Gluten Free Olympics – London 2012 (Part 2)

Excited B and brother

I wanted to make a quick update to my earlier post on gluten free provision at the Olympics following today’s visit to the beach volleyball on Horseguards Parade

Packed lunch? No problem!

Luckily my earlier fears of having my emergency sandwiches stolen away were entirely unfounded. Security at this venue was a breeze – with all of the games-maker volunteers and army security friendly, helpful and courteous. There was a queue, but we skipped through the airport-style scanners very quickly with lots of smiles and comments about my glasses, and no-one challenged my sandwiches and snacks – so that was a relief. I highly recommend packing your own food (of course, remembering the limits on liquids) because…

Catering at the venues? Not all I had hoped.

I did a quick survey of the catering options at this venue – it was laid out a bit like any big event – lots of stalls selling a variety of tempting and overpriced things – naturally served in the dreaded bread rolls. Boo. If you are relying on these options you might want to follow my advice for gluten-free festival goers.  There are many vegetarian, halal and organic options*, but very few obviously gluten-free options. One stall (named ‘healthy food’) had gluten free options marked on the menu, although all of these required adaptations to be truly gluten free – so you still have to make a fuss.

Gluten free options at Horseguards Parade. But wait! On closer inspection, the ‘gluten free’ hummus is in a wholewheat pitta!

During a quiet moment I asked at two other stalls – a snack bar serving Indian snacks like samosas (“let me check with the chef who will check with a colleague who will check  with someone else who will look at the list. Sorry, no, nothing is gluten free”) and a rotisserie chicken counter (“I don’t know, I suppose you could have it without the bread”). So much – so usual.

The only other likely options looked like the oysters and dressed crab at the champagne bar. I elected to save my pennies for the champagne itself which I felt offered better enjoyment value with my Fria bread sandwich! (Hoping no-one notices that this was a 9am session…)

This was only one of many Olympic Venues, but friends at the Olympic Park itself have also given me the same advice I give you: do the same as I’m sure you always do – go prepared!

GF-Ability? Bronze Medal

*am I alone in thinking it’s really unfair that people who have a preference for what Daisy the cow is fed and the particular way in which she is slaughtered (or not slaughtered) get catered for, whereas those of us who will get seriously ill if said beef is then mixed with breadcrumbs and shoved in a bun don’t?

6 responses to “Gluten Free Olympics – London 2012 (Part 2)

  1. Hi can you help? Desperately trying to find somewhere that can also cater for nut, soya and sesame allergies. My son is avoiding wheat and gluten as well. We are visiting London for the Paralympics and struggling to find a suitable place to eat out, he celebrates a birthday while we are there. These problems are very recent, only three months in and it’s our first trip away from home and in London for four days knowing his diet will be very limited. Any advice greatly received and appreciated as only found one restaurant so far that has responded to my enquiry and who could cater for us. Thanks
    Berenice

    • Hi Berenice, I’m afraid I’m not very familiar with those allergies, but I expect that many of the chain restaurants will be able to cater for this as they have standard allergy guidelines that could help- ones that are good, label clearly and are not too expensive (for GF) are Zizzi, POD and Leon. It depends how severe the allergy is as cross contamination could of course be an issue. We have found that the olympic venues will let you take packed lunches, and there are many branches of M&S, Tesco & Sainsbury’s in the city where you could pick something up just in case.

      Are you on twitter? There are lots of people there who might be able to help. I will put your question on there and let you know if anyone can recommend somewhere.

    • For a special occasion most of the posh restaurants are very good at catering for allergies, and some have ‘bistro’ offshoots if you don’t want to break the bank- I’m trying out Galvin Cafe Vin in Spitalfields tomorrow who have been very helpful; also Comptoir Gascon in Smithfield were good

      • Wagamamas is good for allergies and the staff are trained to help

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