I spent the Valentine weekend with my partner in one of the Landal Parks – Landal Heideheuvel in Beekbergen, near Apeldoorn (The Netherlands).
The search criteria’s for our destination were following
- Dogs allowed
- A bungalow with a kitchenette
- Gluten free catering
- Private sauna and a fire place
- Away from pollution (city)
- Clean air and the amazing smell of forest
The bungalow we rented had a modern and stylish interior. We had a steam bath with a solarium in the house and a real fire place. I was especially impressed by the floor made from real wood. The kitchenette was equipped with everything that one needs, even a dish washer and a coffee machine.
What about gluten free catering
I did a research and I came across a webpage (here) promising ‘Gluten free menu card’ in Landal Parks. Later, I found a positive review of the park on another blog (the review). With these high expectations I was awaiting our Landal experience. Before we left, I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org to book a table in the restaurant. Despite all the positive reviews, I wanted to warn them about my gluten and dairy free requirements and give them an extra time to prepare (just in case). Soon, I received a confirmation by email.
I like to be prepared and I really don’t like to be hungry so I gathered some food to take with us.
- Gluten free crackers, Genius bread
- Hummus, ham, bacon, boiled eggs, Unox knackwurst sausages
- Pesto, refined-sugar free jam, rice-chocolate spread
- Vegetables: cucumber, sauerkraut, avocado, snack carrots
- Fruits: Mango, bananas, plums, grapefruit
- Snacks: popcorn, lovechock, corn chips
- Mineral water, rice milk, tea, Senseo coffee pads (we read that there is a Senseo coffee machine in the bungalow)
- Fresh salads from AlbertHein for lunch
As I expected that I won’t be able to order any cake for a dessert in the restaurant, I baked my own cake at home and took it with us to the park. It was worth it!
Besides, I never leave without my own toaster, a small frying pan, a small cooking pot and a plastic cutting board.
Local shop at park
In the park there is a mini supermarket. I went to investigate it. Although I didn’t see any certified gluten free or dairy free products I found fresh meat (without spices or marinade), fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, Alpro Soy ‘milk’ and pudding, rice, eggs, smoked fish and Unox sausages and pate (without gluten). If you happened to take no food with you, you could fix yourself some tasty GF meal from these fresh ingredients.
Dinner at the restaurant
The staff in the restaurant is young and very friendly. They had a note regarding my diet. I asked if they were aware of contamination and they replied positive. To give an example, they keep a separate oil to fry the French fries.
At the restaurant we ordered our drinks and we were patiently waiting for the famous gluten free menu card. But the card never arrived. Instead, we got a ‘random’ menu card and I was told I could choose anything from it, which would be ‘adapted’ to my diet requirements. Honestly, I have heard it a couple of times before in my life and it just NEVER makes me feel comfortable. I read the menu and I chose the safest dishes, which I thought had the least chances to go wrong: salad with grilled vegetables and a salmon with vegetables baked in the oven (in a sleeve). We also got the gluten free French fries with mayonnaise (I asked if the mayo was safe and they said yes). The waiter was wearing gloves when he served our food. I took it as a good sign.
The salmon ‘package’ contained the fish, cougette, pumpkin and fennel. It was accompanied by a sauce that looked (to me) as not free from dairy so I didn’t eat it. My partner had a carpaccio and a mixed grilled meat (no photo, sorry). The food was truly delicious.
The other days we preferred to cook ourselves at the bungalow from the fresh ingredients that we bought in the local shop. We decided to enjoyed the dinner in front of the fire place.
On Saturday we went to buy the gluten free French fries again but now from the snack bar. There, I asked about the mayonnaise and they said it wasn’t gluten free (?!). I only hope it was a different mayo than the one they gave us at the dinner (the restaurant and the snack bar are connected and kind of share a kitchen). Another possibility is that the young people working there weren’t aware of what is and what isn’t gluten free. Unfortunately their English wasn’t fluent either and my partner had to translate all my questions.
Despite some small disappointments about the catering, we had a lovely stay in the park. The entire Valentine weekend was sunny and we had great long walks with the dog in the forest. Evenings spend in front of the fire place were romantic and steam bathing in sauna was not only detoxifying but also MEGA relaxing. We sure go visit the other Landal Parks in the future.
- The Park offered a lot of activities for children (entertainment, mini-zoo, swimming pool, free guided activities etc.) so it is a great place to go for families.
- If you are especially interested in sauna – it is available in bungalows marked with ‘L’, like e.g. 6L (6-persons luxurious).
- Your car can be parked just next to your bungalow.
- If you don’t travel by car, there is a bus stop about 2 minutes walk from the Park.
- Unless you are very patient and don’t mind waiting for your food loong time – try cooking something in the bungalow ;-)
- If you forget to pack your book, kitchen towel, soap or anything else – you will be able to find a substitute in the local shop.
I hope the review was informative to you. If you want to have some short/long get away – I recommend the Landal Heideheuvel.