Gluten-Free in the UK: My Trip to Scotland, Part 1

Although I touched briefly upon my gluten-free experiences in the United Kingdom, I have not expanded upon it yet!

As I mentioned before, traveling scares me. It scares a lot of people who have a gluten intolerance, because we do not know when we can find something gluten-free, in some situations. (I still do not know how anyone with Celiac’s Disease can travel outside the United States.) I felt so guilty when I had to practice saying “I am allergic to gluten” in Polish, words that they most likely did not hear that often. But my friend (who currently resides in Glasgow) re-assured me that there would be plenty of GF options for me to choose from.

Boy, was she right.

As I stumbled off of a plane and through the Customs counter at 7:30 am local time, I saw my wonderful friend, waiting for us on the other side. Not only did she meet us at the airport, but she went to the grocery store and bought me gluten-free goodies to try the second I arrived. After taking a jetlag-induced nap, we awoke to a trip to the Willow Tea Rooms. Although we were delirious from our jetlag (I don’t remember part of the day), I do remember reading that any of the small finger-food sandwiches come with a gluten-free bread option instead of the usual bread. For no extra charge. I can’t guarantee that there was no cross-contamination, since I do not have Celiac’s Disease, but I can attest that the sandwiches I ate were gluten-free and delicious!

The Willow Tea Rooms also sold a freshly made meringue with hand-whipped cream and fresh fruit. It was absolutely divine. I loved it so much that I wanted it again on my birthday celebration/our last day in the UK. My absolutely wonderful boyfriend ran across town to get it for me as a surprise during our lunch. I love him.

Digging into the meringue, I still dream about it

Digging into the meringue, I still dream about it

Overall, I found food to eat at almost every restaurant we visited. There were a few places that did not seem to abide or give any options; at one point while we were on our 3-day tour of the Highlands, I could only eat a small, baked potato for lunch because there were no other gluten-free options. (I was famished and very cranky by the end of the day.) However, the metropolitan areas of Glasgow and Edinburgh offered many gluten-free options. I was also very fortunate that I traveled with my gluten-conscious boyfriend and best friend! They always checked the menus to see if there was something I could possibly eat before entering a restaurant. It really did make the trip enjoyable. 🙂

In general, those are my experiences with going gluten-free in the UK! Part 2 will discuss finding food in the grocery stores. 🙂 Stay tuned!