Traveling with Food Intolerances

Whenever I go on holidays I always get a little nervous about the food. You see, I’m intolerant to most foods, which makes it quite hard to eat out. I never used to have these problems. A group of particularly nasty parasites took up residence in my intestines a few years back when I lived in Mexico City and now, voila, I am intolerant to gluten, dairy, fructose, plus a few other things just for good measure. It’s a lot better than it used to be: my reactions are less severe, I can eat more than rice and boiled chicken, and my mum and I have embarked on a journey of food discovery that has enriched her cooking and my eating. Still, holidays are tricky cause I never know what I’m going to be able to find or eat. Usually I just resolve myself to feeling ill and eating whatever I want (much to the dismay of some of my more concerned friends).

This time it’s been different. Our first day here in the beautiful Adelaide Hills (I’m totally coming back here one day) we were looking for somewhere to have lunch. Grace mentioned that she had seen an organic cafe up the street so we wandered up that way. Entering the store, we were captured by the smells of home cooked food, and then almost immediately by the gluten free menu. I could hardly believe it! A friendly lunch. But even more than that, there were options! The entire menu was gluten free! I could have a frittata, some risotto, a potato bake, a Moroccan vegetable roll, or soup. All gluten free. All served with your choice of a quinoa salad, a roast pumpkin salad or a Greek salad. Normally resigned to the one gluten free option on the menu, I was stumped. I never get to choose. I usually just order the one gluten free option. I had almost forgotten how to make a choice at a restaurant. I settled on a pumpkin and tomato risotto – gluten and dairy free. It was delicious. Dessert was, of course, compulsory. Again the choice baffled me. I settled on a lemon tart. It’s been so long since I’ve had a lemon tart that didn’t make me ill. It was great.

We returned for lunch today. I just had to go there again. This time it was pumpkin soup with gluten free bread (normal bread wasn’t even an option). I realised that pumpkin soup is comfort food. It is something I miss. Dessert was a chocolate and raspberry friand. So so tasty!

Finding Ruby’s Organic Cafe has been such a delight. Sometimes I get frustrated with my limited diet, I just want to go out for Lebanese or Italian or Greek or Thai or Mexican (the irony of not being able to eat the food that gave me these intolerances is not lost on me). But even here, in this most unexpected of places, I have discovered that it is possible to make delicious food within limits. I may have even stolen some ideas for meals to make when I get home.

Ruby’s Organic Cafe. You have made this trip that much more delightful. Just another reason why I love the Adelaide Hills.

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