Tuesday, August 31, 2010

HersheyPark - very gluten-friendly

We've been wanting to go to HersheyPark for a while. I even went ahead and purchased tickets at a group discount rate through our homeschool group this spring - hedging my bets that we'd go.

We finally picked a day to go - yesterday. PA schools started back that day so we expected the crowds to be lighter - they were.

Due to Emma's celiac, we have to do a LOT of pre-planning to go anywhere. We have to make sure she'll have something she can eat, or we have to take it with us. I have to tell you, too, that I've been having some celiac burnout recently from all of the planning that's required to eat (especially eating out).

Anyway, I went onto the HersheyPark web site Sunday night to take a look at what they had to offer for restaurants and see if I'd be able to work something out for Emma. Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I see they have a specific list of gluten-free alternatives that they offer and which restaurants they offer them at. I was pleased to know I'd be able to more easily feed Emma (who gives a little pout each time we tell her she can't have something)

The best thing I can tell you, though, about their gluten-free offerings is that these people are really well trained. Mike ordered Emma a gluten-free wrap for lunch. They moved to a new workstation and made the wrap special so that there was no cross-contamination. I asked the cashier if he could get someone I could ask a dietary question - he told me I could ask him. I asked if the fries were gluten-free. He quickly said that they were, but they were cooked in the same oil as other fried foods. I was about to say that I'd just forego the fries for her when he quickly offered for them to make some separately for her.

It takes a lot of training and awareness to delve into that level of preparations for gluten-free. Most people don't think about the cross-contamination or setting up a gluten-free work area to prepare the food.

For dinner, we went to a pizza stand that offered gluten-free crust. It took them a bit longer to figure it out, but it was clear there was someone well trained there. She made sure she didn't use any of the same tools to remove the pizza from the oven, she put it on a fresh cardboard pizza board, and cut it with a new pizza cutter. And she was quick to stop another employee who almost used the same pizza peel board for Emma's pizza that had been used for the others.

So, I was quite pleased that HersheyPark made it so easy for Emma to be gluten-free there and took one big worry off our minds and enabled us to enjoy the day that much more. Thanks HersheyPark!

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