We are not long home from a camping trip to Brittany in France. When I say camping, I mean staying in a mobile home which really is much more luxurious than camping. As at home, staying dairy free for the two intolerant boys is much easier with home cooking, and having a lovely charcoal barbeque at the mobile home meant we cooked ourselves most evenings.
Here’s some tips for shopping and dairy free products we found.
The relaxed French way of life means that all supermarkets are closed between 12pm and 2pm each day and only open Sunday mornings until 12 or 12.30pm. This is important to know if you arrive late Saturday night like we did. We arrived at the supermarket 12.40pm on Sunday afternoon. Oops!
Also dinner in the evenings in restaurants is from 7pm or 7.30pm, so don’t be looking for someplace around 6pm when travelling with kids unless maybe in very touristy areas they might have earlier opening for dinner.
Soy milk and rice milk easy to find in the supermarkets and soya yoghurts and desserts.
Unfortunately the lovely French pastries are a no-no as croissants contain a lot of butter. Baguettes are dairy free though and lovely to smother with jam. When I was growing up we were allowed Weetabix or cornflakes for breakfast and sugary cereals were only ever for holidays. So in our family tradition I bought the boys Honey Cheerios and Coco Pops.
*please note the Honey Cheerios are not suitable for milk allergy sufferers as they may contain traces of milk. (Peut contenir des traces de lait).
The key to my small boys not having melt downs is making sure they never get too hungry . When I say the key, I mean one of the many tricks which may or may not work for me. Anyway the first thing I looked for in the supermarket was snacks for days out or for after swimming etc. Fruit puree pots are very common. Fruita pura type tubs can be found alongside the yogurts in any supermarket fridge, they aren’t confined to the under 3s. I chose Pom Potes squeezy type ones as the novelty of the packaging would be a hit with my boys. They contain about 93% fruit and a little sugar. The boys loved and they were easy to throw into our swim bags when heading to the pool.
I also chose Le Barquette de Lulu biscuits which were a bit like Jaffa cakes, a soft cake with jam inside. They come in little snack packs of 6 which is enough for 2 boys to share and handy to throw into bag for outings.
*please note these are not suitable for milk allergy sufferers as they may contain traces of milk. (Peut contenir des traces de lait).
France is the home of the sorbet, water based dessert that looks like ice-cream. For the first time ever I could buy ‘ice-cream cones’ for my boys. The sorbet is so widely available it is even to be found in ice-cream stands in touristy areas. Just to be sure I would ask ‘Est ce que le sorbet est sans produits laitiers?’. It was also easily found in the supermarket so we had some for after dinner. There were also soy caramel and chocolate desserts in the yoghurt aisle. A bit rich for kids as young as mine but the 4 year old still enjoyed!
We only ate out twice, once in the campsite resturant, which was fine but lacked atmosphere. French restaurants only open at 7pm or 7.30pm for dinner in the evening so a bit late to be going at that stage with our lads so young. BBQing was much handier anyway. En route to Concarneau we followed a sign for Crêperie Ty Croissant Bouillet that promised an outdoor garden for children. It was in a village called Tregunc and didn’t disappoint. Delicious crêpes for all the family. I wasn’t sure what I’d do for the dairy frees but I was delighted to find they had no issue making crêpes sans beurre (without butter) and they boys were happy with their lunch.
The boys were able to have a choice of dairy free sorbets for dessert. Pear went down a treat.
Afterwards it was out to the bouncy castle with Daddy while I finished my cup of tea. Big thumbs up for this restaurant on all fronts.
We stayed with Siblu in Domaine de Kerlann near Pont Aven in Brittany. Loved the campsite, would heartily recommend. Feel free to contact me for any more information about holidaying dairy free in France.