This weekend was the birthday of my dear and wonderful friend, Stephanie Henderson, who was also a bridesmaid at my wedding last June! Steph requested a wine & cheese party … anything with food, count me in! She prepared this gorgeous Charcuterie board full of Serbian cured meats (her husband Milan grew up in Serbia), olives, red pepper spread and pate and guests were asked to bring a cheese and wine pairing. What a creative girl; she even had little signs for her cheeses… which I instantly posted to Pinterest. As you can see, there were many things to try! Thanks for the great time, Steph & Milan!

If you are following a restricted diet, either gluten-free, dairy-free, low FODMAP or any other exclusion, you may have a slight fear of entertaining with friends and family. Many people I talk to that have IBS or a food intolerance/allergy suffer with symptoms immediately or the next day, however they find it difficult to let people know about their food concerns. Here is my best advice, the top 3 tips on entertaining with friends:

steph & steph wedding


1. Whether at home or someone else’s place, always bring a personal stash of gluten-free crackers, crisps and bread. No one will even notice you pull out your own crackers to eat with the cheese tray.

2. Encourage a pot luck. Always ask to bring something to an event. You can ensure there is at least one dish that you can feel safe enjoying and people with really appreciate your contribution.

3. Enjoy small quantities. If you have Celiac disease, you need to avoid gluten 100%, however for most people with food intolerance or IBS, trigger foods in very small amounts may be tolerated fine. Know your trigger foods and what your body can handle.

If you are the host, no need to fear the guest with food intolerance or allergy. Simply plan ahead, search blogs and posts, and provide at least one or two options for these guests. There are many substitute ingredients today like GF bread crumbs, pasta noodles, sauces and spreads that make it simple to  provide delicious meals to your sensitive guests.

Here are a few entertaining “safe” foods for gluten-free and lactose-free guests:

  • Glutino GF crackers & crisps
  • Polenta crisps
  • Lactose-free cheese i.e. old cheddar, Parmesan, select varieties of Swiss & Gouda

cheese entertaining

  • GF, lean Parma ham, sausages, and turkey (small amounts of cured meats)
  • Veggies (cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery, broccoli) and hummus or dips made with Tofutti sour cream
  • Crustini made with GF bread i.e. bruchetta, roasted vegetables, or tapenade
  • Crab cakes (homemade with GF breadcrumbs)
  • Rice paper rolls with rice noodles, fresh vegetables, shrimp, chicken or tofu
  • Lettuce wraps
  • Baked potato skins
  • Polenta or potato fries
  • Sushi

Much love & good entertaining,