Chambelland photo, my own. Bululu photo from Facebook. The rest are from Pinterest. If you know the source, please let me know so I can link back!
Americans love to believe that with the right diet, anyone can become anything. They especially love the virtuousness and entitlement that comes from eating gluten-free. Eliminate gluten, and you become part of an enlightened minority, an allergy-card-carrying member of the elite- smarter, prettier, and richer than protein-composite-gobbling plebians. "Gluten-free" reeks of Baobab oil and exclusivity; faithfully abide by the lifestyle, and you're one step closer to summers in the Exuma Islands and workouts with Tracy Andersen.
I used to think self-reported gluten-sensitivity was a quirk of life in the States, but the no-glu boom is global. Throw a stone in Oberkampf, and you're bound to hit someone professing non-celiac gluten intolerance, few of whom can put their muesli where their mouth is. I'm not immune to social contagion (I made my parents buy Tamagotchis, too), but my diet doesn't depend on what everybody from my last Tweetup is doing. If I could eat the delicious, water-insoluble agglomerated sub-microscopic network that is this starchy endosperm of grass-related grains, I would. Over two decades ago, I was tested for celiac disease. Turns out, I have a severe form of the chicest autoimmune disease around.
I've been eating gluten-free in Paris four years now, and I was vegan for a year and a half of that. Helmut Newcake was beautiful and delicious, but I've gotten food poisoning there more than once and I know other people who have, too. One time I was at our friends,' Natas Loves You, concert and I had to leave because I'd eaten baba rhum at Helmut Newcake just before. I threw up in the Metro and some Parisiennes had to hold my hair and RATP had to take me back to the shower and put me in a cab. Everybody raves about Noglu, but the food is mediocre, the service poor, and the menu overpriced. Only their chocolate tart is good. I wish they had more dairy and egg free options!
A few tips:
- Roquefort and charcuterie contain gluten
- Gluten-free beers include Brasserie Castelain, Moulin des Moines, Altiplano and Mikkeller.
- Gluten-free soy sauce is largely available (MySoy and Tamari) and you can buy xanthan gum at La Vie Claire or Lafayette Gourmet
- Items safe in the US may be contaminated here (like Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce )
- According to Ladurée's executive pastry chef, their macarons may contain traces of gluten. Papy Bio offers gluten-free baguette, macaron, and pizza ateliers. Pierre Hermé, Un Jour à Dimanche and Carette have gluten-free macarons and pastry options
- Gluten-free breads and pastas are available at almost every grocery store, and specialty shops like Der Tante Emma-Laden or A Boire et à Manger.
- Most boulangeries will make gluten-free bread if you ask in advance, but cross-contamination is possible (except at Eric Kayser)
- Cupcakeries Chloe S. and Comme un Gateau accept gluten-free orders
- Marks & Spencer is the apogee of gluten-free deliciousness in Paris, and my biggest zero-waste fail thanks to its amazing quiches, pasta, cookies, ice cream and prepared foods. Chains like Exki and Cojean usually have gluten free and some vegan items
- Crepes are not celiac-friendly- galette are. Look for the word "sarrasin," and beware of cross-contamination. Galette Café and Aux Ducs de Bourgogne offer gluten-free galette.
- That being said, there's a gluten-free creperie in Montmartre- Creperie Broceliande- which my French friends insist is incredible, despite it's unabashed touristy status.
Hot chocolate at Angelina's isn't gluten-free, but many of their famous pastries are, and the manager- a Chanel-clad celiac- is friendly and helpful. Just say, "Je ne peut pas manger du gluten," first- the "ne" is silent. The header image above is from Biosphere Cafe. My husband brought me a pizza from here once, and some kids in the Métro tried stealing it. Click here for the Pinterest Gluten-Free Paris Guide Map.