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    What's the World's Most Celiac-Friendly Travel Destination?

    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 03/15/2013 - The website GlutenFreeTravelSite.com has named Pennsylvania as the most celiac-friendly destination in the world.

    Photo: CC--paulhamiEach year, the site chooses winners based on the highest number of positive reviews received over the previous twelve months. Previous winners include New York, Florida, Washington D.C. and California.

    According to the travel site, Pennsylvania won this year “due in large part to the many, many Philadelphia-area restaurants that have undergone training through the GREAT Kitchens program run by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness [NFCA]."

    Through its GREAT Kitchens program, the NFCA focuses on training restaurants in safely preparing gluten-free meals. It also offers training for chefs and food-service managers on safely handling gluten-free food.

    According to their website, glutenfreetravel.com offers resources, tips and other information devoted to helping people with celiac disease to travel freely, without being inhibited by their celiac disease. The company has its headquarters in Pennsylvania.

    Click here to see which Pennsylvania eating establishments got the best feedback on GlutenFreeTravelSite.

    Also, what do you think of their choice? Do you travel or live in Pennsylvania? Do you find it to be a good place for people with celiac disease to eat out safely? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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    Guest Emily

    Posted

    This does not feel accurate to me, but rather a reflection of NFCA's robust marketing.

    Last I was aware, the GREAT program does educate restaurants about how to provide gluten-free food, but, unlike GFRAP's restaurant certification, does not require the most stringent protocols, like a dedicated gluten-free prep area with dedicated kitchen utensils. I would love to hear otherwise, if this is incorrect, though.

     

    The biggest concentration of GFRAP restaurants is in NYC, and I have always felt more comfortable eating in that city than I have in Philadelphia.

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    Guest Karen Broussard

    Posted

    Thanks for covering the results of our contest. One minor correction.. .we aren't based in Pennsylvania. However, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is, and they do a lot of outreach and training to restaurants in Pennsylvania, particularly in the Philadelphia area.

     

    In addition to offering tips for people traveling with Celiac, I wanted to mention that our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, also has thousands of user-submitted gluten-free dining and travel reviews, searchable by location. You can search reviews of restaurants, bakeries, markets, hotels, resorts, cruises -- and even colleges -- by state/country or more narrowly by town/zip code.

     

    Keep up the great coverage, Celiac.com!

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    I have to say that as all the 'best in the world' are in the US, it should be 'best in the US'. I have found eating gluten-free in Peru, India and Spain was much easier than in most US cities - as their cuisines don't rely much on gluten products. In Spain, I found the most amazing gluten-free croissants, and the care the wait staff in many restaurants took to ensure what I ordered was gluten free was very impressive. Much of Peruvian food is potato based, and Indian cuisine does not use flour except for the breads. I'm finding that San Diego has an increasingly large number of restaurants with gluten-free menus too - Sammy's Pizza chain, all the Cohn restaurants and many single location, locally owned places 'get it' really well.

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    Guest Barbara

    Posted

    PA may have shown up high in your survey, but in my experience it is hardly "best in the world." Once outside of metropolitan areas, celiac-awareness is not found easily.

     

    Two Trips to Italy and more than 10 trips to Australia and New Zealand proved that I could eat gluten-free in even the smallest town or out of the way place without any problem. Australia and Italy have been in the forefront of celiac disease research, and I would have to say these countries get my vote for "best in the world."

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    We always stop at Welcome Visitor Centers when driving through PA (not Philly). They have a lot of info flyers and booklets but none of them mention where to eat gluten-free off the highway. Glutenfreetravel.com prominently displayed on them would be a big help.

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    Guest Brian

    Posted

    I have to say that as all the 'best in the world' are in the US, it should be 'best in the US'. I have found eating gluten-free in Peru, India and Spain was much easier than in most US cities - as their cuisines don't rely much on gluten products. In Spain, I found the most amazing gluten-free croissants, and the care the wait staff in many restaurants took to ensure what I ordered was gluten free was very impressive. Much of Peruvian food is potato based, and Indian cuisine does not use flour except for the breads. I'm finding that San Diego has an increasingly large number of restaurants with gluten-free menus too - Sammy's Pizza chain, all the Cohn restaurants and many single location, locally owned places 'get it' really well.

    I agree. Best in the world would have to be somewhere in Asia or South America where wheat is not the primary grain.

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    Guest Alyssa

    Posted

    I was in Philadelphia for work last week, and I was very comfortable eating out with my colleagues. The restaurants where I ate were very knowledgeable about gluten-containing foods and the need to avoid cross contamination. Although I agree that the contest results are more U.S.-based than truly international, I applaud this site's efforts to expand global awareness of gluten intolerance.

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    I guess the reviewers have never been to Harrisburg, PA. Definitely not the most celiac-friendly place in the world.

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    Guest margaret

    Posted

    I agree with Anne. "Best in the world" is certainly not the same as "best in the US." I live in the Netherlands, and travel a lot in Europe and in the US. Restaurants in the Netherlands know how to deal with gluten-free and are generally terrific, especially if given advance warning. Good gluten-free in Portugal as well, which, like Spain, doesn't use a lot of gluten products. But the very best - counter-intuitively - is Italy. It is a true paradise for celiacs; restaurants have special "celiaci" menus printed up and gluten-free pasta is readily available. Having said all this, my US experiences have been good, too, if you forget the fast food chains.

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    Guest Valerie

    Posted

    I am just happy to hear that somewhere in the US they don't look at you like you have snakes for hair when you ask for a gluten-free menu. I live in the St. Louis area and frequently have to travel to Indiana and find I need to bring my food or suffer. Last place I asked for a gluten-free menu, I was told "we don't have anything free here!!!" Needless to say, evidently my "snakes" were not welcome!!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, and science. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com.

    Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book Dangerous Grains by James Braly, MD and Ron Hoggan, MA.

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