Gluten (and Nut) Free Paris: Chambelland Bakery

I very rarely write on this blog about my nut allergy (I’m allergic to almonds, hazelnuts and chestnuts). Although the consequences of me eating nuts are more immediately severe than eating gluten, I generally find it easier to avoid nuts than gluten. I think it’s lucky I’m not particularly fussed about eating cake, despite what you will see in the blog posts about Paris!

The trouble is that of all the nuts a Coeliac could be allergic to, almonds are probably the worst. The ubiquitous gluten free brownie usually contains them. Many cake companies use ground almonds to enhance the texture of gluten free cakes, biscuits and pastries. So on the odd occasion I do fancy a sweet treat AND I manage to find a gluten free option, my excitement is almost always quashed with the response that the gluten free cake contains almonds.

Knowing this, and that I’d have limited time in Paris to visit patisseries, I emailed a couple of the gluten free bakeries in Paris to check whether they also had nut free options.

Chambelland

Chambelland kindly provided the following list of options which are both gluten and nut free. Unfortunately anything with a pastry type case/base was not an option for me as they contained nuts but there were plenty of fantastic alternatives:

– Le browkie (a cross between a cookie and a brownie)

– Les chouquettes (choux pastry sprinkled with pearl sugar)

– Les cakes au citron et au chocolat (lemon and chocolate cakes)

– Le rocher à la noix de coco (a sort of coconut macaroon)

– Le coco chambel (bar made with sesame, chocolate chips and honey)

– Le moelleux au chocolat (basically a cold version of a melting middle chocolate pudding)

After a long day in the office it was touch and go if I’d get there. I’m so glad I did. The bakery is very elegant. Even though I arrived towards their closing time, there was a long line of Parisiennes picking up their gluten free sweet and savoury treats.

Chambelland is a 100% gluten free bakery. They use rice and buckwheat flour in their products which are naturally gluten free.

The breads here are outstanding (NB one bread on sale contained hazelnuts). I’d like to come back and pick up some slabs of their bread to take for le picnique with some fabulously stinky Epoisses and oozy, gooey Camembert in one of Paris’ parks.

Of the sweet treats I bought, this moelleux au chocolat was outstanding.

Chocolate heaven

Location: 14 Rue Ternaux, 75011 Paris

Website: www.chambelland.com

Would I go back? Bien sur! I’m dreaming about a cheese feast in Paris with a slab of the Chambelland bread.

For more posts on Paris, please click here.

NB Whilst Chambelland is 100% gluten free, they do have nuts on the premises and in some of their products. If you have a serious nut allergy, please do your own due dilligence before visiting. 

Gluten Free Paris: NoGlu

I’d been looking forward to visiting NoGlu for dinner for quite some time. I’ve read plenty of blog posts and photos tweeted about this 100% gluten free restaurant in Paris. It is also one of only a handful of gluten free restaurants open in the evenings.

NoGlu is located on the bustling Passage des Panaoramas, the oldest of the Parisian covered passages. The passage’s name has always seemed a bit familiar to me but I’d never known why. I discovered why when I met my great friend N at NoGlu for dinner. I’d visited the passage a long time ago when N had been living in an apartment directly above the Passage.

NoGlu occupies two floors. On the ground floor is the open kitchen with a single row of counter level seats facing it. We were seated in the dining room on the first floor. On the night we visited, a couple of tables were occupied by French speakers but at the majority of the tables were seated Brits and Americans. There are a few tables outside and it would be worth reserving these if you’re there on a hot night as it gets warm inside the restaurant.

The regularly changing menu is written up on a blackboard.

NoGlu gluten free menu

For starter N and I chose the burata with heritage tomatoes and seared tuna tataki which we shared. I loved the burata, it was so flavoursome. However I was a bit disappointed all of the starter options were naturally gluten free meals. I would’ve liked to have chosen something which contained at least an element of something which was normally contains gluten but had been made gluten free.

For main I chose the chicken burger. I was really impressed with the quality and non flakiness of the burger bun. The chicken burger wasn’t entirely what is expected, the burger was made of pieces of chicken rather than minced chicken made into a burger patty. But nonetheless tasty an I enjoyed it. N chose the sea bass fillet for her main.

As usual, I’d been in touch with NoGlu when making the reservation to discuss what nut free as well as gluten free menu options they would have. They advised their desserts did often contains nut but said they’d let the patisserie know and hopefully on that day a dessert would be prepared which didn’t contain any nuts. Lucky me, it was gluten free profiteroles:

gluten free profiteroles

These were so good and worth a trip to Paris in itself just to try them.

If you’re in Paris and gluten free, NoGlu is a must-visit on your trip. If you can’t visit the restaurant, they have a small takeaway shop in a unit opposite the restaurant which is open during the day.

Where: 16 Passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris
Website: www.noglu.fr
Cost: EUR 55 per head for 3 courses and a couple of glasses of wine
Would I go back?: Absolument! Good value, delicious cooking in a historic location at a very reasonable price

Gluten Free Paris: Biosphere Café

During my research for places to eat while in Paris, I found lots of gluten free places which were open during the day but (apart from Noglu and My Free Kitchen) none of which were open in the evenings. I’d initially discounted going to Biosphere Café but after a very early start, a disappointing breakfast on the Eurostar, and some frenzied checking of Metro lines, I realised I had just enough time to stop by for lunch.

Biosphere Cafe, Paris

Biosphere Café is located in the 8th arrondissement. Not super central but Paris is smaller than London so travel distances around the city seem shorter.

Biosphere Cafe Menu

I was seated dangerously close to the chilled patisserie counter. Thankfully there was a glass counter between me and the gluten free chocolate eclairs which were screaming “eat me, eat me” with increasing ferocity.

gluten free chocolate eclairs

I chose the potato and lardon quiche. It came served with a green salad. Just leaves with a simple dressing. It seems so rare to be served just salad leaves with a meal anywhere other than in France.

I absolutely love quiche. Prior to diagnosis, this would’ve been a regular meal choice for me. Very occasionally I make it these days with a packet of shop bought gluten free pastry, but generally I don’t have the time so I just go without.

As you can see from the photo, the quiche with gluten free pastry was mahoosive. It was also utterly delicious.

Sometimes the simplest meals are the tastiest.

The gluten free chocolate eclairs were still screaming “eat me” when I had a nut close call. I’d asked which of the desserts did not contain nuts. Unlike in the English language, there is no collective word for “nuts” in French. In French, nuts are refered to by their individual names. The word “noix” means walnuts, for example. If you have a nut allergy like me, be prepared to name each individual nut to which your allergic when in France. Having made the mistake of using just the word “nuts” (the waiter spoke perfect English) he returned to ask me if by nuts I might also mean almonds. Um, yes. Lesson learned.

I was too full to eat the chocolate eclair then (I succumbed, of course) so I took it in my handbag for later. Would I travel around Paris on a boiling hot day with a cream filled chocolate éclair in my handbag in the days before being gluten free? I’m thinking not. But I’m glad I did. It was just as chocolate eclairs tasted in my memory, delicious.

Location: 47 Rue de Laborde, 75008 Paris, France

Website: www.biospherecafe.fr

Cost: Quiche plus a chocolate eclair, €13.90

Would I go back? Mais oui! Next time I’ll try the Breton galletes.

Gluten Free Travel on the Eurostar (Revisited)

I started writing this blog in 2010 and one of the first posts was this post on gluten free travel by Eurostar. I’ve spent a lot of time in Paris for both work and pleasure and I love the simplicity and ease of Eurostar travel. Although I do wish they were still at Waterloo as I used to be able to get to the terminal in 10 minutes from home!

A lot has changed – both in my life and the gluten free food market – in the last 5 years and I was interested to see how the Eurostar gluten free meal had changed since I’d last documented it.

There are three classes of travel carriage on the Eurostar; Standard, Standard Premier and Business Premier. I travelled in Standard Premier. Food is not served in Standard but there is a buffet car and you’re welcome to bring your own train picnic for the journey.

The breakfast on the train from London to Paris:

eurostar breakfast

Service was extremely slow on the journey to Paris. It was at least an hour before any hot drinks appeared. Thankfully – since I was travelling at early o’clock – I’d picked up a coffee at Café Nero within the Eurostar station just before getting on the train.

Back in 2010 they served a hot breakfast option but no longer it seems. But look, it’s exactly the same gluten free bread!

The evening light meal on the return journey from Paris back to London:

eurostar dinner

Lamb with ratatouille. This was actually tasty. The lamb was nicely pink and the ratatouille was as good as anything you’d find in a restaurant. The gluten free bread, however, was inedible.

After going a bit mental with the gluten free patisserie options in Paris (more on that in later posts), the banana and mango compote was a welcome dessert.

Would I travel by Eurostar again? Despite the drawbacks above, as a Londoner there’s only one quick and easy way to travel to Paris, and it’s by Eurostar.

Check back this week for more posts on gluten free and nut free finds in Paris