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Gluten free in Raro

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New Zealand
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Gluten free in Raro

Just back from another fabulous rest in Raro. 2 weeks in a private rental house at Aavaroa which was great. Weather a bit of everything including a nuisance wind and a fair bit of rain, neither of which interfered with snorkelling, whale watching and scootering around!

Just thought I would make a comment as I am a coeliac and had wondered what there might be in Raro in the way of gluten free foods. Not much at all. The CITC in Avarua had a small stand with some packets of GF pizza mix, some cookies, flour and a few other bits but really that was all and as expected the prices were very high indeed. I had already contacted both bakeries, neither of which made any GF breads. The new Muri deli and its cafe outlet in Avarua had a little iced polenta cake and that was the entire sum of GF fresh baking to be had in Rarotonga. Luckily I was fairly prepared and took 3 loaves of frozen GF bread, pancake mix, some dried pasta. I also took rice bran oil, GF soy sauce, mayonnaise, jam and crackers, GF muesli (CITC did have the large corn crackers). As my husband and I love fish we had that a lot of the time bbq'd with green salads and/or rice salads. The broadbill is fabulous, as is the albacore tuna steaks and the tuna - and at very reasonable prices compared to fish in NZ. A kilo of fresh that day broadbill was averaging $18-$20. The GF is a problem with eating out - unless its fresh fish pan fried or a steak - with the usual salad on the side, but it isnt cheap and I would recommend any coeliac to get themselves a good chilly bag, freeze what you can and take minimal clothing as on the new baggage system you are only allowed 20kg TOTAL checked in. We got around this by my husband who travels light anyway having a chilly bag that was the allowed 7kgs, and packing in his checked bag the packeted and dried stuff. As always write out a clear list of everything foodwise you have with you, take the red queue when you arrive and let them check the list. We have never had a problem with this, and they rarely even check in the bag but it pays to be up front. The fresh tomatoes, salad greens and the always wonderful pawpaws and bananas are still cheap and a great way to supplement a somewhat restricted diet.

Departure tax from Raro is now $55 per head, so factor that in, the liquor is still cheaper on arrival at Raro Duty Free than ChCh, and the lagoon and fish just as wonderful! Happy to offer any advice I can on the GF front.

Auckland Region...
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1. Re: Gluten free in Raro

Hi Druscilla,

What fabulous trip report with lots of useful information especially for people wanting to keep to a gluten free diet while on holiday. We found that Delilicious in Muri sold GF Orange cake last year when we were there. With such a small population it is hard to cater for GF eaters. Keeping to naturally prepared cooked fish and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables you've had a very healthy holiday and probably not put on weight. It's wonderful to come home having had sun and exercise and healthy food. Good preparation for our long awaited spring and summer.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland
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2. Re: Gluten free in Raro

Kia Orana Druscilla.

I also have enjoyed reading your trip report. I recall that we had identified the low likelihood of you sourcing GF products before you headed off, and it's very useful (and disappointing too) to know just how few items there are available for coeliac diets.

I suggest that repost the salient points about GF foodstuffs in our new 'sticky' that is posted permanently at the top of the main Cook Islands page.

Next time Im in Raro I'll make contact with one of our young emerging retailers to see if there is an opportunity for him to establish a specialist line of GF products on his shelves. I'll post this info to the forum.

As you mentioned, the best means at present for ensuring your dietary needs are covered is to personally import some foods in your luggage allowance, and to supplement this with locally available fresh fish, salads and fruits.

Wonderful to hear you have returned rested, but that you used every available opportunity to explore inspite of the inclement weather there. Welcome home!

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: Gluten free in Raro

Thank you for the excellent update. We are travelling to the Cook Islands in December and it is good to know that we will need to go prepared (our daughter is coeliac). We chose self catering accommodation for this very reason, so now just need to make sure we take as much food as possible.

Were there any restaurants you would recommend at all (ie that understood what gluten free meant?). Thanks again

New Zealand
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4. Re: Gluten free in Raro

Hi there. We ate a couple of times at Trader Jacks - but I just had plain pan fried fish and salad, and again at the Saltwater Cafe - but omelette, so really stuck to the safe options. It is restrictive, and often it feels as if you are paying quite a high price for something pretty basic that you could do at your accommodation. We found buying the wonderful fresh fish, some steaks and chicken breasts and cooking off some spuds and doing them on the BBQ was how we ate for most of the 2 weeks. With a child allowance you should be able to take a fair amount of dry/packeted things and certainly all the GF extras and you wont find any GF cereals, so dont forget that. BUT you can make up for it by purchasing the fresh fruits cheaply and lots of salad stuffs from the local stalls or market in Avarua.

Forgot to mention the great cafe in the Beachcomber gallery do a different GF cake most days and that, along with their great coffee was a treat. You will have a wonderful time - Rarotonga is special.

Oamaru, New Zealand
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5. Re: Gluten free in Raro

Hi there,

we are in the beginning stages of planning our first Raro trip and read the above reports with interest as our daughter is gluten and dairy free. We have booked at a self catering unit and plan to do much of our own cooking. With maybe eating out once or twice.

One of my questions is can I take home baked food in?? Sounds an odd question, but I was going to make her my usual goodies and keep it frozen so she had a ready supply of snacks available.

Thanks, I am sure I will have many more questions as the planning continues.

Jan

New Zealand
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6. Re: Gluten free in Raro

I can only comment on what I did myself on last trip. I did bring in 3 loaves of GF bread. I had pre-frozen it and I just added it to my list of foods which you always have ready to show when your arrive - always using the red lane and declaring everthing. I also had GF crackers. As everything is in a sealed chilly bin or box there has never been a problem. I cant see why a frozen home made cake would be any different?

Good luck. You will have a wonderful time.

Oamaru, New Zealand
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7. Re: Gluten free in Raro

Thanks so much for that, we will give it a go.

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Gluten free in Raro

i stayed at muri beach club hotel in rarotonga & in aitutaki i stayed at the aitutaki lagoon resort & spa. both resorts when informed that i was wheat intolerant baked GF bread for me which tasted fantastic. i really appreciated the effort from these 2 resorts. however on my last day one of the resorts had run out of GF flour & couldnt source any more. best to check with your resort in advance.

Wellington, New...
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9. Re: Gluten free in Raro

Hi,

Just wondering how you got on with your daugter food-wise in Rarotonga? Were you able to take your own baked goods? We are travelling to Rarotonga in a few weeks with our 15month son who is allergic to Wheat and Egg and would love to hear from you.,

Sonya

10. Re: Gluten free in Raro

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