I’m a bit behind on my food blogging as I’ve been back from Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest for 2 weeks now but bare with me whilst I catch up with myself.
This is my first experience of going away since being a Coeliac so I was more than nervous about planning what I could eat and trying to make sure I was totally organised ‘food wise’ before we went. I made sure I had my cereal and bread ordered from Boots well in advance- it still only arrived two days before we left though- and had our food bag out ready to be pack for about a week before we left… I think I am slightly mad to be honest!
I rang up the information place at Center Parcs a couple of weeks before we went to see if there was anything I could eat- we’d booked tables for two nights we were staying there at ‘Hucks’ the American restaurant so I wanted to make sure there was definitely a choice there. I’d had a quick look at the menu and was feeling quite down really, that was until I spoke to a lovely gentleman on the phone who seemed to know plenty about food allergies and he told me what foods were safe for me to eat. He told me that the chips were gluten free and the majority of the meats were as well- if I wanted any meats just tell the chef and they won’t add any seasoning that contains gluten on to it- he also told me that if I wanted to order any burgers then to let them know and they’d order some GF burger buns in for my meal!! This gentleman was super duper helpful, and to my pure delight he also let me know that the Pancake House did GF versions of their pancakes!! Pancakes are my absolute favourite and there’s nothing I love more than filling myself full of amazing pancakes!! The ice cream in the Pancake House WAS gluten free, however the ice cream in the restaurant WAS NOT gluten free.
So anyway, feeling more positive I was definitely looking forward to my little holibob :)
When we got to Center Parcs I mentioned to the waiter at the restaurant that I was a Coeliac and he said it was fine, to have a look through the menu and the chef would come over to speak to me at my table. Very impressed I sat down and scoured the menu… All I really fancied that night was a burger really, and knowing the chips were gluten free rather than having to swap them for a jacket potato was a huge bonus!! Thinking about it I should have arranged for some GF bread buns to be ordered, but to be honest I never eat the bread with a burger- just personal preference, it fills me up too much- so the waiter said as I wasn’t having the bread I could order a side for my meal to make up for my lack of burger bun which was very sweet! My first meal was the first picture you can see; a double stacked burger. It came with two beef burgers, two lots of bacon and two lots of cheese!! Unfortunately I was starving and got a bit carried away so excuse the picture as I’d started eating my food already :-/
For dessert there was just one option, a chocolate cake which is the second picture, this was absolutely divine, totally demolished in around 1 minute!!
The third picture that I’ve posted is of a lunch that I ate in the Sports Bar one afternoon. I wasn’t very impressed with the choice of food that there was for us GF peeps, literally that was all I had the option of, chicken wings and chips. It was tasty, very tasty, but I would have preferred a sandwich or some soup of something or even just an option?!
My last picture I’ve posted is of a meal we had one night at the Country Club. This menu was very limited, there was only about 10 dishes that were on the menu in total for a main course, and for a GF person I could see about 3 meals that could be adapted. The meal I ate was the Hunters Chicken- chicken breast with bacon and cheese with chips and salad, the BBQ sauce was NOT gluten free- and also be careful if you eat here, the condiments were NOT gluten free either so they had to find me some sachets of Heinz sauces.
I completely forgot to take a picture of my pancake I had at the Pancake House, I think this was because I was just exhausted by the time my food came. When I went in the lady had explained to me to have a look at the menu and then she’d come over and help me adapt my food if there were toppings for my pancake that I couldn’t eat. I fancied a savoury pancake for once- I never ever make them savoury at home so this was very rare- and there was one with sun blushed tomatoes, goats cheese and pepperoni which sounded really tasty. I asked the lady if I could eat it and she told me that the pepperoni was not gluten free… so I tried swapping it for chorizo, which was apparently not gluten free either… this went on for quite some time, with all of the savoury pancakes- there was just not one that I could eat the main ingredients on!!! I was getting so frustrated and so was my other half, I felt like I was just wasting everyone’s time trying to find something I could eat… It felt horrible!! In the end I got the banoffee pancakes, which I practically eat at home every other week. I was so disappointed, I think it was just the experience that ruined it for me, I’ve not really experienced being told on that scale the amount of food I couldn’t eat. Normally when we go to Center Parcs we go to the Pancake House every day, this time we only went the once, I felt like I couldn’t put myself through all that hoo-haa again.
Overall I found the staff exceptionally helpful, they were all so kind and went out of their way to help me find food I could eat, it was just a shame that silly little things kept ruining it for me really. The shop as well, has a gluten free section which the lady in shop said contained cakes and all sorts, however unless you wanted bread, curry sauce or crisps you were out of luck :-/
I would definitely go back to Center Parcs again, but I’d be even better prepared with more lunchtime meals that I could prepare myself rather than relying on the food places there.
Next time hopefully won’t be so long for a blog!!