GF Sandwich Bread & Teatime Snacks

I read over this post once I’d finished writing it and realized it sounded a bit like an advertisement.  I absolutely hate advertisement-blog posts, so I just wanted to say that’s not my intent.  This post is written because sometimes, I want to eat the same food as everyone else (a freakin’ sandwich, or  some bread with delicious French cheese on a picnic), and I want it to be as easy and convenient for me as it is for everyone else.

Before I came to Paris, I didn’t know that it would be easy to find gluten free bread, pasta, and cookies in the regular grocery store, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised!
One of the places I frequent is Monoprix (basically a French version of Target), which carries two different brands of gluten free products: Gerblé and Schär.

Gerblé Products

I’ve tried the gluten free bread from both brands, and have found my favorite to be Gerblé’s which basically translates to “country bread.” Obviously, it’s no baguette, but it’s got a good chew, it’s not too dry, and has more of a “normal” whole wheat flavor. It also holds together nicely, unlike other gluten free breads that tear easily or have large holes.
I also recently tried Gerblé’s Crousti’Pause Cacao Noisette, which are crispy chocolate hazelnut biscuits.  I found the exterior to be slightly bland and the texture a little dry and cardboard-y (reminded me of a rice cake), but overall they were ok as a goûter, or afternoon snack, with my tea.  I’m curious to try some of their other products too, like the butter biscuits, and I heard that Schär has some gluten free frozen meals too.

Two other stores that carry gluten free products are Naturalia and Bio C’Bon, both of which are natural food stores.  I’ve gotten gluten free pasta, crackers, bread and other healthier foods here like jam made without sugar, and tomato sauce and soup made without additives.  They’re good for dairy free products as well.

I’ve been so encouraged to find certified gluten free products readily available in Paris!!

A Gluten Free Travel Miracle!

We were in a jet lagged haze, wandering down the street, looking for something quick and affordable for lunch.  This is a worst case scenario for me on a regular day, as I usually like to have a plan for eating so things go more smoothly and I end up eating better food and avoiding the foods I can’t eat.  But in a foreign country??  I didn’t know the neighborhood or the language, and I was having a hard time discerning good quality food from mediocre just by looking at the menu or peeking in the windows.

We were in Paris, known for it’s bread and long lunches, not a quick gluten free bite.  But within ten minutes, we received a travel miracle!  We stumbled upon a small restaurant with a sign out front proclaiming gluten free crêpes, and additionally, English spoken.

When traveling with dietary restrictions, my cardinal rule is to have a plan for when and where I can eat.  And even then I sometimes end up needing to pull out the stash of almonds that I always carry with me in my bag.  I am still amazed that we happened to find gluten free food just by walking down the street, and then went on to see some beautiful sights, all without a plan!

View from the café on the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette

View from the café on the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette

So, should you also be in a jet lagged haze in the 9th arrondissement in Paris, I would recommend a little place called Krêp (11 Rue La Fayette).  They serve traditional Breton crêpes, called galettes, which are made with buckwheat flour, and are therefore naturally gluten free.  Note that the sweet dessert crêpes are made with regular flour, but you can ask to have yours made with buckwheat flour instead.

Afterwards, you can continue on down Rue La Fayette to the department store Galeries Lafayette.  There’s a café on the top floor with amazing views, perfect for an afternoon coffee or tea.  Across the street (35 Boulevard Haussmann) is their gourmet food hall, with lots of delicious French foods that are naturally gluten free (cheese! wine! chocolates! macarons! spices! fancy mustards! jams!) and they also have a small gluten free section, great for cookies, bread, and pasta.

There are many other crêperies in Paris serving traditional buckwheat galettes, and two that I’ve tried include West Country Girl (6 Passage Saint-Ambroise, 11e) and Breizh Café (109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 3e. This place is more popular, so call ahead to make a reservation).  If you end up at another crêperie, look at the menu for crêpes made with “farine blé noir” or “farine sarrasin,” both of which mean buckwheat flour.