Recently I returned from a month long sojourn down under to Australia and New Zealand. I was enthusiastic about the trip as it had been in the works for some time, but nothing could prepare me for the food.
Normally, when traveling, I maintain extremely low expectations for finding good gluten-free food. Usually I am happy if I can just find a fresh salad or some fruit, and make do. But not in Australia. EVERYTHING seems to be gluten-free in Australia. Well, not everything, but it does seem true that every establishment has gluten-free options, from McDonalds to the local bakery, from high-end harbor bistros to hole-in-the-wall burger joints. It was HEAVEN!
My hypothesis for this surprising occurrence lies in the genealogy of Australians. As most people know, when Britain first colonized the continent, it was used as a place to dump petty criminals, as the British jails were overflowing in the 19th century. Hence, the majority of Australian ancestors are of British, Irish and Scottish origins, and due to this, a larger percentage of Australians have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, in comparison to the US. Or maybe the country just gives more of a darn than we do… In any case, the wide selections of gluten free breads, falafel, cakes, salad dressings and pastas were greatly appreciated and impressive. If the US can start following Australia’s example in terms of gluten-free labeling and product support, it would mean a LOT to those of us who do eat gluten-free.
THANK YOU, AUSTRALIA!
You get my vote for being the MOST consistently gluten-free friendly place that I have ever visited.