Have to stick to a gluten free diet? If so, you may have gone to some endeavor to find enough tasty options in Wroclaw to suit your needs. Nevertheless, things do seem to be changing for the better as more and more establishments start to accommodate those with gluten free diets. In this guide, I'll shed some light on a selection of shops, cafes and restaurants that are gluten free friendly.
If you have celiac’s and are living in Poland, you may already have this card printed out: celiactravel.com/cards/polish
But if you’re avoiding gluten for other health reasons, you’ve likely discovered that it isn’t all that easy to find gluten-free food in Wroclaw.
First, the good news: it’s really easy to find lots of good gluten-free products, such as pasta, flour and bread, in different stores around town. The bad news is, while there are tasty restaurant options, there just aren’t that many of them. Plenty of grocery stores carry Schar brand gluten free products, as well as brands made in Poland, but the dining options for those gluten-free in Wroclaw is still fairly limited.
Also, in my experience in trying to locate gluten-free pizza in the year I’ve lived here: always call ahead, as some places will announce gluten-free on the menu, only to have actually discontinued the service when you arrive.
Pizza & pasta
If you’re in the mood for Italian food, Chcesz Gryza? near Ferio-Gaj has you covered. Offering both gluten-free pizza crust and corn pasta, definitely check this place out. One caveat: the gluten-free pizza takes two hours to prepare, so make sure to call ahead. But the wait is worth it for some of the best-tasting wheatless pizza I’ve had. Bonus: a big selection of toppings.
Freshpoint in Pasaż Grunwaldzki has bread shipped in from Margita bakery, based in Warsaw. The bakery does excellent gluten-free bread: flavorful and chewy, a bit like ciabatta, and not at all that crumbly, an issue so many gluten-free breads have.
So Coffee has gluten-free chocolate cake, which is always kept safe in a glass container (no fear of cross-contamination!) The cake is rich and brownie-esque, and can be topped with raspberry syrup (as in the photograph below.)
Also, Costa Coffee, which seems to have replaced Coffee Heaven, offers pre-packaged gluten-free brownies, which are nice if you have a sweet tooth but are in a hurry (almond flour, if you’re curious!).
Another place worth a mention is Vega, which always has a gluten-free cake in its dessert case (of course, the said cake is also vegan.) Frankie’s have occasionally had gluten-free apple pie, but only rarely in my experience.
On top of that, Etno Cafe have got in touch to say do gluten free cakes as well as gluten free vegan chocolate bars, although their variable menu means you might not be guaranteed to find something gluten free everyday. One more cafe to contact us has been Vinyl Cafe, who do gluten free brownies and meringue fruit cake.
La Maddalena (left), Food Art Gallery (right)
The website menubezglutenu.pl is a helpful resource for finding spots with gluten free options on the menu.
Upmarket restaurants such as Patio, Food Art Gallery and La Maddalena are all listed under Bez Gluten’s website of gluten-free friendly places. While the menus are mouthwatering, they also tend to stay away from traditional Polish food such as pierogi, pancakes and dumplings, which are of course trickier to make gluten-free.
Patio (left), Obiadomek (right)
Another great place for gluten-free foods is the atmospheric Nalanda, who are currently striving for a gluten-free cuisine certificate from the Polish association of people with celiac disease. Every day they cook two soups and two main meals and nine times out of ten they are gluten-free and vegan (such as their gluten free Indian samosas). They also do gluten free desserts including tofurnik, buckwheat cake with fruit, carrot cake with mascarpone, chocolate muffins and rice & coconut cream cake.
While I can understand not trying to make gluten-free zurek soup, I’m still surprised by the lack of gluten-free restaurants in Wroclaw. I would like to see more try their hand at making pieorgi with rice flour, or importing the Czech Republic’s Celia Lager? And if you want to order gluten-free pierogi, your two closest options are in Poznan and Krakow.
Shopping gluten-free is actually rather easy. A lot of stores carry Schar, the biggest brand of gluten-free products in Europe.
Organic Farma Zdrawia in the basement of Renoma wins the award: every Monday, they have gluten-free pierogi in stock. (Sadly, on Tuesday, they’re frequently sold out). They often have gluten-free croquets as well.
EPI, near Arkady, easily has the largest selection of gluten-free products, including flour, bread, pastas, and frozen goodies (like pizza, fish sticks, and lasagna.) They carry gluten-free beer too.
Gluten free products at EPI (left) and Delikatesy T&J (right)
Delikatesy T&J in the basement of Pasaz Grunwaldski is another excellent bet. While they don’t have the same selection of frozen things as EPI, they have a much better range of gluten-free bread and flours, and carry a lot more local Polish brands. Having said that though, they have now started carrying Schar brand frozen pizzas too. As well as that, Leclerc has a good choice of Schar brand breads, mixes and pastas, while Alma and Piotr i Pawel also have reliable selections of gluten-free products.
Small health food stores such as Naturalny Market, Bio Maniac Delikatesy Ekologiczne, and Zdrowa Krowa are well worth considering too. Another thing I’ve noticed is that lots of conventional smaller stores are starting to carry gluten-free items as well. My suggestion would be to stop by the little store nearest to where you live, as you might just be surprised by what they carry.
To skip: Tesco and Lidl seem to be the two holdouts for gluten-free stuff. The last time I was at Tesco, I saw a few things, but there are much better selections almost anywhere else.
This blogger has good tips about living gluten-free in Poland: glutenfreeandme.com
This is a wonderful blog, with lots of great tips and recipes, but it is in Polish: bezglutenowamama.pl
Additional Information provided By readers and more
Tips sent to us by Linda Forster Bielicki
For me, the best 2 places in Wroclaw to shop for gluten free foods are Auchan in Bielany and Carefour in Borek, they both have HUGE gluten free sections with a large range of good quality gluten free products. They both also carry their own range. Forget any other Carefour though, the borek one is the one. Alma and Piotr i pawel are also superb for gluten free.
All the supermarkets can be a bit hit and miss depending on shipments, the good stuff sells out fast, so its worthwhile popping in often.
Alma and Epi are the best for sausages and sandwich hams, almost no other supermarkets carry the gluten free ones. Do watch out with polish sausages as almost all contain wheat/gluten products or traces of them. Its best to stick to the certified gluten free ones.
While some places do offer gluten free pizza, it is important to remember that they still won't be safe for Celiacs if made using the same equipment in the same premises due to contamination.
The celiakia.pl list of restaurants is checked and certified by them – I have been to a few and had an amazing time. However, in my experience the understanding in other restaurants has been almost non existent.
Also, If you go to hospital in Poland as a celiac, you need to bring your own food. The ladies who work in the kitchen are not trained dieticians, but instead "dinner ladies". Many have had little or no training and consequently wont know about people's gluten free needs and cross contamination.
As regards the store " Organic Farma Zdrawia", I have always found there to be a bit of a dissapointment. Perhaps I've just been very unlucky, but every time I've been there I've gone home empty handed!