Coping easily in Whistler

Hi Jo!!

How are you?

Well its greetings from Sunny Whistler, after a week of consistent snow - which was awesome, the weekend has been sunny!

So, I've discovered quite a bit in terms of Gluten Free food here, so what follows its a long summary... which may be helpful for any clients travelling to whistler and/or Canada. Also - I should point out, that as I'm living here for the moment (and not working as there are no jobs) eating has been done with one eye on a budget (ie its not a lavish ski holiday) but at the same time, not a complete shoe string style either. :) Also, I would rate myself a highly sensitive coeliac - but not extreme. I never deliberately eat any gluten and can usually tell within a few minutes if I've mistakenly eaten some. So I think after eating, I'm reasonably good at knowing when something is GF and when it is not, however I'm sure some people are more sensitive than I.

Also - there are some photos attached, particularly of Nesters' supermarket, which was brilliant.


Supermarkets


The IGA's in Vancouver were decent, they had GF pasta, cereal etc (3 stars)

In Whistler there are two supermarkets in the village they had
GF bread - tasted pretty yuk
GF pasta - was fine
GF cereal - only offered 1 variety and i was lucky they had stock
Other items which were handy - Tamari GF soy sauce, some GF corn chips. Interestingly, seemingly all or at least most Doritos here are seeminly GF. They use all corn ingredients!
Basically it was just a matter of reading labels they didn't have an aisle or anything.
(3.5 stars)
 


However...

Just out of the Whistler village (5 mins bus, or 15 min walk) is a shopping strip called Nesters. The Nesters supermarket offered lots.

GF bread - tasted awesome!
GF pasta - again fine
GF cereal - several varieties, best cornflakes I've had since kelloggs by Natures Path 
A Freezer dedicated to GF food. A little bit like Coles do, but better! All sorts of frozen meals in there, bread, Bagels!, cakes etc There's a photo of this attached. Most of this is Glutino Brand  you might know of them? It seems they're the 'Freedom Foods' of Canada/North America.
Plenty of other snack foods, biscuits etc were available too. A brand worth noting here was "Lundberg" who offered easy cook Risotto's and some great rice and corn chips.
In terms of sauces, there were more options in Nesters - ie they had everything the Whistler Village supermarkets had plus more. Also, I picked up some Pad Thai sauce noodles in a box - which was GF. There were seemingly quite a few curry and stir fry options that were GF.

Nesters supermarket - 4.5 stars

Restaurants - 3.5 stars

A couple to note:

Quattro - Italian restaurant in Whistler Village (attached to Whiski Jacks resort/hotel). Offers a GF range of options including pasta and pizza. Was a bit pricey for me, apparently on thurs evenings its half price...might go then.:) Mains were $25- $40.

Dups - A takeaway mexican shop near the Marketplace end of the village. Can do Corn Quesidala's or tacos for you. All sauces are GF. Can eat there for $5-$15.... I go every second day!

Of the others, there are scores of restaurants, basically its a case of informing the staff just like in Oz and they'll accommodate. I've really only had a problem in a couple of cheap restaurants in Vancouver. Experiences in whistler have been pretty good.


On the Mountain...

This is the biggest tick of approval

Whistler Blackcomb run the mountain eateries etc. There are 2 main centres on each mountain. Lunchtime is very hectic and its a little mass produced (just like mt buller). But i went in at 2.30 and spoke to a friendly chef this week, he took me around and these were my options:

GF Soup - if it wasn't labelled, ask because usually one per day is GF
GF burgers - couldn't believe it. Complete with GF bun, Haven't had one that good since Food Cube in melb CBD shut down. Thought i'd feel sick from some sort of contamination issue, but the burgers are GF and the buns stored separately.
Stir fry - they seem to cook their stir fries in minimal marinade, then serve you rice, the stirfry and tip a sauce on top. I had stir fry veggies with curry sauce, was yum!
There are some more options, but the menu changes daily, so I'll have to find out! I know i missed a chicken curry cos i was in for lunch too late.
Best part for me was, that when unsure all the kitchen/serving staff had a folder they could consult quickly, obiously they take it seriously.
For lunch on the mountain - it costs $10-$20, which is expensive after a few days so sometimes i just skip it.:)
Tip - dont' go in for lunch between 12 and 2pm, its chaotic. You'll get more help fromt he staff outside those hours.
Whistler Blackcomb - 4.5 Stars

My only other comment on Canada is, it seems that their labelling is nearly as good as ours. That's what makes it easy. I'm not certain of whether items here are commonly incorrectly labelled Gluten Free when they're not in fact, but I've really had no issue with labelling whatsoever.

Well that's about it for whistler to date, will be here for another 2 weeks and then are looking at some time in the USA for a fortnight.

Hope you find it useful Jo!, will keep in touch
Rohan
 

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