I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to embark on a bucket-list journey with Rocky Mountaineer, where you’ll experience breathtaking scenery and have the chance to witness wildlife in its natural habitat. As a gluten allergy sufferer, I was relieved that the train could cater to my dietary needs. However, I was not prepared for the incredible experience that awaited me. Here is my guide to travelling Gluten Free onboard the Rocky Mountaineer in Gold Leaf
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Gluten Free onboard the Rocky Mountaineer – First Passage to the West
We travelled along Rocky Mountaineers First Passage to the West for our trip. This is the quintessential Rocky Mountaineer journey. We travelled from Banff to Vancouver across the Canadian Rockies through the legendary Spiral Tunnels, traversing the Continental Divide and passing dramatic canyons.
Day 1 – Banff to Kamloops
We boarded the Rocky Mountaineer in Banff for an early 7 a.m. departure. The crew introduced themselves to our carriage and explained how the food and beverage service would work for the next two days.
While Group 1, the rear of our carriage, went down for breakfast, we, in Group 2 the front of the carriage, were served pastries, coffee, and tea at our seats. I was offered a delightful gluten-free muffin, which I enjoyed with my coffee.
It’s worth noting that Gold Leaf service is two floors, with the lower floor being the dining room and outdoor viewing platform, and the upper deck of the carriage is a luxurious section where you sit under a unique 180-glass roof, with heating-controlled seats and two attentive crew members who host, run the drinks, and provide table service.
It wasn’t long before it was our turn to go downstairs for breakfast, and the menu had clear gluten-free options. Our waiter informed me that the chef could make gluten-free pancakes and toast for me. I opted for fresh juice, a spinach omelette, and a delectable skillet breakfast bursting with flavour.
After breakfast, we returned upstairs, savoured morning cocktails, and admired the views. The crew brought frequent nibbles throughout our journey, and we indulged in a number of cocktails as the landscape changed frequently around us.
This is the joy of Gold Leaf service; the crew is attentive to your needs, and everything you desire is included in the fare. While travelling, the crew took turns telling us about the history and wildlife of the areas we passed, enriching our journey.
For lunch, Group 2 enjoyed the second seating. The lunch menu offered a variety of choices once again, and this time I selected the steak, which was exquisitely tender, accompanied by a glass of red wine and a delightful chocolate mousse.
After lunch, we continued our afternoon with more cocktails, snacks, and captivating views while the crew continued to host us.
Overnight in Kamloops
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually spend the night onboard the Rocky Mountaineer, you spend the night in Kamloops, with your luggage being collected for you from the train and delivered to your hotel room.
In our case, due to a major delay in arriving at Kamloops due to a delayed train ahead of us for a number of hours, we arrived late into Kamloops, meaning we didn’t have time to get a meal in the town or our hotel.
However, the team onboard was well aware and planned ahead of that, and offered us an evening mean onboard the Rocky Mountaineer, a fantastic curry that was made from scratch as Gluten Free, meaning I wasn’t left out of the extra meal.
Kamloops Hotel Room Tour
You can see a tour of our hotel suite whilst we stayed overnight in Kamloops as part of our journey.
Day 2 – Kamloops to Vancouver
Coach service was provided the next day to take us back to the Rocky Mountaineer. The service was door to door, and our luggage was again portered for us.
We boarded the train, and within minutes of setting off on our journey, we were served coffee/tea and beautiful pastries. I relished another wonderful gluten-free muffin; Today, Group 2 had the first seating for breakfast, so we were the first to head down for meal service.
The menu featured the same options as day one, which is standard for Rocky Mountaineer breakfast; however, there is ample choice, so no worries about the boredom of choice. Today, I chose the gluten-free pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, which were wonderfully fluffy, light, and delicious. I also couldn’t resist ordering another gluten-free breakfast skillet, which had impressed me so much the day before.
Returning upstairs to enjoy the rest of our morning onboard, I enjoyed a Bloody Mary and savoured the sights while listening to the fantastic crew share their knowledge of the beautiful Kamloops Lake as we travelled past, with wonderful prairie land to one side and breathtaking lake the other. The crew truly enhanced the experience with their attentive hosting and insightful commentary.
Lunch on day two featured a different menu. I was presented with my own gluten-free coastal platter, a beautifully curated dish of regional meats, cheese and chutneys.
For my main course, I opted for the gluten-free pork, which was succulent and melted in my mouth, perfectly complemented by another glass of delightful red wine.
Afterwards, we returned to the upper deck, enjoyed more lovely cocktails and gluten-free snacks, and soaked in the stunning scenery while our hosts continued to enlighten us along the final stretch and our sad arrival into Vancouver, signalling the end of two fantastic days onboard.
Final Thoughts on the Gluten Free Experience
My experience aboard the Rocky Mountaineer train was nothing short of incredible.
As a gluten-free traveller, I often have reservations, but the Rocky Mountaineer staff took great care in accommodating gluten-free guests, offering a wide array of choices.
This thoughtful consideration meant the chef didn’t have to make any alterations or substitutions to dishes, allowing me to enjoy each dish’s full flavour and texture as intended, meaning I could enjoy a full meal and not just part of a meal.
Whether you have dietary restrictions or not, I wholeheartedly recommend the Rocky Mountaineer experience. The added benefits make it worth the fare difference if you can stretch to Gold Leaf service.
If you would like to learn more about travelling with Rocky Mountaineer, or enquire about booking and trip, then please do get in touch.