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Gluten-free in Belgium

In this blog I will talk to two Belgian content creators about gluten-free food in their country. Nathalie and Ilke tell about their experiences and share tips to make your gluten-free holiday go smoothly! They introduce themselves below.


Introduction

Nathalie is 35 years old and has her own practice as a dietician. She was only 1.5 years old when she was diagnosed with celiac disease, now Nathalie assists others with celiac disease and intestinal problems in her practice. In her spare time she likes to go for a walk with her dog Bento and likes to discover gluten-free addresses. Nathalie's contact details are at the bottom of the page.

Ilke is 26 years old and lives near Brugge. In 2017, after a long search, she was diagnosed with celiac disease. This was the beginning of a difficult period where she had to rediscover her taste. In 2018, she started sharing her search on Instagram to help others. Ilke has now found her niche in the gluten-free diet and is happy to share her tips. Ilke's contact details are at the bottom of the page.


The first things you need to know

➡ Good preparation is half the job! The gluten-free options in Belgium have certainly improved in recent years, but it is a bit more difficult than in, for example, the Netherlands or Spain. So make sure you do your research in advance and collect some good addresses for during your trip.

➡ Book in advance at a restaurant and don't go on spec. When you book in advance, many restaurants will do their best to offer you a tasty alternative. However, most restaurants are not set to it by default, so it is not recommended to just walk in somewhere.

➡ Watch out for cross contamination, a well-known Belgian delicacy is of course the Flemish fries, unfortunately they are often fried in the same oil as gluten-containing snacks. So check with the chef!

➡ Always take a snack with you on the road to avoid going hungry on a search for gluten-free food.

Supermarkets

Bio-Planet is the (organic) supermarket with the largest gluten-free range. They have many gluten free brands that you will not find in other supermarkets. There is no separate section, you will find the gluten-free products among the rest of the range.

The Carrefour also offers an extensive range of gluten-free products, this supermarket does have a separate section and also sells gluten-free products of its own brand. Just like in the Netherlands, Albert-Heijn and Jumbo have a wide range and a separate section, they also sell Schär products if you like to rely on a well-known brand.

According to Ilke, supermarket Delhaize has delicious, fresh gluten-free bread, and you will also find various gluten-free products in the store. Delhaize does not have a separate section, but has it's gluten-free products among the other range.


Tip from Ilke: More and more online stores with gluten-free products are appearing. You can order the products in advance via their website and pick them up at one of the many collection points. This is how I am talking about Lotjans bakkerij and Train De Vie. So if you come to visit a city in Belgium, check if there is a collection point nearby. You can enjoy a delicious pastry with your coffee or a delicious coffee cake to start your day.


Dining out

In the larger, touristic cities you can generally eat gluten-free. Although it is more known here, you have to pay attention to cross-contamination, this is not automatically taken into account!

To find reliable addresses you can use the addresses that the National Celiac Association has collected. These addresses are based on positive experiences from members, but this is no guarantee, so always talk to the chef! In addition to the addresses, you will also find a brochure on the website that you can print and take with you to a restaurant, here everything you can and cannot eat is described for the chef.


Restaurant chains to fall back on are the Pizza Hut and Mister Spaghetti. At the Pizza Hut you can choose from two gluten-free pizzas, if you feel like pasta you can go to Mister Spaghetti for various gluten-free pastas. Domino's also offers choice of a few gluten free pizzas.

Other tips

➡ What is your favorite delicacy that tourists must try?

Nathalie: Chocolate! Leonidas offers several gluten-free options.

Ilke: My favorite Belgian delicacy are the waffles from Otto on the Bruges Market.

➡ Search on social media for #glutenfree or #glutenvrij and the city where you are at that moment to find more gluten-free addresses.

➡ Ilke: If you are looking for a delicious gluten-free pastry, you should definitely visit Chambeland. You will find them in Brussels and Gent. The gluten free moelleux is a must eat!

➡ In the FindMeGlutenFree app you can find several gluten-free addresses in Belgium.

➡ Ilke: In Brugge or Oostende it is nice to have breakfast at Sanseveria (gluten-free bagels).

➡ Natalie has composed a gluten-free travelguide for Gent. The guide consists of 35 pages of inspiration to eat gluten-free in Gent. ➡ Ilke collects even more gluten-free hotspots on her Instagram page @glutenfreepleasure.


This blog was created thanks to Nathalie and Ilke! Are you interested in the content they share? See their contact details below!


Contact details

Nathalie: Instagram: @glutenvrij_met_nathalie Website: www.glutenvrijmetnathalie.be


Ilke: Instagram: @glutenfreepleasure







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