Travelling Brussels with Food Allergies
I was a little nervous and unsure what it would be like travelling to Brussels with food allergies. I’ve actually been to Brussels twice, but both times my food allergies were not as severe as they are now. Before my first anaphylactic reaction, I was a lot more daring with the food I ate. So yes I ate Belgian chocolate without checking, and you guessed it, I had a reaction. Needless to say, my memories of Brussels are of throwing up at the train station. See why I was nervous 😉
In my pre-anaphylaxis days, not only did I try the chocolate I also had the waffles. Neither of which I would even dream of eating now due to the high chances of cross-contact with nuts (one anaphylactic reaction will teach you that no chocolate is worth even a tiny taste). If you have a tree nut allergy, it’s best to stay away from trying a Belgian Waffle. The waffle stands are compact and have Nutella, almonds, and other nutty ingredients in their small working space.
Who needs Belgian Waffles when you can make these easy 3 Ingredient Whole Wheat Waffles. I promise you aren’t missing out!
Grocery Shopping in Brussels
This time around we were visiting family and they all know that it is easier if we cook ourselves. We bought groceries at Delhaize (a bigger chain) and produce from a farmer’s market. Grocery shopping was easy because I can understand French and the labeling was in French and Dutch. They also bold the top 14 allergens making it easier to spot common allergies.
Eating & Drinking in Brussels
We ate out once and opted for a Belgian Brasserie. They accommodated my allergies with a warmth you don’t often experience in touristy areas. The chef was able to make an off the menu salmon dish free from sunflower oil. Since the meal was not a menu item I felt secure about it being safe. Of course, I had my allergy card with me, which always makes it easier to communicate with the kitchen. Having an allergy card is a must when travelling and eating out.
And we certainly couldn’t visit Brussels without trying the Belgian beers! At all the bars we went to either crackers or pretzels are given as a snack. No peanuts in sight! What a relief! Going out to bars always goes hand in hand with a small amount of anxiety because of high chances they serve peanuts. The last thing you want is to be drinking alcohol and have a reaction. In Brussels, it was very easy to enjoy a relaxed beer with no peanuts in sight.
Brussels: all the Languages!
I recently read about Amanda Orlando’s (from Everyday Allergen-Free) dinning experience in Frankfurt, Germany and was surprised to hear she went to a restaurant where they only spoke Italian. Luckily, most people can speak English in Brussels. It is home to the European Parliament and has a very international population. I never encountered a language or allergy problem the whole weekend away.
Have you been to Belgium? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below. 😀
Going on a European adventure? You may be interested in…
• Allergy Friendly Paris
• Travelling Easyjet with a Peanut Allergy
Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!
We were just looking at a possible trip to Brussels, so I appreciate posts like this. Traveling with food restrictions can be tricky.
We just moved to Brussels (peanuts, nuts) and are trying to compile a list of safe restaurants. So this was helpful.
I’m glad to hear you found this post helpful. I would love to know what other restraints you have on your list. You may also want to check out http://www.allergytravels.com for more tips 😀
Wow, congrats! I would love to know your list as well, I am peanuts and will be visiting in September.
What bars did you go to in Brussels? Thank you!!
I am honestly not sure where we went again. I was staying with my brother-in-law so most of them were in his neighbourhood. We did go to one by the train station, but that was more because we were waiting for someone – I wouldn’t recommend hanging out in that area since it was a little sketchy. We did stop into two in the main tourist area which did not serve nuts. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful (I need to write these things down in the future!) Hope you have fun in Brussels.
Thank you! I do the same thing, I need to get better about writing these things down.