Im on so many gluten free forums and Im constantly replying to the same questions about gluten free in Poland, so time to make a post me thinks!
Being gluten free in Poland is getting easier and easier. While some smaller towns mainly sell gluten free in specialist “health food” stores, larger chains usually have some items available. Some shops will have just a few items, scattered around the shop, others will have huge sections or even entire aisles dedicated to gluten free.
The main Polish brands are all clearly labelled with images for egg free, gluten free, wheat free, lactose free and so on. Its really very easy, even if you don’t speak Polish to find what you need.
The main chains that stock gluten free are:
- Auchan, most stores have a large gluten free section.
- Carefour, some of the larger stores have an entire aisle dedicated to gluten free.
- Piotr i Pawel
- I will mention Tesco here, because they recently introduced gf bread to their stores, this is all they will have though, so if you want other things and have other supermarkets available, give it a miss. Edit April 2016. Tesco has recently done a magic turnaround and is now one of the best for GF near me. Go Tesco!
For eating out, the words bezgluten and bezglutenowy will be your best friend. Both mean glutenfree. Pronounced how they are read. A visit to celiakia.pl (Polands celiac society) is well worth your while. The english section is tiny, but if you stay on the Polish section you will find lists of restaurants checked and approved by the celiac society. Menubezglutenu is another site which lists places with a glutenfre menu, you can search using a map, in polish and english. Many upmarket restaurants have their own gluten free menus. Steer clear of basic road side establishments, as they mainly serve gluten loaded traditional Polish cuisine and will probably not even know what gluten is.
Poland also has some 100% gluten free establishments.
- Dom Pod Ptasznica – a gluten free guest house in the mountains. The owners are both celiac and all the food they make is gluten free and wheat free.
- Friendly Food Poznan – A totally glutenfree cafe / restaurant with amazing food. Review here.
Some of the common (gluten free) Polish brands are:
- Natura (meats)
Some other things to look out for:
- Grycan ice cream, all but 2-3 flavours are gluten free and labelled accordingly
- Goplana chocolate, Poland’s oldest chocolate brand, all labelled bezglutenowy on the back and super yummy (I have yet to find a flavour with gluten)
- Costa coffee (also sometimes called coffee heaven) have individually packed cakes that are gluten free
- Trendy Vegan / vegetarian cafes seem to be all over Poland, they will usually also have a ton of gluten free stuff on their menu. Check them out!
- Rossman – while a sort of chemist, often stock gluten free items.
If you are an expat, several pre schools now offer bezgluten food and have been trained and approved by the celiac association. YAY! 🙂
Be careful with:
- Polish hams, sausages and bacon – almost all contain gluten
- The famous polish kielbasa! ONLY buy the ones labelled gluten free.
- Cross contamination, while many places may be able to give you something gluten free, the knowledge regarding cross contamination can be a bit hit and miss
- Bakeries offering gluten free, these items may very well be baked on site which would make them low gluten, not gluten free, always ask and dont buy anything that isn’t individually wrapped if you are shopping in a bakery that also handles gluten items.
- Airports! If you are going to be stuck in one for a while, bring food. Not even Warsaw airport has anything on offer.
- Hospitals. No, really. Polish hospitals are terrible at feeding celiacs. If you end up in one (God forbid) you need to bring your own food. There are some exceptions to this, the lung clinics in the mountains see CF patients from all over the world and they are usually ok to feed those with allergies and celiac also.
Enjoy Poland and have fun 🙂
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