I don't like buying a banana at a café. I don't go to a café to eat fruit. I go there to enjoy a coffee or a pot of tea and, if I'm lucky, a gluten-free cake. But seeing a slightly green banana is a tad disappointing.
For anyone who's regularly tried it, eating out at a café can be somewhat limiting as a coeliac. Sometimes there'll be something I can have, like a brownie or a packet of crisps, but it's rare to see a good choice, and often that underripe banana is there at the till, staring at me.
So I was really pleased to see a plethora of options the other day at David Lloyd in Long Ashton, Bristol. N.B. In case you're wondering, I didn't go there to pump iron, do a spinning class or thrash my way up and down their outdoor pool. I'd love to be back to optimum fitness but while I've got tennis elbow, the most I'll be doing at the gym is sitting in the sauna (although given the recent weather I don't really need to go anywhere to do this).
Nearly everything was gluten-free!
I found pretty much everything was gluten-free. Even a brownie that looked like it wasn't turned out to be made with rice flour (weird how some packaging doesn't boast it's gluten-free on the front).
I ended up buying some Hippeas (hilariously-named cross between Wotsits and a healthier snack), chocolate-covered rice cakes and the aforementioned brownie.
The bad brownie
The brownie, it transpired, was a mistake. It seemed a little dry. (And if you're listening, David Lloyd, most gluten-free brownies are reliably moist. Not sure where yours went wrong.) But everything else was lovely and quickly guzzled down by my children (who are now 2 and 1 in age).
What does the gluten-free future hold?
I wondered - is this a glimpse of the future in all cafes? I'm not sure if places are embracing gluten-free because people are demanding healthier options (which now tend to boast a freefrom symbol) or because people prefer or need gluten-free. Whatever the reason, it certainly makes my world a happier place.
What are your experiences eating out at cafes as a coeliac? Do share them below!