Gluten Free Napa Wine Train - Restaurant Raves & Reviews - Can I Eat Here
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Gluten Free Napa Wine Train

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Just because you have food allergies or are required to eat a gluten free diet doesn't mean you should miss this historic trip through Napa. Along with rolling hills marked with vineyards and wineries is another iconic symbol, The Napa Valley Wine TrainThe Napa Valley Wine Train provides a relaxing three-hour, thirty-six mile round-trip journey from Napa, through one of the world's most well known wine valleys to the quaint village of St. Helena, and back. I went on this excursion several years ago, prior to being diagnosed with celiac disease. At that time I wasn't concerned with food allergies or whether my food was gluten free. I love Napa and I love my wine, so when thinking of returning I wondered if the Napa Valley Wine Train with its gourmet food and smaller kitchen was capable of meeting the needs of those who require a GF diet or have a food allergy. After interviewing representatives of Napa Wine Train, I learned that food allergies and gluten free diets are more than welcome and the entire staff is prepared to assist in seeing to a safe experience.


If you are planning a trip to the wine country, you may have heard that the Napa Wine Train is touristy and to skip it. Please ignore those people, because you would be missing out on an extraordinary and utterly decadent experience. I decided that with what little time I had to spend in Napa or the surrounding areas, I wanted to see all I could and traveling by train while sipping wine and having a gourmet lunch seemed like a great idea to me. How bad could it be, I had my wine, right? I was extremely happy with my train excursion. I had an exemplary experience. The food was magnificent, the wine was perfectly paired and the scenery was breathtaking. I was definitely not disappointed.


Chef Kelly MacDonald heads up the kitchen on this rolling dining adventure. The Napa Train proudly serves 100,000 guests a year. Approximately 5-6% of those customers has food allergies, eats gluten free, or has special dietary requirements. Upon making a reservation, agents are trained to ask questions regarding food allergies so that the kitchen is prepared when you arrive. There are two new vegan standards on the menu; a Yam Ravioli and a Meyer Lemon Coconut Milk Panacota. Gluten free menu items have been added as well, like soups and salads. Most menu items can be modified when ordered and the chef is always willing and prepared to make something completely on the spot.


That’s great, right? But, what about cross contact, especially in such a small space for preparation?  Procedures are in in full force to avoid contamination and the entire staff understands the severity of the food allergy issues. Clean utensils and segregated areas have been established to help with this worry. All prep work is done in the morning, offsite, in a controlled environment. They take food allergy safety seriously. Chef MacDonald runs both front house and back house and encourages communication between the servers and his kitchen. He believes that communication is mandatory when seeing to the safety of the passengers while dining.


September and October are the best months to visit Napa in my opinion. With fall right around the corner, don’t hesitate to start planning your visit. Make sure that you check out the Napa Valley Wine Train and mention that sent you.