Many of you probably don’t know, but I have Coeliac’s Disease meaning that I cannot eat foods containing gluten. Gluten is in wheat flour, barley (malt) and rye so you can imagine, or worse still know first hand, just how difficult this is to cater for.
I am still fairly new to this diagnosis but after 2 years I feel that I’m starting to get to grips with it at home and I am very grateful to my mother who taught me to cook as a child. That said, I do still find eating out a real challenge and I often make mistakes or there is contamination from the kitchens. So you can imagine the panic I was in at the thought of a family holiday, I mean I’d be away from my own kitchen … for a week!
Recently we went to Devon for a week and as a compromise we stayed in self-catering. At least this way I could guarantee at least being able to eat one meal a day, right? So off we went.
We quickly discovered that there was no where on the site where I would be able to eat and I really didn’t want to risk being ill for 3-4 days as a result of one meal. I started to feel really guilty about this as my partner and daughter were faced with either going without as well or eating while watching me with just a coffee. This disease really does impact the whole family.
After a couple of days Matt, my better half, found the Coeliac UK website. On their site they have a section where fellow Coeliacs can recommend places to eat out. Check it out if you know someone who has Coeliacs or gluten intolerance.
We found a place near where we were staying called The Smuggler’s Inn. We had in fact driven past it and I had commented what a beautiful view over the sea they had from their dining room. I was delighted that we would be able to eat out as a family as it had become a less frequent event in recent years so off we went. Here’s their website complete with a menu of top quality foods.
Well, I cannot praise The Smuggler’s Inn enough. As well as having knock out views they were extremely helpful when I said I had Coealiacs. The chef came out and chatted with me about the menu and took me through what would be safe and what wasn’t. (I also have other food allergies that they were more than happy to advise about.) I was amazed that about two thirds of the menu was available to me! That has never happened before. Usually I am left with one or maybe two options if anything at all. I was blown away and had some difficulty making a decision what to have. I had options!!
I chose the gluten free carvery as I have really missed carverys. I always get so annoyed because it is so easy to adapt a roast dinner to gluten free by replacing the wheat flour in the gravy and Yorkshire puddings with an alternative. I would even go without the Yorkshires if I had to! Well, it was delicious. I really couldn’t have had better (and the prices were very reasonable as well).
I had a chat with another member of staff and they told me that one of the owners has Coeliac’s so they were all taught about it. They made one simple change to their kitchen. Everything they made used the Dove’s Farm flour blend (that I also use) instead of wheat. I asked about the cost to them and even though the flour is a bit more expensive they had a lot more regular customers as a result who not only ate there themselves but who brought with them friends and family. No wonder the place was packed. It just goes to show that one simple change can open up a whole new market. Even better, because they didn’t have wheat flour, there was no contamination and nearly all the menu was now available to me.
So for those of you who find yourself in Dawlish, Devon, go and check out The Smuggler’s Inn. Great (allergy friendly) food, beautiful decor, fantastic service, amazing views and finally a treasure chest of goodies for the children who eat all their dinner. 😉
I’ll leave you with a photo I took of the view from the dining room.
from Ty Siriol Ceramics & Crafts