PhillySwirl’s #AllergyFriendly Ice Cream!

 

Often times the taste lab of ice cream flavors, brings forth what may seem like the hardest decision one has to make. During this process, whether you rely more on intuition than logic, whether you are impulsive or a risk taker or the colors entice you, this refreshing Italian ice with a twist will indulge your senses into a totally new experience!!

With a warm Spring on its way, this ice cream is the perfect delicious treat for any event! Whether you prefer fruity flavors like Orange Dream or Very Berry, or want something totally unique like Cotton Candy PhillySwirl has an option for you!

PhillySwirl is incredibly allergy friendly, offering a variety of products free of many allergens. They have several products like PhillySwirl Stix, Popperz, and Cups with Candy Spoonz that are peanut, tree nut, wheat/gluten, dairy, egg, soy, sesame, shellfish, and fish free! They mentioned the only allergens that are a concern for cross contamination because they are in the facility are dairy, soy, and coconut.

Furthermore, in response to how they manage their product lines they made the following statement:

Whenever we switch from producing an allergen to a non-allergen product, we do a complete shutdown of the production lines. The lines are then thoroughly cleaned, re-tested and documented before production starts back up.

Definitely visit their FAQ page for more information and check out their delicious ice creams available in most grocery stores!

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WOW Stories: “Le Meridien” FAL’s 3-Day Hotel Special #3

As a young girl visiting India, I was curious and wanted to delve into the wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. However, with food allergies, all the exotic ingredients, unfamiliar dishes were both exciting and intimidating.

Together we did research and all votes went to Le Meridien, Windsor Place, New Delhi.

LM EREESE

The WOW Story!!

My experience at the Le Meridien in New Delhi was very positive.

Their dynamic, creative, and dedicated team left no stone unturned in making it the best possible experience for me.

As always I had exchanged mail with the General Manager and the Executive Chef regarding my food allergies, beforehand.

At check-in we were told that the Executive Chef would come up to the room shortly, to discuss at length the specifics about allergy safe dining at Le Meridien.

I knew we were off to a great start.

Over the course of my stay, some things that he pointed out reflected how well versed he was in handling food allergies.

He said that he would personally cook all my meals while I was there. As an added precaution all the other team members in the kitchen would be briefed too.

In discussing the dinner options for the night, he said that the restaurant gets very busy on Saturday nights.

It was Saturday night and the main restaurant was very busy he recommended in room dining. The reason was to limit the possibility of a mix up while serving in the restaurant.

I enjoyed some authentic chicken and lamb dishes with an array of Indian breads, personally delivered by him.

LM Room Service

My bread was not served in a traditional bread basket. He pointed out that while the baskets are washed and sanitized each time, he did not want to risk any sort of residue from exotic breads with nuts and therefore my breads were served in a glass basket.

I was amazed at his insightfulness and creativity.

The magic of spices, the aroma of the exotic cuisine was nothing short of a scintillating food experience!!

For breakfast he invited us to the restaurant. I asked if he could make nut free chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes.

LM Breakfast

As we sat down to eat, he stopped by and rearranged my place setting. As a precaution, he removed my table mat, “just in case of any prior residue” he said.

He also removed the forks, knife etc. that were placed on the mat, and replaced them with new ones that he put on a plate.

These small gestures spoke volumes about his allergy awareness.

Just to reassure me that there were no nuts or possible contamination he showed us the label on the chocolate chips.

Small acts like this have such a huge impact on dining out with food allergies. I would have asked to check the label, but the spontaneity was what made me smile.

Peacock is the national bird of India…and there it was…majestic and beautiful coffee art on my cup of coffee.

LM Peakock COffee Art.jpg

We were out for the rest of the day and returned late. I noticed a piece of cheesecake with a note next to it. It was Indian Independence Day and he had made for me a NUT FREE CHEESECAKE. Saffron, white and green are the colors of the Indian flag. The note read “We have made this NUT FREE cheesecake for you in celebration of the Indian Independence Day!”

LM Dessert

This was the legendary Indian hospitality I had read about.

Disclaimer: As always, be sure to communicate your allergies to the restaurant staff to the extent that YOU are comfortable with the way they are handled. For guidance in this matter we recommend our App, AllergySmartz.

**We hope you enjoyed the final installment of FAL’s 3-Day “WOW Stories” Special about Allergy-Friendly Hotels. Our next post will be out next WEDNESDAY at 4:00 PM EST! Stay Tuned!

WOW Stories: “The Hilton” FAL’s 3-Day Hotel Special #2

Over the course of many years I have stayed at The Hilton and their franchises several times, in the US, Hawaii and at three of their international locations:

  • Hilton Niagara Falls – Canada
  • Hilton London Heathrow Airport – United Kingdom
  • Hilton Jumeirah Beach- Dubai.

When staying at a hotel overseas I strongly recommend emailing the General Manager and the Executive Chef prior to arrival. Occasionally you will even see the hotel suggest this:

If you have a delicate allergy and need more information or support from the hotel, please contact us in advance of your stay.”

In my experience the chefs at the Hilton Restaurants are experienced in preparing meals with special dietary guidelines.

At the three international locations that I stayed at, I found them to be very knowledgeable, accommodating and most importantly proactive with regards to food allergies. It seemed standard for the following statement to appear on the menu, but what was remarkable is their competence in executing the precautions:

Please note that some of our dishes may contain traces of nuts. For guests with special dietary requirements of allergies who may want to know about the food ingredients used, please ask a member of the restaurant team.

                                                              

 The WOW Story!!

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While visiting the Big Island of Hawaii I dreamt of an exhilarating, experience under the magical Hawaiian night sky, swaying palms, music, hula dancers – an experience that would heighten the senses- a Luau.

The catch however was that a big part of the Luau is in the indulgence of a Hawaiian feast – a buffet that is filled with an array of Pan-Pacific food.

I did my research. The Legends of Hawaii Luau at the Hilton Waikoloa Village seemed the best fit.

Prior to making reservations for the Luau I spoke to the Executive Chef. We reviewed the dietary restrictions and the necessary precautions. He promised me a safe and memorable experience.

When we arrived at the Luau, he came and greeted us.

He had prepared a multi course meal. It was a Hawaiian- American combination of some traditional island dishes and some continental fare. He pointed out that the Kalua Pig was safe to eat.

Experiencing the individual flavors and aromas of the food while watching the Hula Kahiko performers beneath the mid-Pacific skies was an unforgettable experience!

Disclaimer: As always, be sure to communicate your allergies to the restaurant staff to the extent that YOU are comfortable with the way they are handled. For guidance in this matter we recommend our App, AllergySmartz.

**We hope you enjoyed the second installment of FAL’s 3-Day “WOW Stories” Special about Allergy-Friendly Hotels. The final installment will be out TOMORROW at 4:00 PM EST! Stay Tuned!

 

WOW Stories: “The Westin” FAL’s 3-Day Hotel Special #1

Sharing positive experiences of dining at hotel restaurants with international chains has the power to inspire, motivate and reinforce the efforts of the staff. Recognizing a chef who offered an exemplary dining experience sends more travelers with special dietary needs to the hotel chain.

As a world traveler with tree nut allergies I always exchange emails with the hotel’s General Manager and Executive Chef prior to my arrival (I highly recommend this).

My experiences at many locations of The Westin both domestic and abroad have been delightful.

The WOW Story!!

I arrived at The Westin at 2:00 AM local time, after a long international flight. I was thrilled to be greeted at check-in by the Head Chef. We sat down, and he made a note of all the dietary restrictions, cross contamination issues, etc.

He then had the concierge enter the information into their system. This alerted all the kitchen staff on EVERY shift.

The next morning, at breakfast, when the hostess sat me down, she informed the Executive Chef of my arrival.

The Executive Chef made an extra effort to make himself available at all times and personally took responsibility for every meal. He enquired and reassured me that he would personally cook those exotic dishes on the menu, while keeping them allergy safe, as he wanted me to enjoy the various cuisines.

As a backup a chef was assigned just for me, on every shift.

The entire team, especially the food service folks were friendly, helpful and inviting.

Every meal was a legendary experience.

As someone with tree nut allergies the huge array of delicious desserts are usually off limits. Seeing the chef’s passion to rise to the challenge and his demonstrated experience over my week long stay, I even got to enjoy the sublime texture and glorious flavor of some exotic desserts.

I came back with a deep sense of gratitude for that personal touch that made my stay at The Westin, Gurgaon, India a unique, positive and memorable experience!

Disclaimer: As always, be sure to communicate your allergies to the restaurant staff to the extent that YOU are comfortable with the way they are handled. For guidance in this matter we recommend our App, AllergySmartz.

**We hope you enjoyed the first installment of FAL’s 3-Day “WOW Stories” Special about Allergy-Friendly Hotels. The second installment will be out TOMORROW at 4:00 PM EST! Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

Planning a Vacation? Download AllergySmartz!

Spring Break vacations coming up? Planning your next vacation?

Don’t forget to download our App, AllergySmartz before your next trip! AllergySmartz is a mobile app for iPhone and Android designed to help communicate food allergies/precautions needed for safe food preparation to restaurant staff here, and abroad.

AllergySmartz currently features the top 12 allergens (milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, legumes/pulses, tree nut, fish, shellfish: mollusks, shellfish: crustaceans, mustard, and sesame) and 13 languages to translate the allergy warning statements into (English, Japanese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Hindi, French, Arabic, Russian, Hungarian, German, Bahasa Indonesian, and Italian). 

AllergySmartz allows users to indulge in international cuisine and feel comfortable trying new foods by overcoming language barriers to communicate safety precautions about food allergies to chefs, in a variety of languages. Furthermore, AllergySmartz can be used anywhere on the globe – it requires NO internet access!

Don’t forget to download AllergySmartz on the iTunes or Google Play Store TODAY! Enjoy and indulge in your next vacation 🙂

Google Play: https://goo.gl/qM0ZZ9
iTunes: https://goo.gl/dsti2N

Girl Scout Cookies!

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Hey Everyone! Do you LOVE Girl Scout Cookies? Have you always wanted to try then but couldn’t because of allergies? Well check it out! They are actually extremely allergy friendly!

By visiting the website, http://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies/Meet-the-Cookies.html, one can easily see which allergens each cookie contains or may contain, and any variances that occur by bakery. Though some of the cookies do have peanuts, there are plenty of options that are safe for those with peanut allergies.

As someone with tree nut allergies, I can enjoy ALL the cookies except Savannah Smiles which has a cross-contamination risk.

Girl Scout Cookies truly do live up to their fame – there is a delicious diversity of cookie options that are all pleasing to the palate! If you’ve never had Girl Scout Cookies, I recommend exploring their website and ordering some that suit your allergies, before they stop selling for the season!

Food Allergy Lowdown (FAL) In The New Year

After months of studying our viewership, Food Allergy Lowdown has determined a 2016 schedule:

With the exception of special events, a new blog will be published every Wednesday at 4:00 PM EST, starting next week.

We will address a variety of topics, from daily allergy-safe living, to tips for special occasions, and recommendations for unique products.

As always, if there’s a topic you’d like addressed or would like to share any feedback, simply comment or contact us at allergysmartz@gmail.com.

We have a lot of special projects planned for 2016 – don’t forget to subscribe to the blog through WordPress or with your email, like AllergySmartz on Facebook, and follow @AllergySmartz on twitter for the latest information.