Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!
From my previous posts, you will know that I have to order my “Special Meal” before I fly and I end up praying that it is put onto the departing plane. I have had mixed results from airlines from BA Club World Autumn 2016, BA Club World 2015, Emirates (Business Class 2015), BA (Traveller Plus 2014), Thai Airlines (Business Class 2014), Dragon Air (Business Class 2014), Cathay Pacific (Business Class 2014), BA (Club World Business Class 2014), BA (Club World Business Class 2013), BA (First 2015) and BA CW Summer 2016 so flying on Virgin Atlantic meant a whole new experience for me.
Before flying, Virgin Atlantic have a great check-in arrangement for passengers travelling in Upper Class. It is separate from the rest of the airport on a upper floor and similar to BA’s First; it is more like a hotel check-in than an airline counter. If you’re on a full fare ticket, you have the option of a pick-up which will take you straight into this check-in area, away from the regular passengers. In addition, they have a Virgin Atlantic exclusive line through Security (aside from the regular crowds) so there was no waiting in queues but walking right through (and into Duty Free shopping!).
In the Clubhouse lounge, there is a beauty salon, lounge areas, a restaurant, a deli-bar, a very long drinks bar as well as quiet gallery. It is well stocked and well-used by Virgin Upper Class passengers as well as Delta passengers.
We sat at a table and ordered breakfast from their Menu. They were able to provide GLUTEN FREE toast as well as Bacon. The waitress did advise that the sausages weren’t Gluten Free and offered other breakfast items including mushrooms, hash browns, tomatoes and beans. This simple breakfast suited me after over-indulging and over-eating in the festive period.
Unfortunately, our 0915 flight was delayed by two hours so we were asked to remain in the lounge until further announcements were made. Therefore, I helped myself to a second breakfast:
As above, this was requested from the Deli Counter with freshly sliced meats and several large chunks of cheese were on offer. They had an extensive selection of breads but my GLUTEN FREE toast was made and came direct from the kitchen.
GLUTEN FREE LUNCH by VIRGIN ATLANTIC:
After 1100, we were at the Boarding Gate and shortly sat in Upper Class. The Cabin Crew distributed Menu cards and I noted that I hadn’t been provided with one. The Cabin Crew confirmed that they had a Special Meal for me, so nothing to worry about which was reassuring. Of course, it is disappointing not to get a choice but knowing they had prepared my meal separately is more important. After we had taken-off and were cruising across towards the United States, Lunch was served.
Whilst my soup wasn’t the same as the regular Upper Class passengers, as mine was with more bits, no croutons and a different flavour, I felt like they had tried to blend me into the meal service in providing me with a GLUTEN FREE soup. Personally, I find it decadent to have soup on a plane! I received a Gluten Free roll which had been warmed up but not served HOT! It was soft and tasted like plain bread: with little flavour and substance.
I was amused by the little Salt and Pepper dispensers which were presented onto my tray, alongside the table cloth with much theatre. It was disappointing that they looked like metal, but upon handling, it was clear they were plastic!
My Main Course was a chicken dish, the Cabin Crew never seem to know what is my “special meal” which is a shame…
It was clear from tasting this that it was pepper chicken. The gravy was a good addition as it added a good flavour to the fairly bland vegetables and the peppery chicken. A little too much pepper was probably on the meat, but a tasty main course before my GLUTEN FREE dessert was served:
Even the Cabin Crew felt a little embarrassed with this dessert as it was a thin strip of Jelly which sat awkwardly on a very large porcelian plate. It was refreshing and light but I was still hungry so when they went past, I requested from the Cabin Crew a regular plate of cheese. I opted not to have the Blue Cheese and had a strong Cheddar with the Fig Chutney. (I had my own Shar Crackers which I always carry with me on my travels.
It was a satisfying GLUTEN FREE Lunch, served in the sky heading to the United States.
GLUTEN FREE AFTERNOON TEA by VIRGIN ATLANTIC
Before landing into Atlanta, the Cabin Crew served up Afternoon Tea. This was most appreciated after falling asleep and watching a couple of film since Lunch. Of course, regular passengers had a selection of sandwiches to choose from as well as an array of dainty cakes, whereas my “Special Meal” was provided direct to me.
There was a chicken and salad wrap, which was difficult to eat as it fell open but rather tasty and a chipolata chicken wrap (which I found too spicy for me!) In addition, a small pot of red-cabbage coleslaw which contrasted with the wraps. As the only GLUTEN FREE passenger in Upper Class, I was provided with both wraps and a plate for my cake bar and biscuits (both made by Honeybuns: Chocolate Caramel Shortbreads and Triple Chocolate Tinker Cookie). These were pre-wrapped and I particularly liked the chocolate cookie which was soft and chewy.
Other Gluten Free Airline Meals covered on this blog include (click on the picture to open up the reviews):
And remember I love my Chocolate Bars, Chocolate Bags and Chocolate Boxes, and more recently, my Chocolate Easter Eggs from Chocolatiers and Chocolate manufacturers, High Street Stores and London Department Stores.
If you are a member of Coeliac UK, they produce a comprehensive directory which covers over 16,000 food and drink items (including GLUTEN FREE Chocolate Bars). This is available in a paper-based Manual and online FREE to members of Coeliac UK.
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This information was correct as of January 2017.
But as I am learning, ingredients do change and therefore you should always read the label and check for yourself whether it is GLUTEN FREE or not!