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Old 15.06.2009, 15:45
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Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

My husband and I are moving to Zurich in mid-July and we are really excited. My biggest concern about the move is that I am severely gluten intolerant and am nervous about learning to stay healthy in a new food culture, especially since I just started learning German.

It was especially concerning to me that the "national spice of Switzerland" (Aromat) contains gluten and is allegedly used everywhere.

I was wondering if there are other gluten intolerant people on this forum? Would you mind sharing any suggestions about how to make the transition easier? Do you find that eating in restaurants here is difficult?

Also, I'm in the midst of writing a gluten-free cookbook, and so I was wondering about the availability of alternative flours? Particularly tapioca, sorghum, teff, chickpea, millet and potato starch?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 15.06.2009, 15:51
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

There's a long Thread here, which your post will doubtless get added to. However, as you're still on-line, I'll give you the link so that you can stop worrying too much. Obviously you'll have to watch the labels on things but it isn't as difficult as it used to be as awareness grows.
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Old 15.06.2009, 16:10
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

There is heaps - and the gluten-free bread, cakes, pastries and biscuits here are *yummY* - eating out can be problematic, but no worse than in Australia...
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Old 15.06.2009, 16:21
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

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Also, I'm in the midst of writing a gluten-free cookbook, and so I was wondering about the availability of alternative flours? Particularly tapioca, sorghum, teff, chickpea, millet and potato starch?
I haven't seen tapioca starch, but the others you mention are all available in Zürich, mostly in health food stores called "Reformhaus." There's also cornstarch (that's cornflour for the Brits), rice flour, chestnut flour, buckwheat flour...

(I haven't been hunting for tapioca, so it could be we have that too and I just haven't noticed it.)

There are also various baking mixes, "all-purpose flour" mixes and so on. This one's gorgeous! Tastes more like proper bread than anything else we've found.
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Old 15.06.2009, 16:25
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

Tapioca flour no problem from the Asian grocery...

When you arrive, PM me and I'll tell you when our next Zurich 'Foods of the World' shopping tour is planned...
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Old 15.06.2009, 16:41
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

Thanks so much for your quick responses! It definitely helps me feel better.

I'm sorry if I should have just added this to the existing thread, but since my concerns were not about testing, I thought it didn't really fit.

Swisspea, I will definitely pm you once I arrive and would love to join the shopping trip. I've already been saving all of the names/addresses of all the ethnic food grocery stores as I've been scanning the boards. I'm excited that Zurich seems to have a good selection. I am an avid cook, and I'm really optimistic about everything that I've heard about the quality of ingredients available in Switzerland.
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Old 15.06.2009, 17:44
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

I'm also gluten-intolerant, and I haven't had any problems finding alternative flours and baking ingredients. As others have said, you can find almost everything by going to the Reformhaus and 'ethnic' shops.

Eating in restaurants can be a bit difficult, mainly because the staff aren't always educated about food allergies/intolerances. I've had several experiences where the waiter told me the food was 'safe' and ended up feeling sick afterwards. However, there are GF-friendly options out there. For example, the Hiltl in Zurich has a buffet where allergy information is clearly indicated.

I have compiled a list of shops selling gluten-free products that I can pm you if you're interested.

Mag
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Old 15.06.2009, 18:58
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

The good news is that Switzerland, compared to some other countries (well, England, at least), has quite a lot of local foods that are naturally gluten free. Roesti doesn't contain flour, I've never yet eaten a sausage that contained bran, fondue is fine so long as you ask for Gschwelti (small boiled potatoes) instead of bread, the same goes for raclette (melted cheese on a plate - sometimes served with a slice of bread, but more often with the aforementioned potatoes and pickles)... the list is pretty long.

Things to check for in ingredients lists are Weizenmehl (wheat flour), Mehl (flour), Weizenstarke (wheat starch), Gersten (barley: in winter, watch out for Gerstensuppe on menus. It looks delicious, but invites regret...), Rogen (rye) and, if they're also a problem for you, Hafer (oats) **apologies for any mis-spellings here... I don't have a dictionary to hand**

Waiters tend to be pretty good in the city, but just as in most places in the world, beware of heavy sauces even if the waiter swears that they don't contain flour. In restaurants, beware of foods that are paniert (breadcrumbed) or covered in Teig (batter - also in compound words such as Blatterteig). Also fried foods gebraten can (but not always) be dodgy - either because they're battered and it wasn't mentioned on the menu (yes, IKEA, I'm talking about you - always check if the meat is natur) or because it all gets fried in the same pan.

Schnitzels and Cordon Bleu are nearly always breaded, as are most fish dishes (such as Eglifilet or Fischknusperli, unless they specifically state otherwise (or you ask really really nicely).

In addition to the Hitl mentioned before, Tibits on the Seefeld have a salad buffet which has a big G on anything you can't eat, and a gluten-free bread roll thrown in. There is also a very good gluten-free shop somewhere down there.

Other than that, any Reformhaus, particularly the Mueller chain, or Egli in the main station (downstairs, directly under the main concourse, one level down from the toilets and lockers), will have a good selection of gluten free goods and ingredients, including rather delicious corn pasta (look for the rigid plastic packets).

The final good news: Zimtsternli are usually gluten-free, though it's worth checking the ingredients list if they're commercially made, meaning that Christmas isn't really so bad after all...

Good luck and bon appetite!

Last edited by Dougal's Breakfast; 15.06.2009 at 19:19.
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Old 15.06.2009, 19:22
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

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Also fried foods gebraten can (but not always) be dodgy - either because they're battered and it wasn't mentioned on the menu (yes, IKEA, I'm talking about you - always check if the meat is natur) or because it all gets fried in the same pan.
Talking about IKEA, several of their frozen cakes and pies are gluten-free and very tasty!
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Old 15.06.2009, 19:25
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

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Talking about IKEA, several of their frozen cakes and pies are gluten-free and very tasty!
Really? I didn't know that...

I was taken in by their shiny photograph of an unadulterated and delicious looking piece of meat or fish (can't remember which, exactly) to which I gleefully pointed in their restaurant, before experiencing the crashing disappointment of seeing that the real thing was battered.

The *******s.

And no, Sven, I don't want you to scrape the bloody batter off for me...
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Old 15.06.2009, 19:46
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

The only thing I could eat in the Spreitenbach IKEA was their gluten-free (labeled as such) vegetable soup. Mostly water with a few diced vegetables floating around...

Because of this, I had low expectations for the frozen desserts, but the Almondy Daim cake, and the blueberry cake are both very good!

You should really get some during your next visit (or plan a visit just to get some... that's what I do!).
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Old 15.06.2009, 20:46
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

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Eating in restaurants can be a bit difficult, mainly because the staff aren't always educated about food allergies/intolerances. I've had several experiences where the waiter told me the food was 'safe' and ended up feeling sick afterwards.
Mag
I often eat out with someone who is celiac and I would second this. If there's a language barrier this obviously won't help so if you're not 100% happy the waiter has understood, ask to speak to the maitre d' or a chef to make sure nothing is lost in translation between service and kitchen staff. Chefs seem to be much more clued in on allergies and my experience at least is that once they've understood, they will be very happy to tweak things to accommodate you.
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Old 15.06.2009, 21:37
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

Also, you may not get the same experience in the same restaurant on a subsequent visit. It depends on who is serving at your table.

We went to a place in Luzern and were told that it was no problem to swap the bread for pommes frites and there would be no extra charge and it was dealt with without a fuss.

On the next visit, we repeated the request and were told it was not possible. That's okay we said, just leave off the bread and we'll pay the extra for the pommes frites as a side.
After five visits to our table from different members of staff, and an hour and much scowling and discussion from them later, the mangeress returned to our table and said that the pommes frites had potato starch in them so I couldn't eat them either.

It wasn't a language problem and we weren't asking them to bring anything that wasn't on the menu and I guess all five of them were just trying to be helpful.

(I really hate being awkward in restaurants but it's even worse to be made to feel awkward).
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Old 15.06.2009, 21:37
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

Yeah, as people have said there are heaps of gluten-free foods about... my son loves shopping with me because I've identified a heap of choccies that have varied ingredients that are gluten-free... including one with crunchy rice bits!

Possibly the biggest reason I've seen that gluten-free options are more readily-available here is the difference right back on the farm - in Australia the main crop is wheat, over here (from what I've seen on long train rides through the countryside) the main crop appears to be corn...
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Old 15.06.2009, 21:46
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

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Possibly the biggest reason I've seen that gluten-free options are more readily-available here is the difference right back on the farm - in Australia the main crop is wheat, over here (from what I've seen on long train rides through the countryside) the main crop appears to be corn...
I don't think that's the reason.

They eat a hell of a lot of wheat-based or wheat containing products in Italy (I'm thinking Pasta, pizza, gnocchi etc) and even in the smallest town or village in the south of Italy, you wil find a shop with an aladdin's cave of GF products.

They eat a lot of bread here.

There's a much greater evidence and detection of gluten intolerance in those countries where they consume a lot of gluten.

(It's very rare in SE asia but not because they grow no wheat).
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Old 19.06.2009, 11:08
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

A word of warning: When you ask the waiter at the Asiatic restaurant at Rapperswil train station whether the dish you want contains wheat flour, and she replies 'ich glaube nicht', what she really means is: "I don't know, and I'm too lazy to ask the chef, who's standing all of 2 metres away in the open plan kitchen, and since your next 24 hours of pain and discomfort means nothing to me, I'll just tell you what you want to hear so I can get on and look out of the window for a bit."

I shan't be going there again.

I wonder if it would be worth setting up an Allergy Blacklist thread in Complaints Corner. Legal issues?
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Old 19.06.2009, 12:12
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Re: Are you Gluten intolerant/Celiac?

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A word of warning: When you ask the waiter at the Asiatic restaurant at Rapperswil train station whether the dish you want contains wheat flour, and she replies 'ich glaube nicht', what she really means is: "I don't know, and I'm too lazy to ask the chef, who's standing all of 2 metres away in the open plan kitchen, and since your next 24 hours of pain and discomfort means nothing to me, I'll just tell you what you want to hear so I can get on and look out of the window for a bit."

I shan't be going there again.

I wonder if it would be worth setting up an Allergy Blacklist thread in Complaints Corner. Legal issues?
That's happened to me before (mentioned on the other thread) but I think it really depends on the staff working on the day - a restaurant was great one day - really helpful and understanding and rubbish on another occasion.
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Old 08.07.2009, 10:43
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Any coeliacs out there?

Hi everyone, needing your help again. Just wondered if anyone has any advice on restaurants which cater for coeliacs, and any brands in any supermarkets for gluten free diets?
Thanks,Clare
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Old 08.07.2009, 10:53
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Re: Any coeliacs out there?

Lots of threads on the subject if you search the forum for 'gluten'. (I just provided a link, but it doesn't seem to work)
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Old 08.07.2009, 10:55
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Re: Any coeliacs out there?

There are good forum threads here and here.

Probably better to add spcific questions to those threads.
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