Moving to a new city is daunting enough, but for those new students embarking on a gluten-free lifestyle, the task can appear even more overwhelming. Thankfully, you’re not alone: awareness of medical wheat and gluten intolerances has been growing in recent years, and one of the benefits of living in a city as big as Leeds is that there are plenty of shops and restaurants that can cater to a multitude of dietary requirements, including gluten-free. I’m a third year student and I’ve suffered from Coeliac Disease since 2012, so I’ve had some time to experience what gluten-free options Leeds has to offer. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few recommendations and tips to help you enjoy the culinary side of living in Leeds!
2 Oxford Place
This place has an entirely gluten-free menu. Yep, you read that right. I was astounded when I discovered it, having never seen any restaurant like it before. What’s more, their menu is surprisingly varied, serving amongst other things a pastry-topped chicken and leek pie, which I have to recommend for anyone who’s missed pastry as much as I have. 2 Oxford Place is otherwise thoroughly enjoyable – a little pricey for a student budget, and limited space means it’s a good idea to book in advance, but definitely worth it for those of you who want peace of mind in what they eat.
Whilst the regular pizza delivery companies make a show of catering to gluten-free diets now, none are anywhere near as enjoyable as Ecco Pizzeria, located in Headingley. Although slightly blowing the budget for most students’ takeaway fund, their choice of toppings and thin, crispy, and most importantly gluten free 12” pizza bases are well worth the money. Just be aware that you do have to ask for a gluten-free base for your pizza.
Out of this World
Located on New Market Street, Out of this World is an organic shop that also sells a wide range of rarer gluten-free ingredients. Once again, their prices are what you’d expect of an organic shop, but they’re great for those elusive ingredients that recipes call for, such as chestnut flour and gluten-free brown bread flour.
- Enjoy cooking. You can’t just stick an oven-bake pizza in the oven like your friends, but you can buy fresh ingredients and get stuck into cooking whatever you want. Make time to make the most out of what you can eat. If nothing else, you’ll start to resemble a pretty badass chef by the time you graduate!
- Don’t be afraid to ask. A surprising number of places in Leeds actually cater for gluten-free diets; they just don’t make it very apparent.
- Make use of gluten-free organisations. Glutafin and Juvela (amongst others) not only sell gluten-free products, but can provide some great recipe ideas, competitions and support.
Featured image from glutenfreeliving.com.