Category: Travel

Where to find Gluten-free Desserts in Ubud, Bali

Gluten free Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake with pomegranate molasses
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I spent a month in Ubud and I have to say it’s a foodie’s paradise. I haven’t been anywhere that can compare with Ubud in terms of providing such a great range of high quality food options at an affordable price. Particularly for people with dietary restrictions. In a previous post I had mentioned that having cows milk in your coffee was unusual in Ubud as there are so many other options, but it doesn’t just stop there. If you are vegetarian, vegan, gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant or just want some healthy dining options, there is plenty to choose from, especially if like me you are looking for gluten-free desserts.

My choices on where to dine were based on my own food intolerances, namely gluten and dairy, but also a desire to eat healthy and avoid refined sugar. After extensive and arduous research, at great risk to my waistline, I narrowed it down to the following favourites for gluten-free desserts:

The easiest places to get gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free desserts are the two Raw Food Cafes in town:

Seeds of Life 

A vegan cafe with great smoothies and salad bowls. Has an extensive selection of raw desserts to choose from.

Alchemy   

Another vegan cafe, this one on the edge of Ubud in the area called Penestenan. Great smoothies and in my opinion the best raw desserts in town. Many of the desserts are sold out by mid afternoon so get there early.

A takeaway portion of the gluten and dairy free Coconut Cheesecake
A takeaway portion of the gluten and dairy free Coconut Cheesecake

Other Cafes:

Caramel

This little Patisserie does a great range of macarons but also have Gluten and dairy-free cakes available

The gluten free and dairy free Choco Nest Cake at Caramel
The gluten-free and dairy-free Choco Nest Cake at Caramel

Gaya Gelato

Gaya Gelato has branches all over Bali and two in Ubud. All their ice-creams are gluten-free but they also have a range of dairy-free sorbets. Their range changes daily so keep checking back for new flavours. The great thing about Gaya Gelato is that they take food intolerances seriously and label each flavour clearly as to whether it is gluten-free, dairy free, nut free etc. My favourite is the Cioccolato Arancia!

Gaya Gelato
Gaya Gelato

Atman Kafe

An extensive menu with Gluten and dairy free options. Delicious Kombucha. But my favourite  dish has to be the Coconut bread with Berry Compote and Coconut cream. Gluten-free, dairy -free, and refined sugar-free. Absolutely delicious! Sadly I only discovered it a few days before leaving but had it for breakfast every day after that.

Gluten free Coconut Bread with Berry Compote and Coconut Cream
Gluten free Coconut Bread with Berry Compote and a side of Coconut Cream and Palm Sugar

Kismet Cafe 

I believe this cafe serves the best Coconut Milk Latte in Ubud, something I had never had until visiting the town, but has now become a favourite way to get my caffeine fix.Also has some great vegetarian food options.

Coconut Latte

Seniman Coffee 

A hip coffee shop often filled with people running businesses from their laptops. Great coffee and cashew milk or coconut milk offered as non-dairy options

Coffee with a Side of Coconut Milk
Coffee with a Side of Coconut Milk

The Elephant  

A vegetarian restaurant with a beautiful view. Lovely place to sit and while away the hot afternoon hours over a cup of tea. The food is not great in my opinion, except for one dish. The Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake with Pomegranate Molasses. Gluten-free and to die for! It does have some dairy as it includes Ricotta but I took the risk and it was worth it. So good I ordered two!

Gluten free Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake with pomegranate molasses
Gluten free Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake with pomegranate molasses

Special Mention:

Hujan Locale 

Fabulous food from around the region with a separate Gluten free menu. One of my favourite restaurants in Ubud. They have gluten-free desserts too.

Locavore

Locavore is perhaps one of the most expensive restaurants in Ubud. At the time of writing it cost IDR500,000 per person for the 5 course degustation menu. However after eating there I can honestly say it is worth every penny and I would gladly go back again. The 5 courses actually end up being about 15 courses once you factor in all the different Amuse Bouches which come between course. The meal is beautifully spaced, taking about two hours from start to finish but you never feel that you are waiting for the next course or that too many dishes are coming at the same time. The reason I mention them here is that they can cater for any food intolerances you may have. I had a fully gluten-free meal and left the restaurant with a full and satisfied stomach. Sensational food at a fraction of what it would cost you for something similar in Europe. You have to book a table in advance as they are extremely popular.

Their new outlet, Locavore to Go, serves a delicious gluten-free sweet potato bread. Great for breakfast.

Breakfast at Locavore to Go, with gluten-free Sweet Potato Bread
Breakfast at Locavore to Go, with gluten-free Sweet Potato Bread

 

Don’t forget to visit my Author Page on Amazon to check out my Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-Free Dessert Cookbooks

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Coconut Latte – Dairy Free

Coconut Latte
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Coconut Latte

Recently I spent a month in the delightful town of Ubud in Bali. It’s a beautiful place and if you haven’t been it’s well worth visiting.

What makes it even better is that for those of us who follow a gluten free and dairy free diet, there are countless options for eating out. In fact I have never been to a town where there are so many food options available for those who are gluten and lactose intolerant, but more about that in another post.

Indonesia is one of the great coffee growing nations of the world, and consequently Ubud has a thriving coffee culture with delightful coffee shops on almost every street. However what is interesting is that cows milk is almost an exotic ingredient here. Every coffee bar has non-dairy alternatives from the familiar soya milk, to cashew milk and coconut milk.

Now I have been a die-hard black coffee drinker for years but after visiting Ubud, my new addiction  is a Coconut Latte!

It’s delicious and the fat content in the coconut milk seems to blunt the effect of the caffeine, so you don’t get a caffeine spike followed by a crash. Instead it seems to have a gradual effect and I never felt hyper even after drinking two Lattes in quick succession. The coconut milk ensures a lovely creamy drink that despite the caffeine does actually have some health benefits. I’ve written about the health benefits of coconut many times before, but in summary, coconut is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial.

I wanted to reproduce a Coconut Latte once I got home and after a couple of experiments found that it was easy to replicate even without a specialised coffee machine and milk steamer.

So here is how you too can do it:

I won’t go into the actual coffee making part because you will all have your own way of making the espresso. Personally I use a stovetop espresso maker.

For the coconut milk I use Kara coconut cream. It’s the same brand they use in Ubud and I found it works really well in the Latte. It also doesn’t contain any preservatives or emulsifiers.

Shake the can/carton first and measure 200 ml per cup into a small pot. If the coconut cream is really thick you can add water.

On a slow heat stir the coconut milk constantly until the milk becomes hot. It’s important to do this slowly as coconut milk can burn very easily.

Once the coconut milk is hot enough pour it into a blender and blend on high speed for 30 secs.

Its important to blend the coconut milk as it aerates the milk and gives a similar effect to using a milk steamer. You can also use a hand blender to get the same effect.

In each cup pour a small measure of espresso and then pour the blended coconut milk over the top.

Sweeten to taste. (The coconut cream has a sweetness all on it’s own so taste first before adding your preferred sweetener).

Enjoy!

Don’t forget to visit my Author Page on Amazon to check out my Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-Free Dessert Cookbooks

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Allergy Free eating in Europe!

Cafe Central Budapest
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For the past few years I have been based in India. A country where until very recently, the concept of gluten free has been dismissed as some unusual fabrication from the west.

I have lost count of the times that I have been told that “it’s all in your mind” and “don’t worry it doesn’t have wheat in it, I put bread crumbs instead”. Things are changing slowly but I have grown used to the fact that when I eat out, I have to be very careful and can forget about having any dessert.

My wife and I had planned a lengthy trip to Europe and before going I was a little nervous about how I would manage to explain my gluten and lactose intolerance to restaurant staff in another language.

It turned out that I had nothing to worry about!

Language never turned out to be an issue, Europeans being incredibly multilingual making me feel very inadequate with my single language of English.

However what surprised and delighted me the most was that the European Union enacted a law in December 2014  that requires restaurants to label their menus with the allergens that each dish contains.

Menus now have a guide to allergens and then beside each dish are the letters pertaining to the allergens as listed in the key.

The 14 foods currently included in the European Union Food Allergen List  are:

Milk

Egg

Cereals Containing Gluten (wheat, rye and barley)

Fish

Crustaceans

Mollusks

Tree Nuts

Soy (soya)

Peanuts

Sesame

Lupin

Mustard

Celery

Sulfur Dioxide (Sulfites)

So it was easily to select a dish and see whether it contained gluten or lactose or any number of other allergens, some of which I never knew were allergens but certainly happy that I don’t suffer from. Celery for example!

The picture I took below is of a menu in German, although a lot of restaurants have English menus as well. But once you have seen one you just need to remember the letter for your allergen. For example if you have an allergy to gluten you remember the letter A and if you have an allergy to dairy products then you remember the letter G.

German Food Allergen Guide

Both of the desserts below for example contain milk and nuts.

Guide to Food Allergy

Even better were the fabulous Cafes in Vienna with their delicious coffees and incredible pastries. Every Cafe I visited had at least one gluten free or dairy free pastry.

Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse Cake
A Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse at Vienna’s famous Cafe Sacher
Gluten Free Fragilité, at Vienna's Café Demel
Gluten Free Fragilité, at Vienna’s Café Demel

It’s safe to say in the span of one month I ate enough cakes and pastries to make up for all the years I have spent in India!

Cafe Central Budapest
The famous Cafe Central in Budapest once a favourite meeting place for Hungarian writers
Cafe Central Interior
Cafe Central Interior

 

Gluten Free Hungarian Poppy Seed Cake
Gluten Free Hungarian Poppy Seed Cake

 

Don’t forget to visit my Author Page on Amazon to check out my Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-Free Dessert Cookbooks

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