. Made with chickpea and olive oil only it tastes great with a little bit of fresh pepper and a cold glass of rose. My favourite socca stand is a little corner bar at the Condamine Market in Monaco, next to the ‘Le Zinc’ bar It does sell other products containing gluten but they are prepared and baked separately. There are many places in Nice and its neighbourhood selling socca only if you rather.
For bigger meals try Auberge des Seigneurs in Vence. The owners, a nice French family, work in their restaurant every day and take a lot of pride to accommodate the needs of all their customers. Their speciality, spit-roasted meat made directly in the dinning room, may be serve with ingredients containing gluten but they will be happy to give you an appropriate replacement.This is so typical for restaurants across Provence – they won’t just remove the ingredient you can’t eat from you plate but will make sure you receive something else instead.
Your desert options are famous selection of flavoured crème brûlée (double check if there is no risk of cross contamination) or cheeses – probably the best cheese plate we ever had in Provence!
You will feel very comfortable at La Cave de Tourrettes as well although the menu is quite limited. The owners will make sure to find you food you can eat and will replace your bread with a nice omelette salad.
During our recent visit they remembered about our sans gluten diets each time we went there. Plus their selection of wines is definitely one of the best in the region.
If you prefer to cook for yourself just search for local butchers or shops like Boucherie-Charcuterie-Rotisserie at 2 Avenue des Anglais in Beaulieu-sur-Mer or Epicerie Fine Basque (Marché de la Condamine in Moncao) offering the best Pata Negra ham and wonderful chesses. We checked that both places are friendly for people with gluten intolerances.
For more information about what to do in Provence check our earlier posts here.