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Gluten Free Tour in Morocco

Road crossing Camel
Morocco. Courtesy of John Y. Can

I just returned from a 10-day tour to Morocco, the land of bread. Bread is certainly the centerpiece for all meals in Morocco, and I had to plan carefully around this in order to survive.

My suggestions are as follows. Take lots of gluten-free breakfast bars with you. Even though we had a buffet for breakfast, expect no meat, some eggs, salads, fruit and yogurt laid out among a cavalcade of bread and pastry.

I also packed a loaf of bread in a shoebox so it would not get crushed in transit and the box discarded at the end. This bread can be used at breakfast with butter and jam (do not toast due to contamination concerns) or used to sop up the broth in a tangine. I always took a piece to dinner to help fill up.

I also packed some gluten free crackers that I used as a snack. You can readily buy potato chips at corner stores, but it you are a snacker, I would suggest bringing gluten-free pretzels or peanuts. Do not buy any nuts from a street vendor as they may make you sick.

The meals I had were frequently rotated; chicken tagine, beef tagine, chicken kabobs, beef kabobs and soups. That's it. Take a gluten free diner card with you in both French and Arabic to clarify if the soup has flour in it. Many are chickpea or lentil based so no thickener is added.

If you are in a restaurant, do not hesitate to speak to the manager, as much of the wait staff cannot read. Tagines are not thickened with flour and are really good.

Although the monotony of the food gets to you after a while, there are also fish options, some lamb, omelets (although very dry) and you can find "international" restaurants with an expanded menu.

It was difficult, i will admit. I got sick while there but not from gluten.

I suggest that you bring liquid soap, hand sanitizer and even bleach wipes for the bathrooms along the way. Your digestive system is sensitive enough as it is and a bug will make you miserable.

Enjoy the richness of Morocco. Eat olives.

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

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