I spend half my week (minimum) thinking about where I want to go next on holiday, or holiday searching. I’m a little obsessed, I admit it!
I’ve never been to the Indian Ocean so I was so excited when me, my partner, mum and dad booked Mauritius. We chose a hotel called Veranda Paul et Virginie.
Holidays should definitely be exciting & that one thing you definitely look forward to, but for me it also holds a little bit of anxiety, why? Intolerances.
Are they going to be able to accommodate? Will I be left with no choice but to eat what I ‘think’ is ok & then have major flare ups due to hidden fodmaps?
I’m sure it’s not just me who thinks like this, even before I get on holiday I’m thinking about what do I eat on the plane, or even how shall I eat the week before my holiday starts!
I’m always extra precautious and take no chances with risking foods, as when I flare up and bloat mine can last for a good 4 days!
Anyway I emailed the hotel beforehand to ask if they had any almond milk (I always find abroad they only offer soya as a dairy free alternative). They kindly got back to me and advised they would order some in (yay), first accomplishment tick.
I also advised the hotel beforehand that I was gluten free and had an intolerance to onion. I tend not to list all the foods (as this would take ages!) but I always find onion & gluten to be my main ones to advise of.
When we arrived at the hotel they asked straight away about any intolerances I advised again of gluten and onion. I also asked if all my food could be made plain with no sauces, I tend to find some restaurants/places don’t understand no onion, you still get the stock cubes used to make the sauces etc accompanied with your meal! So I thought if I had no sauce it would be safest.
They made their own gluten free bread, apart from my intolerances I’m not a fussy eater & enjoy most foods! However this bread unfortunately did not do it for me. It was really dry, and just had an unpleasant taste! 🥖
As I really didn’t like the bread I stuck to eggs everyday. I would sometimes have fruit but don’t like too much in one day (I used to have it lunch/dinner)
I noticed they had cereal so asked if any of these were gluten free (anyone who knows me will know I LOVE cereal) I got told they weren’t gluten free 😩 however I then asked someone else, and got told they were all gluten free. Although I had confirmation I was precautious about having some, as some staff I asked said it was gluten free, and some said it wasn’t. In the end half way through my holiday we went on an excursion to which we passed a smallish supermarket. I picked up my own gluten free cereal to go with my almond milk the hotel have provided.
The hotel remembered who I was and provided me with a pot of almond milk every morning (without me asking).
They didn’t offer gluten free pizza/pasta etc, so I stuck to fish/chicken with some grilled veg/salad and rice/potatoes. They also made me some GF wedges which were so yummy!
Lunches weren’t always plain sailing though, I would ask for a dish and request no sauces, my dish would come up covered in some kind of sauce. I would explain I asked for no sauces, to which I would wait another half hour for another plate (by this point everyone else had eaten)
The second dish would sometimes come out as asked, but on a few occasions came out again with a sauce! At one point I got so upset as it had happened a few days.. I walked away from the table! (Hangry had definitely kicked in 😂)
My mum actually complained at this point to one of the managers.
He was really accommodating, came over to me with a bit of paper, and wrote down a whole lunch and dinner menu for me for the rest of my stay. He also had a lunch made for me that was suitable (look at my face below with how happy I was when it arrived!) He was very sweet and I was very thankful for his help!
After lunch was done they made gluten free pancakes which were amazing! They made these in the back using separate equipment to that of the gluten pancakes.
They also had a bar which served food later than what lunch went on until. This could be quite hard for me to get an order right as most dishes contained gluten, sometimes I would ask for plain chicken and told they didn’t have any (this can’t be true when it gets served in the evening). Again this could be a struggle, a bit like what lunch was, and I would have days I got a bit wound up for it, and other days they were accommodating. I really think it depends on who is in charge on the day!
One of the ‘non accommodating’ days I felt hungry, but there was nothing on the menu they could make for me. In the end I asked for pineapple 🍍 I got told no! So I asked where I could go and get some myself as I was hungry, in the end they bought some out especially for me..I walked off with the biggest grin on my face 🙈
Dinner was near enough the same experience as lunchtime. Sometimes it would come out and I would have a lovely meal, fodmap friendly! (especially after the menu was put together for me) however other times there was near enough nothing for me to eat, and I would have pieces of stuff, i.e they would bring me a bit of fish and nothing else! This isn’t a meal. I found this quite frustrating as I do love my food, and you don’t expect this on holiday. One evening I asked for fish cooked plainly in olives and potatoes, this was part of what I got served..
Surely a plain meal is easier to make the one covered in sauces after all?
When my meals came out right, they were really good and full of flavour (even without the sauce)
The GF pancakes, as explained above these were really yummy!
The staff member who took over and created me my own menu, so thankful for him 🙏
One of the evenings the bartender, without me knowing made me the most beautiful cocktail.. I felt bad that I wouldn’t want to drink it because of tolerating what was in it, until he told me he had made it from my almond milk! So sweet
They make their own gluten free bread,
I am not a fussy eater when it comes to foods I can actually eat! However I couldn’t tolerate it, it just wasn’t nice at all. Even when toasted..
Every evening for dessert the only gluten free option was fruit. Now don’t get me wrong I do love fruit, however when you’re on holiday you do want to indulge, so I think to not have a gluten free dessert is a little poor. However one night there were some marshmallows and meringue..
On my second to last day I took the time to ask to speak with the owner of the hotel. I wanted to make it clear I wasn’t making a complaint (as the staff were lovely) however I explained my experiences and advised of some things I thought that could be done better;
Gluten free desserts (not just fruit)
A gluten free section (meaning toasters are not shared, and other utensils)
Ensuring all staff are aware of someone who has an intolerance.
Gluten free menu on a la carte evenings.
The manager thanked me for sharing the above, and assured me that she would send her chef on a gluten free course. She also advised of how she would think about putting a menu in place specifically for gluten free.
A few days after, when I was back home in rainy England my mum called me excitedly! She told me that someone else had arrived with intolerances, and they’ve already taken over to put together a menu to suit her needs.
This made me so happy to hear! If any of what I advised the owner could make just a slight difference to someone else’s stay I would be so happy! What a massive accomplishment that would be.
Overall Mauritius is such a beautiful place 🌴