Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Won't You Take Me to Chocolatetown

UPDATE (6/20/11): Fenicci's of Hershey has gluten-free pasta, wings and other items noted on its menu.

UPDATE (6/3/10): New for 2010 are gluten-free chicken tenders, available at Minetown Restaurant. Trevi 5 Italian restaurant, which has replaced the Fountain Cafe at the Hotel Hershey, lists gluten-free choices on its lunch and dinner menus. At the Hershey Lodge, the dinner menu at The Forebay and the lunch/dinner menu at The Bears' Den also note gluten-free options.

I vividly recall my first visit as a child to Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania - being awestruck by the signature Hershey Kiss street lights, complete with the famous "paper" strips protruding from the tops of the faux foil wrappers. The park, which is about a two- to three-hour drive west from most points in the Delaware Valley, has grown considerably over the years with the addition of new roller coasters, rides and even a boardwalk. Along with nearby hotels and restaurants, the park also has lots of options for guests with gluten intolerance.

Within the park itself, gluten-free hamburger rolls are available at the Craftbarn Kitchen, Whistle Stop, Decades, Minetown Restaurant and Shoreline Grill, while wraps are offered at Tumbleweed's Taco, Crustano's Deli, Minetown Restaurant and the Turkey Hill Ice Cream Parlor. The menu items at Rhineland Famous Famigilia, Midway Famous Famigilia and Minetown Restaurant include gluten-free pizza, and desserts are available at the Craftbarn Kitchen, Whistlestop, Minetown Restaurant and Decades. The ingredients for the gluten-free baked goods are posted on the park's website. The Kosher Mart (located in the park but closed Friday afternoons and Saturdays) also has some gluten-free options, including rotisserie chicken and salads.

At the nearby Hotel Hershey, the Fountain Cafe has safe items listed on its lunch and dinner menus. The Hershey Grill, located at the Hershey Lodge, notes gluten-free choices on its lunch and dinner menus. The other eateries at the hotels are knowledgeable about gluten-free options as well.

A reader mentioned that a local Italian restaurant, Piazza Sorrento, has a gluten-free menu that includes pizza and pasta. There's also a celiac-friendly Red Robin Gourmet Burgers located in Hershey.

As for the chocolate and other candy available throughout the park, Hershey's does not publish a list of items that are considered gluten free but recommends that customers read the product labels. The company does produce a list of common label terms that indicate or may indicate the presence of wheat.

Hersheypark is open daily during the summer through Labor Day and on weekends throughout September.
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