At first, I felt that serving staff in restaurants were not savvy when it comes to a gluten free diet. I’m used to Canada or travel in the United States where when I mention a wheat-free diet, the server usually responds with gluten-free diet. Then I know they get it.
In the Netherlands, things are a bit different. While they may not provide reassuring signals that they know what a gluten free diet is, they are very well aware of what’s in their food. And many if not most of them seem to care about food and a healthy diet.
At first I wasn’t so sure. Upon arrival in the evening, we needed a restaurant at around 9:30pm. Not knowing the area, and being relatively far from the city center (about 40 minute walk), we got a taxi. Taxi drivers are supposed to know where to take you to meet your needs. I was not reassured by the driver who thought finding a restaurant that can serve gluten free food in Amsterdam would be difficult, especially this late at night. Apparently most kitchens close at 10:00 or 10:30pm. I guess the Dutch are early risers.
We did find a Thai restaurant that was open, and the did seem to understand my needs.
The food was excellent, and they didn’t set off my gluten allergy.
This was repeated in various ways from one restaurant to the next. Some seemed a little more savvy, some less so, but having returned from my trip feeling jet-lagged but otherwise fine, I know that none of the restaurants slipped gluten into my diet. Phew!
The best way to see the countryside in the Netherlands is to rent a bike and cycle out of town. There is no better way to feed yourself on such occasions then bringing along a pick nick. But how to do this gluten-free? Of course this is possible anywhere with enough imagination, but you can’t always expect great food if there are few gluten free options.
As it turned out, the supermarkets usually have a gluten-free section. I did not see a great selection, but enough to get by for sure. I was able to buy bread and cookies and crackers. Round that off with sliced meat, goat cheese and wine, and we ate very well and easily followed my gluten free diet.
What is your experience in Holland with a gluten free diet?