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Gluten free traveling around Finland

By Suzanne Collins
Finland.

Finland
Finland. Courtesy of Jiang Ping

I just wanted to add my experiences of finding gluten free food in Finland, where I have lived for the past 5 years, as I always find it so invaluable to hear of tips when I go abroad!

Firstly, it's pretty easy to find good gluten free food in Finland, and they are really quite up on it all which helps a lot. Most restaurants have symbols throughout their menus with a 'G' if a dish is gluten free, 'VL' if it is low in lactose and 'L' if it is lactose free. This is always true of the ubiquitous 'S Card' restaurants (you don't need the card to go there obviously, it's just a discount system!), which are pretty bog standard but usually have decent and reliable food, and I do trust their labelling! These places are all over Finland, and include the Amarillo, Buffa, Fransmanni, Memphis, Rosso, Sevilla and Torero chains.

If you happen to be lactose intolerant then you're also totally fine here, the Fins have a lot of lactose intolerance and it's very easy to find lactose free cream, cheese, and most restaurants actually only use that now as standard. However, if you a 'dairy' rather than 'lactose' intolerant then it can be tricky, as they aren't really that good on telling the difference! Worth taking extra care to specify no cream/butter/milk AT ALL.

Supermarkets also always have a gluten free section. However, it's worth remembering that almost all supermarket gluten free bread will be found in the freezer (it took me a while to spot that). Some of it is pretty decent, but it's hard to find fresh stuff in the normal supermarkets. Pasta, cereals and biscuits etc are very easy to find alongside the 'normal' ranges.

If you are going to visit Turku there is also an AMAZING gluten free bread stall in the covered market (Kauppahalli) in the middle of the town. It's called Suloiset and she has the most amazing selection of breads, cakes, pastries, bagels, etc. Really lovely stall holder too who is happy to talk you through all the products on offer. Well worth the visit!

I hope this helps someone if they're thinking of planning a visit. This country is fantastic for gluten intolerant or Celiac diets, and the people are almost always amazing about helping to make sure it's absolutely fine for me to eat!

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Wherever you're going, remember to take a free gluten free restaurant card with you.

I hope that this celiac travel story has helped you. You can help other celiacs travel more safely by telling me about getting gluten free food in your area - remember where you live is a destination too! Send me a report and I'll let thousands of celiacs know.

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