{"id":1348388159535,"title":"Gluten-free Dreams Come True at Hershey's Chocolate Park","handle":"gluten-free-dreams-come-true-at-hersheys-chocolate-park","description":"\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/beabetteryoufit\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eby Maria Faller\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eHershey,\u003cb\u003e \u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePennsylvania, affectionately called “The Sweetest Place on Earth”, certainly has a lot to offer kids and adults alike. Experiences include the thrilling theme park, charming Hershey Museum, the award-winning Hershey Gardens, and the famous Hershey’s Candy. I have fond memories of visiting with my family many moons ago (pre-Celiac) and I have been dreaming of bringing my boys to Hershey for years.   \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere were, however, a few important reasons stopping my visit to Hershey.  My oldest son had a peanut and tree-nut, dairy and soy allergy for 10 years. That alone stopped me from bringing him to the Reeses Peanut Butter filled city. My little guy was lactose intolerant for 8 years and thinking about him just smelling the milk chocolate Hershey bars gave me anxiety!  And once I was diagnosed with Celiac disease I found it too challenging to try to visit certain places not publicly and predominantly known for their food allergy safety protocols. So, clearly, we would never experience the sweetest place on earth.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBut we did. In 2017 my oldest son passed a peanut allergy challenge,\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e*\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e deeming him officially no longer allergic to peanuts. In the same year, my youngest sons’ lactose problem miraculously disappeared.*\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e   It was then that I decided to start exploring the unknown, interviewing and writing about my experiences. This summer we had the pleasure of traveling to Hershey. We stayed at the Hershey Lodge, we had a blast at Hershey Park, we explored the Hershey Gardens, had a chocolate tasting at the Hershey museum (chocolate shots anyone?) and best of all, we ate without alarm.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9704_grande.jpeg?v=1566264946\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis enjoyable trip was largely made possible because the staff at The Hershey Lodge \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e(Hershey Entertainment \u0026amp; Resorts) \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ewere accommodating, caring and willing to speak with me to address my concerns. Specific shared information from Reilly Fies, Communication Manager of Hershey Entertainment \u0026amp; Resorts, was particularly helpful. Reilly told me the safest place to eat at HersheyPark, The Outpost, is a dedicated gluten-free, nut-free stand. Taking the advice, we did eat at the Outpost and we did not react.  The food was actually not that bad considering it is gluten-free theme park food, although options were limited.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eVeteran Executive Chef Bart D Umidi sat down with me for an interview and even agreed to a short video interview.  The most fascinating of what he told me was that his first exposure to Celiac disease was in the early 90s! He had a guest in one of his restaurants who was an actual Celiac. This amazed me, as the disease was not something commonly tested for, looked for or talked about, 30 years ago. But Chef Bart knew all about the disease, as well as other food allergies and intolerances.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ciframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/_0g_Av6SBJI\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture\" allowfullscreen=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHe explained that he makes it a priority that his staff, in and out of the kitchen, understands the severity of food allergies and intolerances, including Celiac. He trains them on the proper way to handle food, how to avoid cross-contact and ensures they know the proper stations for the gluten-free area. There are six restaurants with dedicated gluten-free fryers, as well as a safe space for heating the gluten-free bread.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9773_1_grande.jpeg?v=1566264640\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne of my favorite things that Chef Bart spoke about is how he makes the eating experience “personal” for each guest with special dietary needs. I love that he said this to me because, to me, what he is also saying here is that he takes pride in what he does. He is saying that keeping his guests healthy and happy is important. After speaking with Chef Bart I felt very confident sitting down for a meal at Fire and Grain, the newest Hershey Lodge restaurant.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9797_large.jpeg?v=1566264489\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe food was delicious. I opted for the Fire Grilled Avocado appetizer which came with pico de gallo and gluten-free tortilla chips.  My husband really enjoyed that dish. For my main course, I kept it simple and had Cheddar Bacon Steak Burger (minus the cedar) with caramelized onions, tomato jam, and gluten-free potato wedges. Dylan Towner, Cook One at Fire and Grain, spoke with me before ordering, explained my options, brought the food to me personally, checked on me and, like Chef Bart, made me feel like my health and safety mattered to him. I enjoyed this meal tremendously. Everything was cooked to perfection. The tomato jam was such a pleasant addition, making my taste buds come alive. My family enjoyed their meals as well. I was even able to try the short rib, which was incredible. The service was good, the bar was filled with tons of options and the atmosphere was fresh.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9770_grande.jpeg?v=1566264529\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eI did not have a reaction and I did not get sick. The entire 2-day trip remained exactly this way. Not only was I safe eating at Hershey, but my tree nut allergy son was also safe. Did we still carry Benadryl, Pepto, and an epi-pen? Of course, we did. It is very important to do this, as cross-contact can occur at any time, whether it is an accident, carelessness or any other variety of mishaps.  When it comes to food allergies and Celiac disease, you are never 100% safe. That being said, I would highly recommend the Hershey Lodge and Hershey Park, Museum and the Gardens to all families, food allergy sufferers, Celiacs and even the lactose intolerant because guess what? Jolly ranchers and Twizzlers are dairy-free!\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9772_grande.jpeg?v=1566264578\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch1\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #444444;\"\u003eAbout the Author\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h1\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #444444;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9785_grande.jpeg?v=1566264986\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003eMaria Faller, who lives with Celiac Disease, is the founder of \u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"http:\/\/beabetteryoufitness.com\/#services\"\u003eBe A Better You Fitness\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/strong\u003e She is a Fitness Trainer, Youth Trainer and Nutrition Consultant certified by the International Sports Science Association.  She is also a certified wellness coach. Maria is dedicated to helping others feel better, look better and work toward achieving better health.  She is the author of a new book to be released in the winter of 2018 “BABY steps: A realistic guide to Being a Better You”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eTo get more info on Maria Faller and her business, Be a Better You Fitness,\u003cbr\u003efollow along on her \u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/beabetteryoufit\/\"\u003eInstagram\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e and \u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"http:\/\/beabetteryoufitness.com\/#top\"\u003eWebsite\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e*For more about the peanut challenge and lactose intolerant miracle recovery, feel free to contact Maria at BeBetterCoach@Gmail.com\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cbr\u003e\u003cbr\u003e","published_at":"2019-08-19T18:15:06-07:00","created_at":"2019-08-19T18:41:47-07:00","vendor":"GlutenfreeGlobalicious ","type":"GF Travel Foodies","tags":["Be a Better You Fitnes","Chef Lori Miller","Gluten-free","Gluten-free New York","Gluten-free Pennsylvania","Gluten-free Travel","Gluten-free Travel Blog","Gluten-free Travel Guides","Gluten-free Travel Tips","Gluten-free Travel Writer","Gluten-free Traveler","Hershey's Chocolate World","Maria Faller"],"price":0,"price_min":0,"price_max":0,"available":true,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":12401952358447,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":true,"name":"Gluten-free Dreams Come True at Hershey's Chocolate Park","public_title":null,"options":["Default Title"],"price":0,"weight":0,"compare_at_price":null,"inventory_management":"shopify","barcode":""}],"images":["\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/products\/IMG_9704.jpeg?v=1566811328"],"featured_image":"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/products\/IMG_9704.jpeg?v=1566811328","options":["Title"],"content":"\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/beabetteryoufit\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eby Maria Faller\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eHershey,\u003cb\u003e \u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePennsylvania, affectionately called “The Sweetest Place on Earth”, certainly has a lot to offer kids and adults alike. Experiences include the thrilling theme park, charming Hershey Museum, the award-winning Hershey Gardens, and the famous Hershey’s Candy. I have fond memories of visiting with my family many moons ago (pre-Celiac) and I have been dreaming of bringing my boys to Hershey for years.   \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere were, however, a few important reasons stopping my visit to Hershey.  My oldest son had a peanut and tree-nut, dairy and soy allergy for 10 years. That alone stopped me from bringing him to the Reeses Peanut Butter filled city. My little guy was lactose intolerant for 8 years and thinking about him just smelling the milk chocolate Hershey bars gave me anxiety!  And once I was diagnosed with Celiac disease I found it too challenging to try to visit certain places not publicly and predominantly known for their food allergy safety protocols. So, clearly, we would never experience the sweetest place on earth.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBut we did. In 2017 my oldest son passed a peanut allergy challenge,\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e*\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e deeming him officially no longer allergic to peanuts. In the same year, my youngest sons’ lactose problem miraculously disappeared.*\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e   It was then that I decided to start exploring the unknown, interviewing and writing about my experiences. This summer we had the pleasure of traveling to Hershey. We stayed at the Hershey Lodge, we had a blast at Hershey Park, we explored the Hershey Gardens, had a chocolate tasting at the Hershey museum (chocolate shots anyone?) and best of all, we ate without alarm.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9704_grande.jpeg?v=1566264946\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis enjoyable trip was largely made possible because the staff at The Hershey Lodge \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e(Hershey Entertainment \u0026amp; Resorts) \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ewere accommodating, caring and willing to speak with me to address my concerns. Specific shared information from Reilly Fies, Communication Manager of Hershey Entertainment \u0026amp; Resorts, was particularly helpful. Reilly told me the safest place to eat at HersheyPark, The Outpost, is a dedicated gluten-free, nut-free stand. Taking the advice, we did eat at the Outpost and we did not react.  The food was actually not that bad considering it is gluten-free theme park food, although options were limited.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eVeteran Executive Chef Bart D Umidi sat down with me for an interview and even agreed to a short video interview.  The most fascinating of what he told me was that his first exposure to Celiac disease was in the early 90s! He had a guest in one of his restaurants who was an actual Celiac. This amazed me, as the disease was not something commonly tested for, looked for or talked about, 30 years ago. But Chef Bart knew all about the disease, as well as other food allergies and intolerances.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ciframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/_0g_Av6SBJI\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture\" allowfullscreen=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHe explained that he makes it a priority that his staff, in and out of the kitchen, understands the severity of food allergies and intolerances, including Celiac. He trains them on the proper way to handle food, how to avoid cross-contact and ensures they know the proper stations for the gluten-free area. There are six restaurants with dedicated gluten-free fryers, as well as a safe space for heating the gluten-free bread.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9773_1_grande.jpeg?v=1566264640\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne of my favorite things that Chef Bart spoke about is how he makes the eating experience “personal” for each guest with special dietary needs. I love that he said this to me because, to me, what he is also saying here is that he takes pride in what he does. He is saying that keeping his guests healthy and happy is important. After speaking with Chef Bart I felt very confident sitting down for a meal at Fire and Grain, the newest Hershey Lodge restaurant.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9797_large.jpeg?v=1566264489\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe food was delicious. I opted for the Fire Grilled Avocado appetizer which came with pico de gallo and gluten-free tortilla chips.  My husband really enjoyed that dish. For my main course, I kept it simple and had Cheddar Bacon Steak Burger (minus the cedar) with caramelized onions, tomato jam, and gluten-free potato wedges. Dylan Towner, Cook One at Fire and Grain, spoke with me before ordering, explained my options, brought the food to me personally, checked on me and, like Chef Bart, made me feel like my health and safety mattered to him. I enjoyed this meal tremendously. Everything was cooked to perfection. The tomato jam was such a pleasant addition, making my taste buds come alive. My family enjoyed their meals as well. I was even able to try the short rib, which was incredible. The service was good, the bar was filled with tons of options and the atmosphere was fresh.  \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9770_grande.jpeg?v=1566264529\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eI did not have a reaction and I did not get sick. The entire 2-day trip remained exactly this way. Not only was I safe eating at Hershey, but my tree nut allergy son was also safe. Did we still carry Benadryl, Pepto, and an epi-pen? Of course, we did. It is very important to do this, as cross-contact can occur at any time, whether it is an accident, carelessness or any other variety of mishaps.  When it comes to food allergies and Celiac disease, you are never 100% safe. That being said, I would highly recommend the Hershey Lodge and Hershey Park, Museum and the Gardens to all families, food allergy sufferers, Celiacs and even the lactose intolerant because guess what? Jolly ranchers and Twizzlers are dairy-free!\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9772_grande.jpeg?v=1566264578\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch1\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #444444;\"\u003eAbout the Author\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h1\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #444444;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/IMG_9785_grande.jpeg?v=1566264986\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003eMaria Faller, who lives with Celiac Disease, is the founder of \u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"http:\/\/beabetteryoufitness.com\/#services\"\u003eBe A Better You Fitness\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/strong\u003e She is a Fitness Trainer, Youth Trainer and Nutrition Consultant certified by the International Sports Science Association.  She is also a certified wellness coach. Maria is dedicated to helping others feel better, look better and work toward achieving better health.  She is the author of a new book to be released in the winter of 2018 “BABY steps: A realistic guide to Being a Better You”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eTo get more info on Maria Faller and her business, Be a Better You Fitness,\u003cbr\u003efollow along on her \u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/beabetteryoufit\/\"\u003eInstagram\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e and \u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"http:\/\/beabetteryoufitness.com\/#top\"\u003eWebsite\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e*For more about the peanut challenge and lactose intolerant miracle recovery, feel free to contact Maria at BeBetterCoach@Gmail.com\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cbr\u003e\u003cbr\u003e"}

Gluten-free Dreams Come True at Hershey's Chocolate Park

by Maria Faller

Hershey, Pennsylvania, affectionately called “The Sweetest Place on Earth”, certainly has a lot to offer kids and adults alike. Experiences include the thrilling theme park, charming Hershey Museum, the award-winning Hershey Gardens, and the famous Hershey’s Candy. I have fond memories of visiting with my family many moons ago (pre-Celiac) and I have been dreaming of bringing my boys to Hershey for years.   

There were, however, a few important reasons stopping my visit to Hershey.  My oldest son had a peanut and tree-nut, dairy and soy allergy for 10 years. That alone stopped me from bringing him to the Reeses Peanut Butter filled city. My little guy was lactose intolerant for 8 years and thinking about him just smelling the milk chocolate Hershey bars gave me anxiety!  And once I was diagnosed with Celiac disease I found it too challenging to try to visit certain places not publicly and predominantly known for their food allergy safety protocols. So, clearly, we would never experience the sweetest place on earth.

But we did. In 2017 my oldest son passed a peanut allergy challenge,* deeming him officially no longer allergic to peanuts. In the same year, my youngest sons’ lactose problem miraculously disappeared.*   It was then that I decided to start exploring the unknown, interviewing and writing about my experiences. This summer we had the pleasure of traveling to Hershey. We stayed at the Hershey Lodge, we had a blast at Hershey Park, we explored the Hershey Gardens, had a chocolate tasting at the Hershey museum (chocolate shots anyone?) and best of all, we ate without alarm.  

This enjoyable trip was largely made possible because the staff at The Hershey Lodge (Hershey Entertainment & Resorts) were accommodating, caring and willing to speak with me to address my concerns. Specific shared information from Reilly Fies, Communication Manager of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, was particularly helpful. Reilly told me the safest place to eat at HersheyPark, The Outpost, is a dedicated gluten-free, nut-free stand. Taking the advice, we did eat at the Outpost and we did not react.  The food was actually not that bad considering it is gluten-free theme park food, although options were limited.  

Veteran Executive Chef Bart D Umidi sat down with me for an interview and even agreed to a short video interview.  The most fascinating of what he told me was that his first exposure to Celiac disease was in the early 90s! He had a guest in one of his restaurants who was an actual Celiac. This amazed me, as the disease was not something commonly tested for, looked for or talked about, 30 years ago. But Chef Bart knew all about the disease, as well as other food allergies and intolerances.  

He explained that he makes it a priority that his staff, in and out of the kitchen, understands the severity of food allergies and intolerances, including Celiac. He trains them on the proper way to handle food, how to avoid cross-contact and ensures they know the proper stations for the gluten-free area. There are six restaurants with dedicated gluten-free fryers, as well as a safe space for heating the gluten-free bread.  

One of my favorite things that Chef Bart spoke about is how he makes the eating experience “personal” for each guest with special dietary needs. I love that he said this to me because, to me, what he is also saying here is that he takes pride in what he does. He is saying that keeping his guests healthy and happy is important. After speaking with Chef Bart I felt very confident sitting down for a meal at Fire and Grain, the newest Hershey Lodge restaurant.

The food was delicious. I opted for the Fire Grilled Avocado appetizer which came with pico de gallo and gluten-free tortilla chips.  My husband really enjoyed that dish. For my main course, I kept it simple and had Cheddar Bacon Steak Burger (minus the cedar) with caramelized onions, tomato jam, and gluten-free potato wedges. Dylan Towner, Cook One at Fire and Grain, spoke with me before ordering, explained my options, brought the food to me personally, checked on me and, like Chef Bart, made me feel like my health and safety mattered to him. I enjoyed this meal tremendously. Everything was cooked to perfection. The tomato jam was such a pleasant addition, making my taste buds come alive. My family enjoyed their meals as well. I was even able to try the short rib, which was incredible. The service was good, the bar was filled with tons of options and the atmosphere was fresh.  

I did not have a reaction and I did not get sick. The entire 2-day trip remained exactly this way. Not only was I safe eating at Hershey, but my tree nut allergy son was also safe. Did we still carry Benadryl, Pepto, and an epi-pen? Of course, we did. It is very important to do this, as cross-contact can occur at any time, whether it is an accident, carelessness or any other variety of mishaps.  When it comes to food allergies and Celiac disease, you are never 100% safe. That being said, I would highly recommend the Hershey Lodge and Hershey Park, Museum and the Gardens to all families, food allergy sufferers, Celiacs and even the lactose intolerant because guess what? Jolly ranchers and Twizzlers are dairy-free!

 

 

About the Author

Maria Faller, who lives with Celiac Disease, is the founder of Be A Better You Fitness. She is a Fitness Trainer, Youth Trainer and Nutrition Consultant certified by the International Sports Science Association.  She is also a certified wellness coach. Maria is dedicated to helping others feel better, look better and work toward achieving better health.  She is the author of a new book to be released in the winter of 2018 “BABY steps: A realistic guide to Being a Better You”

To get more info on Maria Faller and her business, Be a Better You Fitness,
follow along on her Instagram and Website.

*For more about the peanut challenge and lactose intolerant miracle recovery, feel free to contact Maria at BeBetterCoach@Gmail.com



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