I am a Canadian who now lives in Bamberg, Germany. I have had both good and bad experiences trying to find food that is safe for me to eat. Here is a list of my findings and some advice.
Great Findings and Experiences;
- Most grocery stores DO have a GF section. My favorite ones to shop at are Tegut and BIO-Denis.
- GF foods are clearly labeled in all shops. Even if the food is not made only for GF i.e. chocolate ect. there will be a allergie alert on the package stating whether or not it contains gluten.
- DM is a drogerie that has a gluten free food section for breads, snacks and pasta. I usually go to the one across the street from the Banhof (train station).
- Fresh meat and produce in Germany are awesome! You will easily find good and organic produce in almost any grocery store. Germany has a very high standard of food quality.
- Restaurants I recommend in Bamberg; Salinos (serves GF pasta), HOF Cafe has good salads, Aposto serves decent GF Gnocci and their chef is knowledgeable about Celiac disease. These restaurants are often busy, so do call ahead and make a reservation. Dont forget to tell them that you are Celiac and will require GF food.
- Franconian wine is AWESOME and there are many local producers. While everyone else is beer tasting in Barvaria, you can sample many GF friendly local wines that are available in most bars and in all grocery stores.
Not So Great Experiences;
- I have been glutened more than once eating at a restuarant after I had very specifically explained my allergy to my server and had her check with the kitchen. To anyone who has been glutened, you understand the pain and suffering this causes.
-My advice when eating out is to call ahead to the restaurant and ask to speak with the manager or someone who can speak English (or if you speak German). Ask if there is anything on the menu that would be safe for you to eat. I have been to many restaurants in Bamberg where there is nothing GF on the menu. Last, when your food comes check again with your server... just make sure this is the GF dish you ordered.
- Bread and beer are staples in German culture, especially in Barvaria. It is not common for someone not to consume these things daily. Breweries and beer gardens are very popular in Bamberg, and are common places for people to meet and socialize. My best advice is to go directly to the bar and explain that you cannot drink beer and ask if they have an alternative. Some places do not have GF beverage alternatives aside from pop or water. Dont be afraid to explain your Celiac requirements to your German friends. Germans are very particular with making plans and take pride in making sure everyone who is invited is taken care of. So if this means you meet at a bar that can serve a GF beverage instead of a Beer Garten... no problem.
Bamberg is a beautiful and historic city. I wish anyone travelling to it a safe and happy time!