Where to buy gluten-free products in South Africa?
The last time I traveled to South Africa, in September 2018, I was surprised again! As in France, for example, restaurants do not indicate that they offer gluten-free dishes, but more and more, the word “gluten-free” can be found in their menus. But hey! In South Africa, you have be as careful as in France. As an anecdote, some restaurants offer gluten-free pasta with gluten-full sauce… they still do not understand the issue of cross-contamination and do not take into account that some ingredients may contain gluten, especially those used to thicken sauces…
But… what happens if a celiac lives there? Are there any shops specializing in diet food? Is it possible to find gluten-free products in supermarkets? Yes it is! And just like in Spain, you can buy gluten-free products in South Africa in supermarkets that have them grouped by categories (bread, cookies, pastries, cereals, etc.) or in others that have an area dedicated to dietetic products.
The last time I was in Johannesburg, after eating the ox tail with red wine sauce at the Trumps at Nelson Mandela Square, we went for a walk around the Sandton shopping center. Strolling between clothing stores and accessories, we saw that there was a Woolworths supermarket. You will find establishments of this chain in the majority of large cities of the country. In fact, it is one of the most important chains in the country.
As you can see in the photographs, this supermarket chain sells a lot of gourmet products. There were imported brands that I had never seen before and other local brands I did not know either. All with the gluten free stamp and indicating other allergens. Cool!
Walking through the store I saw an island full of chocolates and I directly went there. There were some exposed with a very nice packaging. The girl saw it in my eyes… “he loves chocolate!” she may have said to herself and as she raised her sleeves she came to catch me. She explained all the chocolates on her island. The more she talked, the more I liked that area!
There were more than 12 references of chocolate: black, very black, with milk, with milk and almonds, with sea salt and caramel, with cinnamon, with honey, with mint, with chai tea, with cookies, one even more black, white… and a long etc. After talking a lot, I tried to get rid of her with the best question: “is it gluten gluten free?”, then she drew a mischievous smile in her face while, with her finger, pointed to the bottom of ALL the packaging indicating the text that read: “NON GMO – GLUTEN FREE – SUSTAINABLY SOURCED “.
Busted!! I had no excuse and after that I was even more interested in those chocolates… and then I was even luckier: “We have a promotion” she said… “What a coincidence!” I thought as I looked at the little box she showed me. It was the magnificent gift to bring Isabel! The promotion consisted of a box with three units… I took 3 boxes with a reference of each! One for Isabel, of course, and the other two… No! I did not keep them all! Another was for my Mother who, although she always says she should not eat chocolate, she loves it! The last one was for me! The chocolate brand is called De Villiers and it is South African.
After paying the 9 chocolate bars, we continued walking. I was already with the radar set looking for more stores! Although we did not find any store specialized in dietetic products, we saw another chain of supermarkets that you will also find in many South African cities. This was called Dis-Chem and is similar to the DM that you can find in some cities in Austria, Germany or Italy. It is a drugstore where there are cosmetic products, some detergents and also a section of dietetics or health food.
In the chain of Dis-Chem supermarkets you will find gluten-free products in a single area. It is easy to find because hanging from the ceiling there is a huge sign that indicates: “Free From GLUTEN @ Dis-chem” and, on the wall, you will see in big words “Health Food”.
Here you will not find gourmet products like the Woolworths supermarket, but you will find brands that, if you come from Europe, you will know them well.
After exploring the rest of the mall we saw a Spar, but they had nothing gluten free, so we went back to the hotel to prepare the suitcase. The next day we went to Cape Town.
BY CLICKING ON THE MAP OF GLUTEN FREE RESTAURANTS YOU FILL SEE ALL RESTAURANTS WE DESCRIBED IN THIS POST LOCATED IN THE MAP:
AND HERE WE LEAVE THE CELIAC TRAVEL CARD:
P.S.: Please keep in mind that in this blog I share my trips, anecdotes and experiences about gluten free travel around the world. It is possible that, in any of my trips, I go to some restaurant not trained by the associations where the risk of being contaminated with gluten exists. I kindly ask you to also take into account that the list of references can change. Please, always double check before eating in the restaurants we recommend. Thank you very much!
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