One of the things I like most about traveling is getting to try local gluten-free products that I may not have come across otherwise. Granted, living in New York City I am spoiled for gluten-free products as there are so many smaller speciality shops that import unique global products and brands that you would not necessarily find in larger chain supermarkets (though even that is changing).
On my annual visit to Montreux this year, it included a week in the Rhône-Alpes of France where I rented a stunning renovated farmhouse chalet from the 1800s — which also meant that there would be the opportunity to cook some meals and snacks if desired so a trip to the local grocery store was in order. While we were staying in a very small, somewhat remote town, there was a rather large Intermarché located close-by and I was excited to see what gluten-free items they would have on offer.
The market had a separate section for gluten-free (and other special dietary needs) so that made it easy to find staple items. Other items were mixed-in with the regular stock and there was definitely no shortage of suitable gluten-free items. In the gluten-free section I was introduced to a new brand that I had not come across in my gluten-free travels — Gerblé. I was primarily focused on finding breakfast options since we would be out and about during the day and would be going out to dinner all nights except the first night as we arrived in the afternoon and just wanted to stay in for the evening having driven over from Switzerland. Gerblé also make a other lines that are not gluten-free (i.e. sugar free) which were in close proximity to the gluten-free items so be sure to double-check you’re picking-up sans gluten and not sans sucres — the boxes are different colors.
There was quite a selection of Gerblé products so I selected some gluten-free breads and sweets from their line including Biscuit Cacaoté (cream-filled Oreo-like cookies), Cake Fourré à la Fraise (miniature strawberry-filled pound cakes), Pétales de Céréales & copeaux de Chocolat (cereal flakes with chocolate shavings), Crousti’Pause Coeur Cacao Noisette (chocolate hazelnut cream filled sticks), Pain campagnard (country-style bread) and Pain aux Graines (seeded bread).
I am a huge bread person so was eager to try both the Pain campagnard and Pain aux Graines. The Pain aux Graines was a hearty seed-filled pre-sliced loaf that was a mix of rice, buckwheat, and millet flours which gave the bread a really nice soft texture and lovely nutty flavor. The bread was soft out of the package and toasted-up perfectly — not to mention NO HOLES as has remained a challenge for U.S.-based gluten-free breads like Udi’s. The Pain campagnard uses the same base flours but is shaped into larger slices and has a more rustic texture. I really enjoyed this bread as it was very similar to a farmhouse-style bread that I have not been able to find pre-made. A bit of preserves or melted local cheese and you’re good to go with either varieties.
The sweet treats also did not disappoint. The Biscuit Cacaoté are similar to Oreos here in the U.S. and were really quite nice. They had a rich cocoa flavor without the filling being too sweet making these the perfect sweet cookie treats. The Cake Fourré à la Fraise were small little pound cakes that had a subtle sweetness that was elevated by a strawberry filling. They were perfectly soft and had a really nice texture that was smooth and not grainy. Breakfast would not be complete without cereal and the Pétales de Céréales & copeaux de Chocolat was outstanding. The flakes were not sweet allowing the chocolate shavings to take that providing the perfect balance between the earthiness of the flakes and sweetness of the chocolate. The Crousti’Pause Coeur Cacao Noisette were quite good as well. Crispy rice sticks filled with a rich “heart” of hazelnut chocolate cream that had a subtle sweetness to it that paired perfectly with the flavor of hazelnut.
Even when staying at a hotel while traveling, I still enjoy visiting local markets to pick-up snacks and see what regional gluten-free items are on offer. It’s always fascinating to see other countries approach to gluten-free living and the products that are available. You can learn more about Gerblé Products on their website(in French) as they have a range of gluten-free items across categories that I am definitely looking forward to trying.