The beautiful original painting above by one of my best friends and favorite artists; Rachel Kokko. She painted these as the favors for each guest at her wedding and put together they make a full painting of the beautiful Chateau she and her husband got engaged and were married at. She's amazing.
After the second worst transportation fiasco I've experienced during my travels (the first involved forgetting my passport), my husband and I managed to change our rental car reservations and navigate our way on to a train from Paris to Dijon. Keep in mind, this was all after spending 20 hours gallivanting around Iceland with only a 4 hour plane ride worth of rest in between the adventure and the subsequent chaos of having no access to our funds. After sleeping most of the way and almost leaving my purse with all our cards and passports on the train, we arrived in Dijon both mentally and physically exhausted. Instead of easily heading to the various gluten free friendly health food stores I had researched and mapped out - we would have to drag our 3 weeks of luggage around the cobbled streets to find the nearest grocery store to stock up on food I could eat.
Thanks to the incredible kindness of the Dijon visitor center employees - we were able to find our way around Dijon and made it to the Monoprix. Looking at the first floor filled with apparel, I was dubious of the gluten free options I might find inside. I ventured up the escalator and found myself in grocery shopping heaven. Rows of fresh produce, sheeps milk cheese and yogurt, and a huge selection of gluten free baked goods. Including the things my gluten free dreams are made of; soft bread, croissants, and delicious cookies. If you find yourself in Dijon - don't fear, plenty of gluten free options can be found at the Monoprix.
Exhausted and loaded down with far too many groceries in addition to our luggage, we splurged on a cab ridge to the historic chateau we would be staying at in the small village of Vougeot.
Like I mentioned when telling you about our travels in Barcelona - we were on a strict food budget on this trip. So breakfasts and lunches were eaten in our room with food we either brought with us or bought at local grocery stores. We ate this way for full three weeks of our trip and I have to say - we ate the best while in France. Lunches of gluten free bread spread with fresh chevre and sliced tomatoes or other produce, breakfasts of granola with fruit and yogurt, and plenty of snacks brought from home.
Moving on to our dinners, oh good gosh - these meals were some of the best I've ever had, dare I say better than the vegetarian tasting menu at the French Laundry (at least back in 2007). Adding to their deliciousness was the fact that these amazing dinners included the rehearsal dinner and dinner for the wedding - each with previously set menus. With my dietary needs provided in advance, each dish was customized to my needs and in some cases new dishes were created just for me. And we're not talking just take out the sauce and all the extras - my meals were gorgeous and bursting with fresh flavors. This is something I never expect at any major event and I was so thankful and astounded at the attention paid to my meal by the chef and staff at both locations.
The rehearsal dinner was held at Tres Girard in Morey Saint Denis, whose romantic and intimate space reminded me of the French Laundry. Since the ambiance was maintained with low light and in effort to stay present, I opted not to take any pictures of our meal. At Tres Girard, they reworked almost the entire multi course menu for all of my dietary needs. I got to enjoy a delicious fish course with white beans, a savory watermelon and cucumber salad, a delicious fruit salad for dessert, and more.
Dinner at Chateau de Gilly was equally impressive and conveniently for a blogger, better lit. Again, I was treated to custom made dishes that tip toed carefully around the list of foods I can't have. Everything came out automatically and without question - what a wonderful experience to, for once, not to be worrying about every little thing. The gorgeous trout dish you see above was my absolute favorite course - I loved all the fresh veggies. Coming in a close second was a layered potato cake which you would have thought had been made with dairy - but was completely dairy free. Other treats included a perfectly cooked beef medallion and another gorgeous fresh fruit salad.
My gluten free eating experience in and around the Dijon area was fantastic. The gluten free options and plethora of real food in the grocery stores was better than most stores in the United States (the packaged gluten free bread did not require toasting...and I think that says it all). Best of all I was treated incredibly well by all the restaurant staff and was served simply immaculate dishes that I will always remember.
Gluten Free Friendly Spots In & Around Dijon France
View GFT's Gluten Free France Map in a larger map