Guest blogger Written by

Nikki Mennen (Netherlands)

Hi! I’m Nikki Mennen. I’m originally from the Netherlands and came all the way to Bournemouth to study an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing. For medical reasons I have to eat gluten free, which is always a bit of an adventure when moving to a new place. Are you allergic or intolerant to gluten? I’ll tell you about my experiences of eating gluten free in Bournemouth.

ASDA ‘Free From’ isle

As I live right down the street from ASDA, my experience of gluten free products in this supermarket is highly dependent on its ‘Free From’ isle. This isle positively surprised me, as it holds many gluten free (as well as dairy free, vegan, etc) products. I was able to find everything I was looking for to cook my breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even had plenty of choice of brands. They also have ‘Free From’ sections in the normal isles, the dairy cooler and the freezer section.

Gluten-free products range from bread and cookies to sauces, pasta and ice cream. Their wide variety of gluten- free baking mixes allows me to bake my own cakes and cookies. I was surprised to find gluten free granola, cupcakes, garlic bread and frozen pizzas.

Eating out made easy

As Bournemouth is a very lively town with many pubs, restaurants and clubs, I was very curious about the gluten-free options when eating out. Again, Bournemouth didn’t let me down: eating out with a special diet is very easy here. In every restaurant I’ve been so far they brought me a gluten free menu or explained the several options in person. I didn’t get sick once after eating out (trust me, this happens a lot), so I am very pleased.

My favourites are The Stable (gluten free pizzas!), Zizzi (Italian food), Ojo Rojo (almost all of their tapas options are gluten free) and Slug and Lettuce (especially for lunch). But I also noticed that gluten-free cakes are a very common here in Bournemouth, which is not the case in the Netherlands. I even started going swimming more often, to compensate for all those brownies! 

On campus gluten-free eating 

As I spend most days of the week on campus, I was happy to see that they also had some gluten free options available. In the Fusion Building, where lunch and dinner are served, they always have at least one gluten-free meal, also serving gluten-free and vegan pizzas. Besides that, I enjoy the salads at Dylan’s bar, and sometimes buy a gluten-free wrap at the Naked Coffee shop.

By Nikki Mennen, Netherlands, MA Creative Writing and Publishing, 2017/18