St. Patrick Drove the Gluten Out of Ireland

Posted by Brette in Food | Travel
Seafood chowder

Seafood chowder

Ok not really, but it makes a nice story. This post is part of my weeklong celebration of Ireland in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. You’ve probably heard that we Americans make St. Patty’s Day into something it isn’t in Ireland and in fact, corned beef and cabbage is nowhere to be found on Irish menus. That doesn’t stop me from taking this day as a day to remember and celebrate all I loved about Ireland. My favorite part of Ireland was the food!

Before we went to Ireland I had read that it was gluten sensitive-friendly. I was completely overwhelmed at how true this was. When we visited Ireland, we did so after a week in France, 035-DSCN1503where eating was a challenge. The language barrier didn’t help, although we made out quite well in Paris in general. I find that the hardest thing about traveling gluten-free is breakfast. Scrambled eggs get old really, really fast. While in Paris, I found a biologique store that sells health food and was able to buy some gluten-free bread which we then toasted each morning at the hotel breakfast buffet. It was a welcome addition to eggs, cold cuts, and fruit.

As soon as we arrived in Dublin, I sought out a store to buy some gluten-free bread. The Tesco supermarket near our hotel had an entire aisle of gluten-free bread, snacks, crackers, cookies, etc. We stocked up. The first morning at our hotel (the

Apple pie

Apple pie

Radisson Blu), we were thrilled to find that gluten free bread was available with breakfast – just sitting out in a basket with a label. I was in a gluten-free paradise! Every hotel we stayed at had gluten free bread available for breakfast, although we did have some back and forth about the oatmeal (“porridge”) and whether it was truly gluten-free at one location. I had one waiter tell me that so many people are “coeliac” in Ireland that it is simply nothing unusual. It is so common in fact, that the waitress at the not so great restaurant at the airport hotel we stayed at the night before we left Ireland told me ALL of their sauces are thickened with cornstarch, not flour, so they are all gluten-free.

My research revealed there were several restaurants in Dublin, all within walking distance of our hotel, that had many gluten-free items on the menu, or offered entirely gluten-free menus. If you are celiac or gluten-free, Dublin is a marvelous place to visit. Here are the two places where we enjoyed dinner while in Dublin:

Crab appetizer

Crab appetizer

Millstone

Our first dinner in Dublin was Millstone on Dame Street. The ENTIRE menu is gluten free. This cozy little restaurant was a perfect welcome to the country for us. Live music accompanied our dinner are we enjoyed Irish seafood chowder, goat cheese and berry compote, mussels with chorizo, salmon with prawn sauce, and pizza. Apple pie and chocolate cake ended our meal.  The food was fresh, perfectly seasoned and a glorious welcome to Ireland. I nearly cried I felt so well taken care of. Good gluten free pizza is hard to come by at home and gluten free desserts simply don’t exist in most restaurants (unless you’re having ice cream or the ubiquitous flourless chocolate cake). This is a not to be missed stop. We enjoyed the music, the comfortable setting and the sense of history we felt in the old building.

Brasserie Sixty 6

Cod with lemon confit

Cod with lemon confit

This menu had many GF options listed. The restaurant was very crowded, loud and busy  — and it is much bigger than it appears from outside. We had a good experience here as well and enjoyed crab with avocado mayo, lamb chop, cod with lemon confit and citrus salmon. Mashed potatoes and peas were to be shared. This place was hopping – a very popular spot. It was hard to hear but we enjoyed our food. The menu was a bit more creative than Millstone, but it wasn’t all GF. This is an excellent second place to go for gluten free dining in Dublin.

While there are several options for gluten-free dining in the city, alas, the one place I was desperate to try is not gluten-free in the least: Crackbird, where they make heavenly fried chicken. Maybe next time!

We don’t drink, but if you’re looking for gluten-free beer in Dublin, it can be found and I’ll refer you to an expert in this area.

Stay tuned as I continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with more posts about glorious Ireland.

 

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