About

DSC08888(June 11, 2015: I am no longer blogging about food allergies because my son has thankfully outgrown them all. However, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about food allergies. I’m happy to try and help. Also, you can continue to following my Swiss cooking adventures at Cuisine Helvetica.)

My 3-year old son had has a milk allergy. After seven four successful food challenges since our move from the United States to Switzerland in 2012, he can now safely eat everything eggs, almonds, and most recently, baked milk. When we first arrived here, we were avoiding peanuts, tree nuts and sesame, but test results thankfully allowed us to gradually introduce these foods into his diet.

Dairy-Free Switzerland describes how we managed we’ve been managing my son’s food allergies while living and traveling in a country with four official languages—one of which we’re slowly acquiring (French). I hope the recipes, resources and more that I shared share can be useful for people living and traveling with food allergies in Switzerland and beyond.

Please note: I am not a medical professional. The content of this blog represents my own experiences, personal views and opinions as a parent of a child with a food allergy. It should not be viewed as medical advice.

To contact me, please leave a comment below or send me an email.

Many thanks,
Heddi

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47 thoughts on “About

  1. Lisa says:

    Hi Heddi,
    I stumbled on your blog today. Your recipes look delicious. Being a big bundt cake fan myself, I especially look forward to trying your different cake recipes. My family has recently cut out animal products from our diets for health reasons. I am in the process of learning ways to cook and bake without it. Your blog will be very helpful. Thanks for sharing your experiences in the form of this blog!
    Lisa from Idaho

    • dairyfreeswitzerland says:

      Hi Lisa! Thanks for your kind message. I’ll be adding a new post soon with 3 more bundt cake recipes free of eggs, dairy and nuts, since yesterday was National Bundt Day. 🙂 Hope you like them. Have a great weekend!

  2. Marcio says:

    Hi Heddi,
    I found your blog today. It is definitely very helpful. My son is 2,5 years old and also have milk allergy. As we will move to Switzerland in a few weeks, to fit his diet to the different products and brands will be a challenge in the first few days/weeks. May I ask you one question, do you know any chocolate bars milk-free? I was able to find a few with ‘traces-of’ but we are not trying these yet…
    Many thanks!
    Marcio

  3. Rachael says:

    Hi Heddi,
    Fantastic blog! I am moving to Zurich in the summer with my allergic 3 year old, so your tips and recipes will be enormously helpful. He’s allergic to dairy, egg, almonds, macadamias, hazelnuts, cashews and sesame. I’m just starting my research, I’ll let you know if I make any interesting discoveries!
    Rachael

  4. Sophie33 says:

    Hello ,
    Nice to meet you! You have a lovely cool blog here! I found your blog via Lucy’s blog. I will mak many of your tasty recipes because I am lactose-free. Greetings from a foodie from Belgium! I have many vegan recipes on my blog too! 😉

  5. Pat says:

    Hello Heddi,
    I found your blog while researching peanut allergy in Switzerland. It’s very interesting and the recipes look delicious. My husband, adult son and I will be in Zurich, St. Moritz, and the Interlaken (Berner Oberland) area in January. My son has a peanut allergy and a milder milk allergy. He avoids peanuts and nuts but is able to tolerate baked milk and butter and just avoids obvious forms of milk (cheese, cream sauces, etc.)

    We won’t have access to a kitchen during our travels and will need to eat out. I’m not familiar with the type of food served in Swiss restaurants. Are there restaurants that serve simple grilled meats and vegetables? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Pat

    • dairyfreeswitzerland says:

      Hi Pat! Thanks for visiting my blog. Your trip sounds wonderful. We just got back from Zurich and had good experiences eating out at Hiltl and the restaurant at Novotel City-West. I’m sorry, but I don’t have any specific recommendations for Interlaken or St. Moritz. My only suggestion is that restaurants at large hotels seems to have more experience catering to dietary restrictions and will more likely have English-speaking staff–at least that’s been our experience. Finally, here’s some additional advice (which I’m sure you’re already familiar with): (1) contact the restaurant in advance, (2) arrive at the restaurant during an off-peak time when the kitchen isn’t as busy, and (3) bring with a paper copy of your request that can be handed off to the kitchen. If you have any other questions or want to discuss this further, please email me at dairyfreeswitzerland@gmail.com. Otherwise, have a wonderful trip! If you think of it, please let me know how it goes so we can share your recommendations with others.

      Best wishes,
      Heddi

  6. Rachael says:

    Hi, I’ve recently moved to Zurich with my dairy, egg, nut and sesame allergic child, and so am building up our repertoire of places which are allergy-friendly for kids. Successes include Cafe Bohemia at Kreutzplatz (their kids’ menu includes plain grilled chicken, staff speak English, and you only pay the age of the child ie 4CHF for a 4 year old), tha Vapiano pizza/pasta chain (pizza base is dairy-free so you just order without cheese, the staff generally speak English and it’s informal ie easy with kids; unfortunately for us the pasta isn’t egg-free as it’s all fresh), and finally Brasserie Louis on Niederdorfstrasse (they have a kids menu and were willing to replace the breaded chicken with plain grilled chicken, speak good English etc). If you want something really Swiss, Restaurant Degenried is on the edge of the city just in the forest – they have a kids menu and are willing to switch to plain grilled meat on request, and also have great traditional seasonal dishes for the adults. Nice walk through the forest to get there. Need to book ahead for weekend lunch here and at Bohemia. Also agree that Hiltl is great, plus their sister restaurant Tibits. For a non-allergy-friendly adults’ treat try Cafe Conditorei Schöber in the old town – amazing hot chocolate and cake in a traditional setting. The cake is not dairy-free but they do have dark chocolate treats in their shop – this is where I finally found a dairy-free chocolate Santa for my son! Hope this helps make your trip a bit easier – it’s hard travelling with an allergic child.

    • Rachael says:

      Ps Pat I’ve just noticed that you said ‘adult son’ so all my info about kids’ menus are irrelevant…! But I’d still recommend the same restaurants for an allergic adult – they all have helpful staff and a willingness to adjust standard menus.

    • dairyfreeswitzerland says:

      Hi Rachael! Such wonderful advice. Thank you so much for sharing this info. I will be adding your suggested restaurants to my list today. I look forward to trying out some of these restaurants next time we’re in Zurich! BTW – was the dairy-free chocolate santa also nut-free? I can sometimes find dairy-free dark chocolate (it often has potential traces of milk, so we still have to avoid it), but it also has warnings for traces of nuts. Appreciate your help with all this. Many thanks, Heddi

      • Rachael says:

        Hi Heddi, I thought I’d replied to this but can’t see it on your site so I’m replying again – sorry if this is a duplicate. The Santa was by Peclard, and unfortunately does say ‘kann spuren Haselnuss und Mandeln’. I ignore these ‘may contain’ warnings, and my son hasn’t had any adverse reactions to date.

      • dairyfreeswitzerland says:

        Hello Rachael! No, not a duplicate. Thanks for resubmitting. Unfortunately, we have to avoid products with “may contain” warnings for almonds, as advised by our allergist. I’m not a medical professional by any means, so I stick to what our allergist recommends. Particularly because allergic reactions can vary. One reaction may be mild, the next one may be severe (see guidance on this from FARE, http://www.foodallergy.org/anaphylaxis? and Anaphylaxis Canada, http://www.anaphylaxis.ca/en/anaphylaxis101/the_basics.html). I know you’re aware of this guidance already, but just wanted to put it out there for others who might be reading. Thanks again. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences there on the other side of the Röstigraben! 🙂 Have a great weekend. -Heddi

  7. Pat says:

    Heddi and Rachael,
    Thank you so much for your terrific advice. It’s always nice to have names of specific restaurants to check out. I will definitely get back in touch when we return to let you know how our travels went. Stay safe,
    Pat

  8. Pat says:

    Hi Heddi and Rachael,

    We had a wonderful trip to Switzerland and luckily no food problems. My son was able to order off the menu at all the restaurants we visited. I can really only speak for the peanut allergy since he tolerates baked dairy and only avoids obvious forms of dairy. At this point for him in his 20’s, dairy avoidance seems to be more of a preference. So there is hope for your kids to outgrow! He was very sensitive as a child.

    In Zurich we ate at the Spaghetti Factory and CommiHalle (good English at both places). We then spent a couple days in Pontresina. In Pontresina we ate at Ristorante Nostra Pizzeria at the Hotel Engadinerhof (cheese free pizza). My son had a ski event in St Moritz and he managed fine eating out with his skiing buddies. I’m not sure where he ate though. We then traveled to Interlaken and Murren. Murren was gorgeous – fantastic weather and spectacular scenery. We successfully ate at the hotels we stayed at – Hotel Beau Site (Interlaken) and Hotel Jungfrau (Murren). Your advice about eating at the hotels is true. Good English spoken and they’re used to dealing with tourists. We also ate at the Piz Gloria at the Shilthorn summit (soup and sandwiches).

    All in all it was a fantastic trip, although much too short. I really envy you living in such a beautiful country. Thank you again for your advice.

    Stay safe,
    Pat

    • dairyfreeswitzerland says:

      Bonjour Pat, I cannot thank you enough for your thoughtful recommendations! I just updated my directories to include these restaurants and hotels. I’m so happy you had a wonderful (and safe!) trip to Switzerland. This information is so helpful to our own family as we plan our Swiss adventures and will certainly assist others elsewhere who are also planning trips. We feel so lucky being here, and hope that others with food allergies can feel comfortable traveling and experiencing all this beautiful country has to offer. Many thanks, and take care. -Heddi

  9. Pat says:

    Hi Heddi,

    Just to clarify, we didn’t specifically ask about dairy in the food except to request cheese free pizza and no additional cheese on pasta. I’m not sure if the restaurants include dairy in the preparation of the food since my son is okay with that. They may not be safe for someone who needs to avoid all forms of dairy. For the peanut allergy though, everything was fine.

    Thanks again for your wonderful site.

    Pat

  10. Xiaolu @6bittersweets says:

    Hi there! I notice you’ve baked a lot of gorgeous vegan cakes in the cathedral bundt pan. I’m not sure if it’s my recipe, the pan, or a bit of both but I’ve been trying to bake a vegan chocolate stout beer cake for my friend who’s allergic to eggs. I’ve tried it 3 times with small adjustments but it keeps sinking in the last 20 or so minutes of baking (I’m not opening the door early) and not coming cleanly out of the pan. I’m wondering if you have any advice for getting the cake to come nicely out of this pan and for getting vegan bundt cakes to turn out well with this pan? Thanks in advance, and love your blog!

    • H. Elise says:

      Hi Xiaolu! Thanks for your thoughtful comments. As for the bundt cake, I assume that you’re already generously greasing the pan with oil or dairy-free margarine and dusting it all over with flour, so that isn’t likely the problem. The sinking you describe only happens to me when I take the cake out of the oven before it’s done. It may sink a little, but it usually puffs back up if I put right back in the oven. A question: Are you trying to adjust a non-vegan recipe? I’ve found that if the recipe calls for more than 2-3 eggs, it can be hard to recreate a vegan version without some major adjustments. When my vegan cakes stick, it’s usually because I haven’t greased/floured the pan enough or it hasn’t cooked long enough. I did have one major cake fail though that was caused by the ingredients–too much of my favorite Biscoff cookie spread! 🙂 Not sure this helps, but I’ve had success with the vegan bundt recipes shared on my blog, for what it’s worth. Many thanks, and good luck. Happy Baking! -Heddi

      • Xiaolu @6bittersweets says:

        Thanks so much! Mine fell before even leaving the oven or opening the door, so unfortunately I don’t think underbaking was the culprit. This bundt pan is one of the deeper, thicker designs so perhaps cakes with a high liquid-to-flour ratio and no eggs are just better off in other pans. Feel free to correct me if you’ve made some very liquidy batters in it. Yes, I have been greasing and flouring well. Thanks again!

      • H. Elise says:

        Sorry I couldn’t help! I’ve definitely had some very thin cake batters that seemed so wet they would never turn into cake (my Crazy Cake recipe, for example). Somehow though, it all seems to work out. If you find that magic combination of ingredients that doesn’t stick to the pan, would you mind sharing it with me? I would love to try it. Thanks again for your thoughtful comments and great question. -Heddi

  11. Wuinder says:

    Hi Heddi,

    I had been looking the recipe for the french salad dressing because some weeks ago I was visiting Switzerland for just two weeks and I tasted a green salad with swiss french dressing and it was wonderful for me. Now I love it but I came back to my country Venezuela, and here it is not possible to find this salad dressing. I bought a bottle of this swiss french dressing in Coop but I could not bring it with me because my suitcase was goo heavy. I remember it was white as you mentioned in your blog but your recipe has mustard which gives a milky yellow colour to the dressing. I wonder if you know how the get the white colour in the french dressing?. It is just a doubt because I have found many recipes and in all of them the mustard is used.

    I will prepare a green salad with your french dressing recipe as soon as I can because I want to share it with my wife!

    I am really happy to know you by mean of this blog!

    Thank you very much for your wonderful recipes and advice!

    Wuinder

    • Heddi says:

      Hello Wuinder, Thanks for visiting my blog! I know the French dressing you’re referring to. The third ingredient listed is milk, which may help explain the milky white color. Unlike the recipe I posted on my blog, it also contains egg yolk. If you can tolerate both of these ingredients, maybe you can make a version at home closer to the French dressing you remember from Coop!? If you think of it, please let me know how it turns out! Many thanks. All the best. -Heddi

  12. heynaturalbeauties says:

    Hi Heddi,
    Very happy to discover your blog. I have more recently developed a dairy allergy that manifests itself in extreme peeling of skin and horrible rashes. My hubby is Swiss-german and just as i came to love Swiss-cheese and all the lovely chocolate it has cruelly been taken away from me, on the plus side my waistline has been spared. We live in the UK but frequently visit and I struggle to find things that i can eat, on the last trip we discovered Hiltl which i loved, but would be too pricey to eat there every day. So I look forward to your posts and further inspiration on how to recreate swiss treats!

    Best wishes,
    Ibi

    • Heddi says:

      Hi Ibi! Such a nice message, and thanks so much for visiting my blog. It’s great connecting with and learning from other people living with food allergies. If you happen to find any new allergy-friendly restaurants in Zurich during your next visit, please let me know! 🙂 Hope you’ve had a good weekend, and look forward to sharing/swapping info and recipes with you. All the best, Heddi

  13. Joyce says:

    Dear Heddi,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Switzerland, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,
    Joyce

  14. Joanna says:

    Hi Heddi, over the last few months I’ve increasingly had problems with dairy, even leading to migraine seizures. So your website is an absolute godsend, thank you! I live in Zurich, I’ll update you re restaurants if I find good ones.

    • Heddi says:

      Hi Joanna, Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m so sorry to hear about your recent health issues! I hope that this trend does not continue. That would be great if you could share restaurants in Zurich. As you may have seen, I highly recommend Hiltl. We had such a good experience there. Take care and please keep in touch. Many thanks, Heddi

  15. malawer says:

    Heddi, I love reading about posts (and what beautiful photography!). As a francophone myself and someone who has lived abroad several times, I appreciate hearing about your adventures and discoveries. It gives me hope that we’ll be able to revisit some of my favorite places overseas with MY food allergic son.

    Looking forward to reading more!
    Best, Erin

    • Heddi says:

      Hello Erin,

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your thoughtful comments! I’ve long admired your blog and food allergy advocacy work. Your chocolate-peppermint cookies are on my baking “to-do” list (we have lots of candy canes left from xmas!). If you’re ever looking for travel tips for Switzerland, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Many thanks,
      Heddi

  16. Lili Giglia says:

    Hi Heddi, I just came across your blog today – thanks for sharing your story.
    I love what you’ve been doing to help your son and others in the process. When I was the kid covered in eczema, kids at school thought it was contagious. The doctors never thought to check if it was food related as they covered me in all forms of cortisone. When I was so ill, I reached out to a Naturopath who helped me back to health where we found I was unable to eat lactose.

    Fast forward a bunch of years to now living in Zurich, CH – I started making all natural skincare named Essentially Lili – I use butters, carrier oils and essential oils in order to help others not suffer like I did as a kid. For little ones, I ask mums to keep a diary of their kids diet in order to find what triggers the reactions. The feedback has been great, which makes me very happy.
    I hope to keep reading what you write about. Hope soon to release my website, though for now, I’m on FB, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest under Essentially Lili.
    Wish you luck, keep up the fab work, look forward to hearing from you, Regards Lili

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