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Traveling with Food Allergies. My Stay at Rosewood Cordevalle

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Traveling with Food Allergies. My Stay at Rosewood Cordevalle

Traveling with food allergies can be a daunting experience. Let’s be honest, regardless of the severity of your food intolerance, you are literally putting your health (and your faith) in the hands of a stranger!



  • What if they don’t know where gluten is? 
  • What if they know nothing about cross contamination? 
  • What if they think I just want to be trendy and don’t take my requests seriously?

These are some of the questions that may have crossed your minds before eating out; even more so if you were about to travel and be away from the kitchen for a long period of time.



As you know, I definitely spend more time on the road than I do at home, and in the last few years I developed some strategies that make my travels pleasant, healthy and allergy free.

But it was only during my recent stay at the enchanting Rosewood Cordevalle in San Martin, California that I pushed my limits a little bit further.



This trip happened right when I was completing the reintroduction phase of the Autoimmune Protocol, and after being on the AIP for a few months, I really didn’t want to risk compromising the hard work I did.



This time I did something I have always been ashamed to do before (as I though they would have immediately classified me as crazy :). I created 2 complete lists that included all the foods I couldn’t eat and the ones that instead I could enjoy or that I had already reintroduced (like coffee and rice).

I emailed these lists to the resort management a couple weeks before my arrival, and beside my initial embarrassment, this turned out to be a winning strategy as it made things crystal clear in the kitchen (or, in case of the Rosewood Cordevalle, I should say kitchens) and I had one the most amazing food experiences I can remember!



Rosewood Cordevalle Healthy Food
Our amazing Welcome Fruit Platter and local wine at the Rosewood Cordevalle

Not only was the entire staff, from the chefs to the servers, informed about the food restrictions I had to abide by; my two lists, that were printed out and hang in the kitchen, gave them the possibility to be creative and come up with the most amazing dishes!!

For my entire stay at the Rosewood Cordevalle, I felt like I was assigned a personal chef that was able to fulfill all of my cravings and my experience at this immaculate luxury golf resort become truly unforgettable.

Our Healthy Morning Routine

Since we like to exercise in the morning, we avoided going to breakfast and opted for quick room service smoothies (made with coconut milk on request) and sat by fire before our workouts enjoying a hot coconut cappuccino (literally, one of the best I have ever had!!)

The gym was amazingly equipped, but on sunny days we loved going on long walks around the golf course, climbing up and down the hills covered with vineyards.

…And all of that walking made us hungry for lunch! 🙂

Allergy Free Lunching at "One Iron Bar"

The place where we consumed most of our meals was the One Iron Bar, whose outdoor sitting area overlooks the Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains and while you wait for your courses to arrive, you can spot families of deer and wild rabbits grazing in the greenery.

The Lunch Tasting Menu was our default choice, as for $50 you can get an appetizer (and keep in mind that a full size pizza counts as an ‘appetizer’ here), soup or salad, entree and dessert! Such an incredible value!!

On our first day, Alec ordered the gluten free pizza with burrata, olive oil and local heirlooms (and said it was amazing) while I went for a Seafood Salad with octopus, shrimp, scallop and lobster dressed with a special nightshade free “salsa verde” they custom made for me by blending olive oil, lots of herbs and a splash of apple cider vinegar to give it a kick.

White shrimp ceviche with pears, coconut milk, and lemongrass.
Seafood Salad with octopus, shrimp, scallop, lobster.

As an entrée we both chose the Catch of the Day with mushroom risotto, which the kitchen was happy to modify to accommodate my special food requests.

I am quite fixated with risotto, as it’s a dish I grew up with and that’s very popular in the part of Italy where I am from. Well, I couldn’t believe I could enjoy a version of this famous Italian dish – an ocean + a whole continent away from home – that tasted even better than I could remember.

Maybe it’s because I am a sucker for anything coconut related, but this mushroom risotto simmered in coconut milk and olive oil and cooked with veggies and mushroom was incredibly creamy while having the grains “al dente” and cooked to perfection

Imagine this already incredible dish topped with a juicy fillet of halibut, crusted with a rub of herbs and crushed garlic, and you can understand why I had this dish three days in a row!!

Other favorites at One Iron Bar were the Kusshi oysters with cucumber, cured red onion, wakame and  maldon salt, and simple dishes like sautéed broccolini and roasted sweet potato or grilled wild Alaskan salmon.

The Grilled Octopus, served with a squid ink dressing, was quite possibly the most unbelievable dish we tried. I had it the first night of our stay, during our dinner at the beautiful Il Vigneto, and I ended up ordering it three more times during my stay because it was so exceptional!

And, last but not least, how can I not mention the awesome custom nightshade free guacamole they prepared for me, served with cucumber and carrot crudités and some diced green apple to give it a boost of flavor?! Simply a-ma-zing!

Dessert Time!

We rarely made it to dessert, as the savory dishes were so filling… but when we did, we opted for a cup of fresh mixed berries or for the bitter orange sorbet (dairy free); and one day, when Alec felt like he was in cheat mode, he got the beautiful plate of chocolate covered strawberries you see here.

What I appreciated the most about the service at the Rosewood Cordevalle is their amazing flexibility and the desire to satisfy their guests even at the cost of stretching the rules. So many times you hear your server coming back from the kitchen saying: “sorry, this dish can’t be made without ….(fill in the blanks)”.

At the Rosewood Cordevalle, every desire becomes a reality thanks to the creativity of the chefs, that by the end of my stay were so familiar with my food lists that I didn’t even bother checking what they put on my plate.

And trusting someone to that level when you are eating out is priceless!

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ambra
Ambra Torelli
Ciao! I'm Ambra Torelli, founder of Little Bites of Beauty, a website that helps people on free-from diets live an awesome life and travel without limitations! Born and raised in Italy, I visited over 20 countries and now I divide my time in between Italy and the US, where my husband is from. My recipes are an expression of my passion for Italian food combined with all the wonderful culinary influences from the places I traveled to. I hope you love them! more about ambra

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19 Comments

  • Avatar
    Sherrie Au February 25, 2017 9:27 am

    Thanks for sharing this experience. Everything looks scrumptious and your photos are beautiful! . I’m wondering though, about the risotto…it was made with grains? Was that part of your reintroduction?

    • ambra
      ambra February 25, 2017 12:03 pm

      Yes, luckily I had already reintroduced rice successfully so I could enjoy this amazing food!!

  • Avatar
    Sherrie Au February 25, 2017 9:28 am

    Oops I forgot to check the box that I do want to be notified by email of your reply…

  • Avatar
    Antonia February 27, 2017 7:55 am

    Looks absolutely delightful! Thank you for sharing your strategy and how uplifting this is, to see a kitchen actually take it seriously and to demonstrate their gratitude that you are their guest by hanging your lists in the kitchen and always adhering to them! I’m so excited to see this happen! It inspires me for the future!

    Two thoughts on eating healthfully…Consumer Reports has done a couple of excellent articles comparing the arsenic content of different types of rice. The rice plant draws copious amounts of arsenic up out of the soil, just as the tea plant draws up fluoride.

    The second thing is, the olive oil in the risotto should not have been there. Olive oil isn’t healthful when used to cook over heat, as it oxidizes and produces carcinogenic free radicals. It’s better to add to our food at the table.

    Good luck, and thank you very much for these wonderful photos and for sharing your terrific vacation while avoiding allergens! Looks amazing!

    • ambra
      ambra February 27, 2017 4:07 pm

      Antonia, thanks so much for the awesome feedback! I am glad you enjoyed the article!

      I am sure the Rosewood used some very high quality organic rice, as per the olive oil, you are right. I actually drizzled some on top when they brought out the dish. And when I am home I prefer to stir fry in coconut oil 🙂
      Have a great day and thanks again for reading!!

      • Avatar
        Antonia February 27, 2017 5:33 pm

        You’re welcome, Ambra, and you, too!
        I enjoy eating “organic” and do so as often as my budget permits. The funny thing is that organic rice contains just as much arsenic as non-organic. It has to do with how the plant attracts arsenic out of the soil, rather than with how it is “treated” during growing. The Consumer Reports article goes into this.

        Blessings! No need to reply again. I appreciate how in touch you are with your readers! A+ for relationship-development! 🙂 Stay healthy!

        • ambra
          ambra February 27, 2017 7:06 pm

          Interesting Antonia!!
          Thanks so much for telling me, I’ll read the article for sure (even though I confess, rice is my favorite thing, and now that I finally reintroduced it, it’s going to be very hard to give it up) ?)! And thanks for the sweet words! Make sure to subscribe to the blog so I can let you know when new articles come out!

  • Avatar
    Benita February 19, 2018 7:21 am

    I really enjoy reading your stories and the photos are always so gorgeous…it’s almost like I’m on the adventure with you 🙂
    I really like the idea of informing the kitchen staff in advance of your food restrictions. I don’t think that it’s crazy at all. The pain and sickness that it avoids is truly worth the effort. I’m glad that the chef took it seriously and made your food unforgettable in the most delicious way.
    Have you ever showed us the food lists that you made and sent to the kitchen? I’d really like to see it, as I’m still navigating all of this.
    Take care! ❤️

    • ambra
      ambra February 19, 2018 10:03 am

      Thanks so much for reading and leaving tour awesome feedback Benita! Here you can find the exact same lists I used: https://www.littlebitesofbeauty.com/autoimmune-aip-food-list/ I am going t link them to the main article soon!
      I hope you find them helpful and if yes, I would love you share them with other people who might need them!

      Ambra

  • Avatar
    Benita February 19, 2018 7:21 am

    I really enjoy reading your stories and the photos are always so gorgeous…it’s almost like I’m on the adventure with you 🙂
    I really like the idea of informing the kitchen staff in advance of your food restrictions. I don’t think that it’s crazy at all. The pain and sickness that it avoids is truly worth the effort. I’m glad that the chef took it seriously and made your food unforgettable in the most delicious way.
    Have you ever showed us the food lists that you made and sent to the kitchen? I’d really like to see it, as I’m still navigating all of this.
    Take care! ❤️

  • Avatar
    Erin Smith February 19, 2018 8:45 am

    I love the tip of emailing the resort ahead of time. This makes them prepared for your arrival and begins the conversation with the chef and kitchen staff. Thanks for sharing!

    • ambra
      ambra February 19, 2018 10:04 am

      Thank YOU so much for reading Erin! I think good communication is always the best strategy 🙂

  • Avatar
    Erin Smith February 19, 2018 8:45 am

    I love the tip of emailing the resort ahead of time. This makes them prepared for your arrival and begins the conversation with the chef and kitchen staff. Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar
    Jacinta Keeble February 22, 2018 6:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing, your holiday looked amazing!
    I have put off travelling because I don’t trust anyone to make my food properly and I don’t want to get sick. I will finding a resort that can accommodate me and email ahead of time, thanks for you advice!

    • ambra
      ambra February 23, 2018 1:54 am

      Thank YOU for reading and sending over your feedback Jacinta! I am so glad you found it useful and I hope you’ll get to travel soon!
      Ambra

  • Avatar
    Jacinta Keeble February 22, 2018 6:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing, your holiday looked amazing!
    I have put off travelling because I don’t trust anyone to make my food properly and I don’t want to get sick. I will finding a resort that can accommodate me and email ahead of time, thanks for you advice!

    • ambra
      ambra February 23, 2018 1:54 am

      Thank YOU for reading and sending over your feedback Jacinta! I am so glad you found it useful and I hope you’ll get to travel soon!
      Ambra

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