What would you do if you were stuck in the middle of the ocean with nothing to eat……?
As a vegetarian, I’m highly aware of the challenges of eating out. Luckily for me, vegetarianism is now common and most restaurants cater for our requirements – even though the variety of choice can often be uninspiring.
But after being invited to an event for celiacs onboard MSC Musica recently, I realized how much of a predicament some people with special dietary requirements still face.
There’s been much attention paid recently to celiac disease, an auto-immune disorder that impairs the body’s ability to process wheat. With no cure, sufferers must control their symptoms by avoiding a raft of common foods including bread, pasta, flour, cereals, cakes and crackers – meaning that eating outside of the home can be quite traumatic.
MSC works closely with the Italian Celiac Association to ensure gluten-free menus at every meal, prepared by specially-trained staff. The cruise line even has a dedicated area of the kitchen where gluten-free fare is prepared, enabling those with celiac disease to take a relaxing holiday where they can enjoy their meals.
Attended by celiacs and their partners, the event onboard the ship, docked in Dover, England, involved a cooking demonstration, a ship tour (including the very impressive gluten-free kitchen galley), and most importantly, a celiac-friendly lunch.
The beauty of the menu was that every single dish offered was gluten-free. Guests were excited to be able to select from the entire menu, without the worry of asking “will this make me ill?”
Dishes were as delicious as their descriptions, and offerings included spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and hot chili pepper; tuna salad with roasted black olives, borlotti beans and red onion rings; and golden trout fillet with sliced almonds served with celery root puree and julienned crispy leeks.
And, another benefit is that because MSC has a gluten-free galley on most ships, those who have celiac disease needn’t call ahead of their cruise to inform the line of their intolerance (leaving more time to pack!)