Thursday, March 3, 2011

Traveling Gluten Free / Dairy Free in Buenos Aires, Argentina

I just got back from a week long Spanish immersion class in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Although I encountered very little specifically laid out for those following a gluten free and/or dairy free diet, I did get by ok.  Most restaurants / waitstaff understood my concerns, however, please keep in mind that I speak passable Spanish and only have severe reactions to dairy cross contamination (I wasn't sick at all).  Also, like the U.S., quite a bit of their food is breaded and fried, and dairy features in their cuisine as well so you do have to be careful.

I did visit two 'dieteticas' (argentinian for 'health food store') and also found gluten free cookies easily in most supermarkets.  Unfortunately, a lot of gluten free options there contained dairy, including all of the bread products!  I had cookies in normal flavors: vanilla, chocolate, as well as an interesting thumb print cookie with something called Quince.  I saw but did not purchase gluten free / dairy free Jamon (ham) flavored cookies and Pizza flavored cookies!

Bread products "con Gluten" or "with Gluten" in English!
I also had a lot of false starts in the supermarkets.  Here in the U.S., when you see the word 'Gluten' on a product it is usually followed by the word 'Free'.  There however, quite a few bread products said "con Gluten" on them which translates as with Gluten.  I have no idea why they felt a need to point out their bread product contained gluten (just like all the others!)  Perhaps, they add extra gluten?!?!?

The only eatery where I saw gluten free prominently displayed was at an ice cream shop in a mall. (They had two dairy free options lemon and strawberry.)  Overall, I just stuck to simple meals - grilled meat/chicken/fish mostly.

If you are going to Buenos Aires, I would recommend checking out these articles and sites as well:

Gluten-Free Guidebook - Gluten Free Buenos Aires

Gluten-Free Guidebook - Buenos Aires Restaurants

Gluten Free Buenos Aires

You may also want to review these tips for traveling with dietary concerns: Traveling Dairy Free / Gluten Free

Updated - 5/24/11

Argh, Laura from Gluten Free Traveller did a much better job of finding all the best GF options in B.A. than I did.  You can check out all of her Buenos Aires posts here: or if you're going farther afield her South America posts:  I only wish I had started following her blog sooner!

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