Berlin has truly spoilt me as a coeliac, and so I find it is all too easy to want to stick with Germany as a holiday destination. France was not an option I had really considered, when I think of France my mind conjures images of baguettes, croissants, cheese’s etc.
On top of this, my German speaking skills just about get me through whilst there. My French however, is nothing to shout about. The tiny amount I remember from school, is not particularly helpful (I don’t think anybody wants to know what my favourite school subject used to be)
Trying to find a cheap last minute holiday, left limited choices. Toulouse seemed like the best option, which left me with the difficult task of finding places I could eat and buy food from.
Landing quite late on a Thursday, meant food shopping was not an option.
The next day we had an Escape Room booked (would definitely recommend) after this it was a case of wandering around to try and find a place I could get some food items from. Randomly stumbling across a ‘Biocoop’ on the Boulevard Lazare Carnot. This is effectively an Organic food shop, it was similar inside to Holland & Barrett here in the U.K.
Next was the dreaded hunt reading ingredients in French and hoping I could spot any ‘bad’ ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of shelves all containing food items that were ‘Sans Gluten’, a lot of these products also had English ingredients on the back. The ones that didn’t were fairly
straight forwards to read.
There was a very large selection of cakes, biscuits, cereals, pastas, breads etc. In fact there was more in this shop than there is in most smaller Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s etc here.
I refrained from buying too much at this point as I had read about a shop that was meant to be brilliant for gluten free. ‘Parapharmacie Lafayette’ was mentioned on a few gluten free blogs, naturally we headed here next.
Walking into the shop we were stopped by a security guard who ushered us to what appeared to be a ‘cloak room’ for bags, we were made to give over our bags, and in exchange get a number tag (yes, like a night club) this was extremely odd and left us feeling a bit perplexed at why we had to deposit our bags into this cloak room, and yet some people were strolling round the shop with large handbags.
We quickly found the gluten free section, which again contained lots of pastas, cakes, breads etc. I believe there was a better selection at the Biocoop than here, and at least there we didn’t have security guards making us feel uncomfortable (or have to hand our bags over.)
I did purchase a box of cereal from here however, which consisted of flakes and large pieces of dried fruit. Unfortunately I’ve now run out of this, which I am gutted as it was delicious.
Coming across a shopping centre on our walk back, we found another small supermarket (unsure what the name was it just had a picture on the front of the building) this had a limited amount of gluten free items. There was lots of bits scattered, around the shop with their gluten filled counterparts.
What I did notice, was unfortunately Cashew milk does not appear to be a thing, and it was a struggle to find dairy free butter.
Eating out, was the next mission!
Yard – La Burger Factory, was the first place I found with several reviews commenting on the gluten free buns etc. Being a huge burger lover, naturally this was my first choice.
The place was easy to find, being fairly near to the Cathedral and other food places. Take note, that it closes during the afternoon before re-opening at 19:00.
We ended up eating here three times, and had no issues getting an outside table immediately. There is limited seating outside, but a lots of seats inside (as also appears there is a downstairs level).
The menu, was all in french however with a little help from a translator on our phones we got what we needed. I went for a Staten Island burger with a gluten free bun. This one contained goats cheese rather than cow, and it was much easier going for one that included it (rather than trying to ask them to swap bits)
Service was extremely quick, and the burgers were quickly brought out not long after ordering. Burgers were served medium as standard, and were delicious. Three times, we visited here and the burgers were fantastic on every visit as were the chips.
There was a gluten free dessert mentioned on the menu, however I believe this may have been chocolate mousse. So not suitable for those who are dairy intolerant.
Pastel et Sarrasin
The other place we ate out for lunch at, was Pastel et Sarrasin which was a creperie. We chose this one, as Sarrasin means buckwheat, and this place specialised in buckwheat galettes. The waitress assured me that their galettes are gluten free and made from buckwheat.
I went for a galette filled with goats cheese, sun dried tomato and pesto with a herb sorbet.
It was absolutely amazing.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how many items I found available to buy in shops. Eating out was a lot more difficult and I feel we were quite limited, but my lack of French speaking skills didn’t help this.
Unfortunately I did end up getting ‘glutened’ on this trip, by a bottle of wine we bought. So in future I will be avoiding the wines, however I would definitely recommend going for a place with a kitchen as there is lots available and I no longer fear the idea of going to France as a Coeliac!
Toulouse was architecturally interesting, and we loved walking around seeing the places. The fact that there was lots of places that sold gluten free items (even if only a couple of basics) was a huge plus.
In fact I found more convenience stores that sold a few cakes, breads etc here than back home.