'Follow Me For Gluten Free' walking tour is gluten-free and coeliac-friendly
Whatever you’re into, Manchester’s got a walking tour for it. Architecture, music, football, ghosts, street art, cheese. Cheese? You’d better brie-lieve it. The city might have more tours than you can shake a halloumi stick at, but a new addition to the list is cerealously going against the grain.
Imagine if you suddenly found out you couldn’t drink a nice cold pint of beer anymore?
“Follow Me For Gluten Free” is a food experience with a difference. As the name suggests, this food and drink walking tour is specially designed for those who are gluten-free or coeliac. It's quite a revolutionary idea. Anybody who’s gluten-free will know how difficult it can be to eat out; you want the cheeseburger and cake but end up having salad and sorbet.
Annie Oakes, owner of Follow Me For Gluten Free, was diagnosed with coeliac disease in October 2020. She went on a mission to discover the best places she could eat and where she felt safe and looked after without sacrificing taste. After eating a lot of good food (and some bad), Annie has come up with a walking tour of some of the best locations in Manchester that cater to a gluten-free diet.
Who is a gluten free tour for?
Well, I’m not gluten-free but my partner is, so that ticks both boxes. After seven years living a GF diet by proxy, I’m now an expert in analysing ingredient labels, allergen charts and restaurant menus. Sexy, right?
Gluten is a protein naturally found in some grains including wheat, barley, and rye. The most common foodstuffs that contain gluten are bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, and anything that’s used flour, like gravy or sauces.
Some food manufacturers and kitchens like to throw flour in when you don’t really need it, and you can sometimes find gluten in things like chips, sausages, or fried food (in the batter.) You also have to keep an eye out for sneaky gluten; soy sauce is a big one but gluten can even find its way into pre-prepared salad dressings, marinades and seasonings.
Then, of course, there’s beer. Imagine if you suddenly found out you couldn’t drink a nice cold pint of beer anymore? Drowning your sorrows? Not an option.
On the Follow Me For Gluten Free tours, Annie does all of the research for you, so there’s no need to worry about gluten in any of the food or drink. The venues change but the tour has a minimum of four stops at a combination of eateries and shops, with a bite to eat at each place included in the ticket.
Eat, drink and be gluten-free
Our Saturday morning “savoury and sweet” tour included a brunch stop (including a slightly eccentric energy drink in a syringe), tacos, and cakes. One drink is also always included in the ticket price, and we even got a can of gluten-free beer to take home with us.
It’s a fun day out discovering some of Manchester’s foodie gems, whilst snacking on some gluten-free food and seeing the local sights. As a GF tour guide, Annie really knows her stuff and the experience was peppered with interesting facts and hidden histories. (Have you spotted the parrots of Tib Street?)
We also got to meet some pretty cool people on the tour and it’s an experience that works for couples, groups or solo travellers. Tour options include savoury, savoury/sweet, as well as special seasonal events throughout the year.
Whether you’re lifelong gluten-free or newly diagnosed (or, like me, a passenger on the GF train) Annie’s tours put a positive spin on what has a reputation for being a restrictive diet. GF’s just wanna have fun.
For more information on the gluten-free food tours, follow Annie on Instagram: @Follow Me For Gluten Free. For tour bookings and gift cards, head to the Follow Me For Gluten-Free website.
Read next: 'A vegan patty that holds its own' - The Vurger Co, NQ, reviewed
Read again: The 10 best places in Manchester to eat gluten-free food
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