One of my new favorite cold treats that is GF/CF is Itzakadoozie Popsicles by Nestle. They are basically sugar and water, but fruity and tasty on a hot day. They are quite refreshing! You can find these at my ice cream carts throughout the theme parks and I hear that some restaurants (like Garden Grill) hand them out for desserts. You can use your snack credit for these too! Here’s a pic of me enjoying my Itzakadoozie on a hot August day!
Where do I find GF/CF sweets?
WDW offers a variety of places where sweets like chocolate chip cookies and brownies are readily available for those needing specific dietary needs. You can find these treats at a variety of locations, including most resort counter services and several locations in the theme parks. They are typically found in a different area than the regular desserts, usually on a shelf near the cash registers and labeled “Dietary” or “Special Diets.” The ones that are GF/CF are made by French Meadow (www.frenchmeadow.com) and are pretty good. However, one important note: these items are shelved with non-gluten free items. Don’t be tempted to by Divvies! They are NOT GF! I believe the only GF items from Divvies are the Caramel Popcorn and Jelly Beans, but always check the websites prior to your visit to confirm this.
My only complaint with the dietary treats was that they were all mixed together, and not very clearly marked. However, this is pretty normal at even grocery stores and health food stores, so it’s not that big of a deal. At least they are separate from the regular desserts. One should just make sure that they read all the labels to make sure it is safe for you to eat, depending on the type of dietary restriction you have.
On my last trip, the Mara did not have any French Meadow items the entire 4 days we were there, but they had Divvies (again NOT GF), but they didn’t have the caramel corn. They had cookies and jelly beans. To be honest, it was pretty picked over. Someone really needed to restock the shelves. Sunshine Seasons and Main Street Bakery, however, had a huge amount of these cookies and brownies available!
As far as taste, I think they are both pretty good. The cookies remind me a bit of slice and bake cookies (pre-GF) from Pillsbury and the like. The brownies can be a bit dry, but they are still pretty good. Here’s a few pictures of them.
Well, I had a first yesterday…WDW called me, yes me, at work! Oh happy day. It was Chef Jeff Bliss calling from the Grand Floridian wanting to talk to me about my upcoming trip and my reservation at the Garden View Tea Room. He had called me last week and left a message on my cell phone. Unfortunately, when he would call I was at work. I decided since I couldn’t get back in contact with him, to let IPO (Itinerary Planning Office) know and gave them my direct line at work. I also gave them my email to pass on to him as well. Well, lo and behold an hour and 1/2 after I emailed them my phone rang and it was Chef Jeff. Wow! That is SOME response time!
Basically, he got my form that I filled out with Special Diets (amazing, I wasn’t sure those actually made a difference if you filled them out or not, now I know that it does!) and wanted to go over things with me before I arrived on Feb. 5th. He said he was thinking of doing two plates for (one savory and one sweet) and asked what I was thinking. I told him that I was thinking of sweet and savory too, so we were on the same page. He asked me to confirm what dietary restrictions I had and then we talked food! First up was the savory plate. He wants to do some sandwiches (using GF bread…most likely Energ-G tapioca is my guess) and I told him I like chicken salad, egg salad, etc. I do not have an egg issue, so mayonnaise is generally ok with me. He said he would also put fresh fruit on that plate. Because of my Crohn’s I have some issues, depending on the day, with seeds and nuts. Strawberries made me sick the last time, but strawberry puree is ok. (strange, don’t ask me. My intestines have a mind of their own sometime). He said that there is typically an angel food type cake that has a puree with it. He also talked about mousses with tropical flavors. I told him I love chocolate, and I could tell he was taking notes by our talk. He said that he could definitely do something chocolatey for me. I also mentioned that it was my 30th birthday the day were having tea. (it’s my first birthday at disney, so I gotta live it up!) All in all the phone conversation with Chef Jeff was productive and made me feel really reassured about this meal. I was concerned that it would be very limited and not good at all, but he really set my mind at ease. I’m also very impressed he called 2 1/2 months before we are there.
This was my first phone call from a chef concerning my dietary restrictions, and I must say I’m quite impressed. I look forward to this experience and can’t wait to share it with you all!
I was pleasantly surprise by the vast options available at this buffet. Chef Ricardo introduced himself to me and then walked me around the buffet showing me the different options. They were plentiful and quite adventurous as far as Disney Buffets go. I had to skip the dips and breads (too bad, I could have gone for the hummus!) because they didn’t seem to have a GF cracker/bread option. It was also extremely busy, so I did not inquire for an alternative. The salad bar had quite a few options as well. There were a lot of seafood dishes–the salmon was great, as was the seafood curry. There were lots of rice dishes that were safe. The carving station had a wonderful coffee crusted pork tenderloin that was so tender. I had seconds! I was actually not feeling well that day, so I didn’t as much as I normally would have, but I still left pretty full and satisfied. Here’s a picture of some of the things I tried:
For dessert, Chef Ricardo brought me a plate with pre-made brownies (which were pretty good and very moist), and he also gave me a package of Enjoy Life cookies for the road (it was the day we were leaving, so he said it was a treat for the plane ride). Here’s a pic of the desserts:
I just ordered a GF/CF cake for my birthday when we go at the end of January. The cake will be delivered to our hotel room at the Wilderness Lodge (coming from the WL bakery). The dietary cakes seem to only come in one size: 6 inch. It comes either in chocolate or vanilla. The cost at the time of this post and quoted to me by IPO is $29.50 (I was originally quoted $21, but this was for a regular 6 inch cake). According to IPO, they take the requests ahead of time, but order them 1 week prior to your request date. I’m excited for the cake and can’t wait to share my review.
If you are ordering a special diets cake, you will want to contact IPO if you are staying Club Level or call the Cake Hotline. Their number is: 407-827-2253. This phone will ask you a lot of questions to get you to the bakery you need to get to. I recommend you call ahead of time, but be prepared for some difficulties. I tried multiple times to call the cake hotline and was routed to different bakeries. I originally wanted a cake at California Grill, but had such difficulty getting a hold of anyone, that I went with the Wilderness Lodge where we are staying. I even emailed Brenda Bennett at Special Diets; she forwarded my requests on, but I never heard from them. I’m not saying every experience is this problematic–I’ve heard some wonderful things from others–but be prepared to not get an instant response.
I’m under the impression that you can get these cakes that are GF/CF at most locations. This cake is also soy free, but does contain eggs. According to IPO: “You will need to put a credit card down on the cake request however they will not charge until the day of for room service and at the location if you choose to have the cake at one of the restaurant.”
I asked Brenda Bennett for the recipes to the dips served at Jiko on my last visit (see my review for pictures of the dip sampler); however, it looks like they are not made in house (bummer!). They did tell me the vendor information, in case I wanted to order them. Here’s what Brenda wrote me:
“Unfortunately the dips are not made in house. They are from a vendor called Greek Island Spice.”
Here’s a link to their website: http://greekislandspice.com/c/index-c.htm
I’m not sure that I would order anything, but it is nice to know that I could “recreate” my Jiko dinner, if I wanted to.