The US Virgin Islands Best Guide

Help finding gluten-free food??

Clear all

Help finding gluten-free food??

Please Register / Login to take part in discussions about the Virgin Islands.

5 Posts
5 Users
0 Reactions
Posts: 1
New Member
Topic starter

Hi all,
We are heading to STJ for two weeks in about a month, and are very excited about it, but I have one major concern....

I have celiac disease, and so cannot eat any foods with wheat, rye, barley, or oat ingredients (or that have touched utensils/dishes/hands that have touched food containing these items); they will make me very ill. I am planning on bringing some food with me, but there is obviously no way I can pack enough food for two weeks. I have not really traveled since I found out I have celiac disease, so I am a bit worried about finding enough food that won't make me sick to fuel all the hiking, snorkeling and kayaking we are going to do......

What I would like to know, from those of you who live there (or on STT or STX), visit often, or maybe also have celiac disease(!) is how easily you think I will be able to find restaurants that would be able to accommodate this rather restrictive diet. For example, do restaurants generally serve naturally gluten-free food (i.e., not much pasta, no flour tortillas, no sauces that may use flour as a thickener, no bread or other breaded foods), are the proprieters/waitstaff willing to help with special dietary needs (communicate my needs to the kitchen staff), can they actually tell you what is in their foods (you would be surprised at how many places really don't know or aren't allowed to disclose), etc.

Any tips about good places to buy food would also be welcomed; places that sell "natural" or "whole" foods generally also have some specially marketed gluten-free items. I am not at all sure of how much selection will be available. Are the same brands available in the islands that are available on the mainland (this would help because some here are very good about labeling any gluten sources)?

We are staying in one of the Concordia eco-tents, so we will have a kitchen, but not a fancy one, and since this is closer to Coral Bay, any information on places in Coral Bay or the east side of the island would be great!

I guess one last question would be regarding brining food in to the USVI...are there any items that we are not allowed to bring over from the mainland (I am planning on getting fresh fruits/veggies/meats once we get there, so those won't be an issue)?

THANKS in advance for helping us make this vacation the greatest ever!!
(and for reading this somewhat long, probably rather boring post)

Posted : October 13, 2008 8:05 pm
Posts: 3316
Famed Member

I don't know how much of a selection of gluten-free foods you can find on STJ and I'll leave that to the STJ residents to answer but if you can make a stop at Plaza Xtra on STT (located in the Tutu Park Mall) while en route to the STJ ferry terminal they have quite a good selection.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that restaurants here "generally" serve gluten-free foods but I think you should be able to find a few which would be able to accommodate you. I would call in advance and if you have any doubts while talking to someone on the 'phone who you think might not understand, see if you can talk to the chef. ( Obviously don't call during dinner time!)

You won't have any problem bringing in food products and I would guess you're talking mainly in terms of unfrozen prepackaged goods? There are some restrictions on packaging of frozen foods and there are several related threads on this forum which will give you the lowdown on that.

Hope that helps a little and enjoy a wonderful vacation. Cheers!

Posted : October 13, 2008 9:43 pm
Posts: 396
Reputable Member

I just sent you a PM with some info

Posted : October 14, 2008 7:26 am
Posts: 50
Trusted Member

My husband has celiac disease and does fine on STJ. He sticks to fresh veggies and fruits and unprocessed meats with no sauces, gravies, etc. I know Starfish Gourmet Market in Cruz Bay has from frozen GF items. At least they did in July. We packed a few GF snacks like pretzels and crackers. If you're not already familiar with these two companies below, check them out. They have the best GF baked goods I've tasted.

Here's a great recipe for flourless cookies. We all love these and they're easy to make.

Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate morsels

1. Stir together first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon. Stir in chocolate morsels.
2. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until puffed and golden. (Cookies will be soft in the center.) Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.

Give us a report when you get back and let us know what you find. Have a nice trip.

Posted : October 14, 2008 8:27 am
Posts: 580
Honorable Member

I have in-laws with celiac who travel more than they're home and who visit us here regularly. They bring their own breakfast cereal and snacks, enough for the duration of their stay (usually a couple of weeks), they buy juice, fruit and peanut butter here (for the rice cakes they bring), and when eating out they stick with salad, steak, potatoes, veggies. It's not diverse they but have found it's pretty easy to accommodate when traveling.

Posted : October 15, 2008 4:05 pm

St. Thomas Activities

Set sail on top-rated charters, explore underwater wonders with scuba diving, encounter exotic animals, and venture into the wild with kayaking and ecotours. Feel the adrenaline with parasailing, aerial tours, and water sports for a memorable vacation.
Book Your St. Thomas Adventure Now
Virgin Islands Books & Maps