Can You Go Gluten Free in Russia?

Can You Go Gluten Free in Russia?
09 August 2016

Can You Go Gluten Free in Russia?

Pelmeni, Pierogi, Buuzy – Russian food is delicious but notoriously loyal to one food group; carbs. So can you cope here if you are one of the growing number of people who prefer to go gluten free?

Russia has, there’s no denying it, a reputation as a difficult country to travel to – there’s the protracted visa process, the language barrier, the Cyrillic signage – and now one of the many additional worries for visitors is inadequate allergen alternatives. But, as with so many things regarding life in Russia, the scaremongering is misleading. Whether you’re allergic, intolerant or simple conscious of  avoiding an overly starchy diet there are many options for finding gluten-free fare in St. Petersburg, this blog will give you tips and advice about how to go wheat-free whilst here.

The word for gluten-free in Russian is без глютена. See? They have a word for it, I told you it was a thing. Whilst its true that, in the late nineties, the only gluten-free products available in food markets here were corn grits and certain subsets of porridge, now the situation has completely changed, and continues to evolve as allergen awareness, and knowledge of diseases such as celiac becomes more widespread. This means that there is now a small contingent of health-conscious restaurants and cafes, a large number of online food retailers and specialist supermarkets that provide gluten-free food. You can find them and other resources on this handy map.

St. Petersburg’s celiac society  is an invaluable resource for regularly updated advice, full of information about the disease, healthcare, support and ideas of where to source gluten-free food. It was an initiative of the society to open the first gluten-free supermarket in the city, which caters  for celiac and food allergies with high-quality products.  Диетческое Питание (Dietary Food),  is located centrally , (32, Lesnoy pr., Metro, Vyborgskaya) and has a huge selection of gluten-free grocery shopping, in fact they stock over 400 gluten-free and hypoallergenic products of Russian and foreign manufacturers. You can find multiple types of bread, pasta, cakes and cookies here. Also in the centre of town are certain bakeries specializing in gluten-free cakes and treats.

Internet shopping is huge in Russia, with many delivery and payment options available. Below are links to the gluten- free sections of the relevant sites:

But although a growing number of specialist stores cater for the hypo-allergic food industry, you can also rely on one of the national food staples: buckwheat. Греча is  misleadingly named in English –it  has nothing to do with wheat and is completely gluten-free! Its also available  almost every grocery  and corner shop, which will sell likely more than one variety, even buckwheat flour. There are countless traditional Russian recopies to be made with it, including bucketwheat pancakes and kasha.

приятного аппетита!

This blog was brought to you by Kamila, intern and student at Liden and Denz St. Peterburg

Posted by Kamila

Hi! I'm Kamila, studying Russian at Liden & Denz, Moscow and blogging about events, explorations and (most importantly) espresso…

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