WHY I LOVE & HATE GOING ON HOLIDAY WITH COELIAC DISEASE

January 19, 2017

One of the best things about going on holiday is the opportunity to relax and try new things.

Food’s definitely up there in my top 3.

So when I got the opportunity to have a few days off, I jumped at the chance to go to Cornwall.

If you’re going to the seaside then chances are you can’t wait to try the local catch of the day. Accompanied by the crispiest of chips and a glass of cool white wine, this is the life.

But when you’ve got Coeliac Disease, eating out all the time can become really draining.

You don’t get any time off from having to ask a billion questions about the way your food’s been cooked.

Worst of all, everyone you’re with has to be okay with the place that can offer gluten-free food. If there’s nothing on the menu, everyone has to move on.

So it was a fabulous surprise to find that all the places I went to in Cornwall were so accommodating.

The Little Bo Cafe had gluten-free bread and offered any sandwich on the menu. And they completely understood about cross-contamination, promising nothing would come into contact with gluten. The only thing that surprised me was the fact I couldn’t find any advertising on their gluten-free options. I’d have put it on the sign outside, on the menus and straight on the website!

Next came an amazing seafood place where they not only sold the fish but all the accompaniments as well. To go with our sea bream we came out with a stack of samphire, two limes and a jar of spices.

If you’re looking for something extra special, the Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar in Newlyn will do you proud. Set next to a beautiful bridge over a stream, the place offers a delicious range of dishes and can easily adapt to your gluten-free needs. The staff are also LOVELY.

The only downside to being Coeliac was on the final day. Suddenly, the magic of Cornwall’s gluten-free prowess disappeared (along with the weather). I was told in Pels of St Ives that they used the same plate for frying gluten-free food as non-gluten-free and that “90% of Coeliacs are fine with this – you must be really sensitive”.

A word of caution to all cafe or restaurant owners: please don’t patronise Coeliacs. We know far more about our health than you do and it never helps to be told otherwise. If gluten used your stomach as a punching bag every day then you’d be ‘sensitive’, too.

Thankfully, a lovely place down the road called The Balcony Bar was able to adjust pretty much anything on their breakfast menu (although no gluten-free bread substitute so I did feel a bit like I was on the Atkins diet).

Later, I tried going to a couple of places (such as Bumbles Tea Room) that advertised gluten-free cream teas but both had run out. I wondered if I ought to have notified them in advance I’d need gluten-free.

Either way, it didn’t matter too much. I’d had a fabulous few days of gluten-free bliss and the weather had been kind enough to allow for a spot of boogie-boarding, too.

So if you’re off to holiday near Lands End this year, make sure you take advantage of all the wonderful little cafes. Most of them cater for Coeliacs, which really is the cherry on the gluten-free cake.

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