How to Handle Being GF in a Cafe
We’ve all been there... You see on a sign outside a cute little cafe that says ‘gluten free options available’, and you get so excited you could scream. Only to get inside and see a minefield of gluten filled crumbs all over the counter and next to your precious gluten free option!
I thought I'd share with you all, how I handle ordering and making a decision on whether or not to trust a cafe.
Always check your drink order
You may only think about gluten in your food choice, and you may think there's no way there could be gluten in hot chocolate. However, it's always much better to check! I usually go for a hot chocolate... Here is a white hot chocolate I had in Kupp set in John Lewis, Oxford which was delicious!! (My friend had a cappuccino in the coolest ever glass)
If I'm unsure on whether or not a drink choice is gluten free, I go for a Latte, like this one from Mostro Coffee...
I always ask the server to check if it’s gluten free rather than ask if it is. I have found that when you ask them, the server tries to guess/remember as they do not want to seem like they don’t know. Whereas, if you ask them to check, they feel more comfortable doing so!
Check the packaging for them
Sometimes (usually when I see someone struggling), I offer to read the packaging for them. This ensures that the server doesn’t miss anything and in turn, I feel more comfortable with what I’m having knowing that I’ve checked the packaging myself. I feel it also takes the burden off of the server!
Check how the cakes/sandwiches are made
Still, to this day, people truly do not understand what gluten free actually means. Although they post it up all over their cafe advertising it, they still don't have the slightest clue. Most of the time, although the ingredients inside the cake/snack are gluten free, they are made around gluten containing goods, and therefore it cannot be guaranteed. Some places know how much risk there is so that you can make an informed decision but others don't.
Look at where they are on the counter
Are they placed next to other gluten containing cakes or even worse BELOW them?! Think of the scatter of the crumbs that could fall all over your gorgeous looking brownie! It’s also a good idea to look at how they are picking up the cakes. I have seen servers using the same tongs for gluten free and gluten-containing cakes so many times!! Why can't all GF/DF cakes have their own tin/cover!!? It would help us all so so much!
I think it’s vital that we educate staff and explain that as Coeliac's, although they believe they are catering for us, they’re actually only catering for those who do it for fun or for dieting purposes, and not necessarily for those who have a choice in the matter.
The best cafe I've found yet is Beyond Bread based in London (2 Charlotte Place, 267 Upper Street and Selfridge's food hall) Here's a look at the lovely delights you can try!!
I hope you've found these tips helpful in making an informed choice in a cafe. I would love to know if you guys recommend anywhere that is a great GF cafe?