Home Travel The Essential Gluten Free Guide to Greece (2021 Update)

The Essential Gluten Free Guide to Greece (2021 Update)

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Source: atheniantours.gr

To those that haven’t been to Greece yet, or not in a very long time, it’s a beautiful and amazing place. It’s also a sad place, as it suffers from a combination of economic issues, infrastructure issues, and issues with tourists visiting the country (to say nothing of the economical hit that Greece took from the recent refugee crisis).

If you are like the rest of the world, you have probably heard of the phenomenon known as the gluten-free diet. Although it has been around for a few years, it has only recently become an immediate necessity for many people – especially those who suffer from digestive issues. This is due to the fact that gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.

I’ve been living in Greece for the past 6 months, and I love it. But, as I found out this year, it’s not all wine and sun all the time! Avoiding gluten can make a huge difference in the quality of your life when you are traveling. Here’s how to make sure that you are cutting out as much gluten as possible without compromising your fresh Greek experience.. Read more about gluten free greek food and let us know what you think.

It wasn’t until I was halfway through my dessert that I realized I’d made a mistake. A soft and flexible custard covered with honey rested atop a wonderfully thick and textured bottom layer that had absorbed the sticky honey and turned soft and pliable, a foundation that looked much too wheat-like for my stomach’s liking. I had shown the restaurant owner my gluten-free travel card and explained that I would become ill if I ate any wheat.

I also whispered that it would result in a few days of joint ache and other unpleasantness. He told me that the dessert included no wheat or flour, was rich in honey and dairy ingredients, and was “beyond wonderful.” On the latter point, I wholeheartedly concur. On the former, not so much — that night, I spent a lot of time in my tiny bedroom communed with the toilet. So much for Greece’s gluten-free status.

I went the following day to inquire about ingredients since the restaurant was close to where I was staying. He made a list of them, all of which were wheat-free. I inquired as to what the dessert’s foundation was composed of.

I went the following day to inquire about ingredients since the restaurant was close to where I was staying. He made a list of them, all of which were wheat-free. I inquired as to what the dessert’s foundation was composed of.

“Wait,” I said, “pastry dough? “Is it made of wheat flour?”

“Wait,” I said, “pastry dough? “Is it made of wheat flour?”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yeah, yes, But you didn’t mention anything about pastry dough, did you? “Wheat flour,” you said…”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yeah, yes, But you didn’t mention anything about pastry dough, did you? “Wheat flour,” you said…”

THE LAST TIME IT WAS UPDATED WAS JUNE 16, 2022.

THE LAST TIME IT WAS UPDATED WAS JUNE 16, 2022.

From the Parthenon, a miniature of Athens.

Greek Cuisine in Context

Source: flightbookingworld.com

Despite the fact that Greek restaurants are a relatively recent phenomena in Greek culture, they were very helpful. Greece, like Italy, is passionate about food and encourages people to savor it. Many people were heartbroken at the prospect of missing out on a full and delicious dinner, and more than one location was ecstatic to discover that I liked a modified meal prepared by them.

Despite the fact that Greek restaurants are a relatively recent phenomena in Greek culture, they were very helpful. Greece, like Italy, is passionate about food and encourages people to savor it. Many people were heartbroken at the prospect of missing out on a full and delicious dinner, and more than one location was ecstatic to discover that I liked a modified meal prepared by them.

When I went to the recently inaugurated Museum of Gastronomy in Athens, one of the co-founders, Konstantinos Matsourdelis, made an intriguing point about Greece’s financial crisis driving the nation to concentrate its diet inwards, with the government providing incentives to local farmers to produce vegetables. Rather than depending only on imports, Konstantinos believes the terrible crisis has a silver lining: it has reunited Greece to its agricultural origins, with new goods based on these subsidies now reaching the market. Hopefully, this attention applies to individuals with dietary limitations as well.

Greece’s Detailed Gluten-Free Restaurant Card

Source: themoscowtimes.com

I used a relationship with Helen from Discover Greece, a private sector-led tourist organization, to create this comprehensive card. She gladly linked me with many individuals, including the wonderful Despina from Culinary Backstreets, who made the remainder of my Athens vacation wheat-free.

Despina was kind enough to not only sit down and discuss my efforts to eat gluten-free in Greece, but also to invite me to participate in a celiac-friendly Athens food tour, which featured buckwheat bread (see below for bakery information), which was ideal for soaking up fava and feta.

Note: You may buy the card from a reputable 3rd party site that utilizes https, so you can be certain that your information is secure. I am not collecting emails or personal information from those who purchase the card.

Note: You may buy the card from a reputable 3rd party site that utilizes https, so you can be certain that your information is secure. I am not collecting emails or personal information from those who purchase the card.

On my trips, I tried many different translation cards and still felt sick. I may be more sensitive than other celiacs, but even a tiny quantity of tainted frying oil or a trace of wheat in my meal may make me sick for days. Not to mention the joint discomfort later in the week!

This card stands apart from the others on the market since it is:

  • This card stands apart from the others on the market since it is:
  • The card lists things such as pastry dough, thickened meatballs, and bread crumbs, but also specifies that we may consume buckwheat, yoghurt, rice, and other foods.
  • The card lists things such as pastry dough, thickened meatballs, and bread crumbs, but also specifies that we may consume buckwheat, yoghurt, rice, and other foods.

In Greece, what is safe to eat and naturally gluten-free?

In Greece, what is safe to eat and naturally gluten-free?

The restaurants listed below, for the most part, are not explicitly gluten-free, but they do have menus or meals that are safe to sample. As a consequence, I felt it would be useful to add items that aren’t safe to attempt, since this nation loves to thicken unexpected foods with bread crumbs and/or flour. Similar to a parsley dip.

The restaurants listed below, for the most part, are not explicitly gluten-free, but they do have menus or meals that are safe to sample. As a consequence, I felt it would be useful to add items that aren’t safe to attempt, since this nation loves to thicken unexpected foods with bread crumbs and/or flour. Similar to a parsley dip.

Vegetables in season

Source: myparea.com

Even when not on the menu, most restaurants will have a simple dish of steamed vegetables served with lemon. If you can’t locate a side dish that suits your stomach, the chef will nearly always accommodate you. Depending on the season, the types of veggies available may change greatly.

Even when not on the menu, most restaurants will have a simple dish of steamed vegetables served with lemon. If you can’t locate a side dish that suits your stomach, the chef will nearly always accommodate you. Depending on the season, the types of veggies available may change greatly.

If you go near a metro station or a market, you’ll almost certainly come across (and smell) a rotisserie or souvlaki restaurant serving gyros, grilled chicken, or traditional souvlaki. Meat or chicken platters are often the most costly, since they are still served with bread but with twice the amount of meat. I discovered that ordering a normal gyro without the bread caused confusion, but also provided precisely what I needed — a little amount of meat with some veggies. When I was sharing a platter with friends, I ordered the platter.

Please also provide your celiac card, since the grounds for your pickiness are medical rather than fussy. It goes a long way toward obtaining a plate while being polite. The platters will be excellent for people with larger appetites — just keep asking for no pita since the plate will surely have two thick, warm pieces thrown over the meat and salad when delivered.

Where: Gyro Gyro Ouli, 28 Sina Street, Athens, where I had the most wonderful and succulent grilled chicken I’ve ever had. Here’s a map.

Gyristroula, situated at 9 Agion Asomaton Square, corner of Adrianou street, across from the Thissio metro station, has great souvlaki and a great outdoor atmosphere.

Feta with Eggplant or Feta with Meat

Source: diabetesfoodhub.org

Near Athens’ major market, fresh feta is stored in barrels.

Near Athens’ major market, fresh feta is stored in barrels.

Salads from Greece

Squid grilled with lemon and spices. SO DELICIOUS.

Squid grilled with lemon and spices. SO DELICIOUS.

Tzatziki and Fava Dip

Source: honestcooking.com

If you come in the spring/summer, you’ll find fava dip on almost every menu. I’ve tried a lot of split peas, fava bean hummus, and other bean dishes, but the creamy yellow dip from Athens, particularly when steeped in fresh lemon juice, is still my favorite.

In Athens, take a Fava dip.

Tzatziki is a yoghurt dip with cucumber and fresh mint that many of us are acquainted with. Tzatziki was never made using flour in any of the eateries I visited.

Apaki

The picture below shows a more artisanal form of apaki, a Cretan smoked pig meal in which the pork is cut into strips and marinated in vinegar and spices for days before being seasoned and smoked over low fire. The idea is that it’s tasty — and gluten-free — whether it’s a nicely presented version or not.

Desserts made with yoghurt

Source: insanelygoodrecipes.com

Desserts made with yoghurt

Greek yoghurt with walnuts and honey is a gluten-free dessert.

Greek yoghurt with walnuts and honey is a gluten-free dessert.

In Greece, what is unsafe for a Celiac?

In Greece, what is unsafe for a Celiac?

Parsley Dip (Maintonasalata – mo) — sadly, this delectable parsley dip contains bread crumbs, which I only discovered late in the game. A recipe is available for people who are not gluten-free. It’s delectable.

Parsley Dip (Maintonasalata – mo) — sadly, this delectable parsley dip contains bread crumbs, which I only discovered late in the game. A recipe is available for people who are not gluten-free. It’s delectable.

Keftedes (Meat Balls) – Perfectly cooked meat balls with bread crumbs supplied at no additional charge. Sigh.

Keftedes (Meat Balls) – Perfectly cooked meat balls with bread crumbs supplied at no additional charge. Sigh.

Patsitsio is a meat and pasta dish topped with a flour bechamel sauce.

Patsitsio is a meat and pasta dish topped with a flour bechamel sauce.

Spanokopita is a spinach and cheese pie.

Spanokopita is a spinach and cheese pie.

More information about gluten-free eating in Greece may be found here.

More information about gluten-free eating in Greece may be found here.

See here for the remainder of my free celiac guides.

What should you do when you travel to a Mediterranean country and have celiac disease? You can make local purchases, but you can’t eat them. You can cut out gluten from your diet before going, but that deprives you of the experience of trying new foods. You can go gluten free while you’re there, which is fine, but then you’re stuck with the food you brought with you.. Read more about gluten free corfu and let us know what you think.

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