Mozart Balls Really Do Have Nuts- Tips on travelling with food allergies

31 Days- The Art of Wearing Your Fat Dreams

They’re everywhere, these little Mozart Balls. After many days of touring Salzburg, we finally broke down and purchased a few Mozart Balls from a little shop below the Hohensalzburg Castle in Old Town. In our best broken German we asked the shop lady if the bon bons contained nuts. “Nein,” she said. Then we pressed her and asked exactly what a Mozart Ball contained in it’s three lovely layers of impressive gooeyness. “Vell,” she said, “marzipan, nougat, und chocolat.” Himself and I exchanged a smirk and purchased three bon bons making a note NOT to give any to Zuzu.

Zuzu has tree nut allergies along with allergies to sesame and coconut. We knew travelling to Germany and Austria would be tricky and many of their confections contained nuts, but luckily it is not a cuisine that uses nuts in many of it’s day to day dishes like many Asian countries do.

Then how does one travel with food allergies?

The Boy with the Red Bag- Zuzu with his epipen bag

1. Make a list of all your food allergies and have someone (preferably a native to that country) translate all of those words and all of their forms in the language of the countries you will be travelling. Ex. Marzipan is a nut paste.

2. Speak with your physician about travelling abroad and ask what you may expect. Sometimes caregivers can reveal some points we would not even consider.

3. Travel with two sets of epi pens, inhalers, benedril, and other emergency meds you may need. Make sure they are not expired. We had no trouble with authorities when travelling with meds, in fact there were places we went where no bags were allowed, but our med bag was waved through each time.

4. Train each family member in how and when to use an epipen.

5. Carry a note in the language of the country you are visiting explaining your allergies. We were able to show this to waiters and whoever handled Zuzu’s food. Here is Zuzu’s note that we carried with us…


Unser Kind hat eine Nussallergie!
Baumnusse: Walnuss, Hazelnuss, Paranuss, Kokonuss, Pinienkerne, Pecannuss, Macadamia Nuss, Mandeln, Marzipan.

Und Sesamkoerner/Sesamoel

6. Avoid foods that may contain your allergens. Read all labels. Learn the cuisine. For us it was all things chocolate as many European chocolates contain hazelnuts. We did find one brand that was safe for him. We made many ice cream stops and let him purchase from places that did not cross-contaminate their ice creams. Many were even nice enough to scoop the ice cream with a clean scoop! We found that everyone was very understanding, helpful, and very conscientiousness with Zuzu’s needs.

7. Before flying, taking a train, or whatever other form of travel, pack some foods that are safe for you. Poor Zuzu went without a meal on the plane because all the foods contained nuts, then when we got to Iceland, all of the food at the airport contained nuts, and he was forced to eat Doritos and chips. By the time we landed at home he had a roaring migraine. Pack safe food!

8. Sometimes you have to do without. Always play it safe!

9. Know how to call emergency services in the country you are visiting.

10. Relax.

What’s this have to do with Fat Dreams?
Everything. As a couple, Himself and I share the dream of travel. To travel as often as our means (time and money) allow, and travel far. But with this we realize there are a few obstacles to this dream. Time and money for one, with another obstacle being Zuzu’s food allergies. Instead of making this an impossible obstacle, we tackled it, asked for help, educated ourselves, and went for it. His allergies may sound like no big deal, so let me assure you that one misstep on travel could land Zuzu in a foreign hospital or worse yet, a morgue. It is that serious. I will not make this about who has the biggest obstacles- it’s not a race, but one of, what are some obstacles that keep you from living your dreams?

Your Move
Ah ha! And you thought I would start this journey together from the beginning with a homework assignment asking you all to list your dreams in the comment section. Dreaming’s easy, trust me I am a pro at it, the hard part is overcoming the things that keep us from our dreams.

What are some obstacles that keep you from living your dreams?
What are some other travel tips you can share when travelling with food allergies?

Missed any Days on this Dream Ride?

Day 1- The Art of Wearing Your Fat Dreams– Introduction
Day 2- “You Should’ve Married Someone Else!”– Who is really responsible for fulfilling our dreams?
Day 4- The Barf Stops Here- Homemade SpaghettiOs– If given the gift of time, how would you then spend it?


  1. Amanda
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    Welcome to our neck of the woods! Mozart stuff (cake, candies, etc) usually have pistachio marzipan (hence, the green). There are a few misspellings in your note, but it should get the point across (Vorsicht, Baum, etc). Enjoy your trip! We were supposed to go to Salzburg also this weekend, but decided to wait until the snow comes.

  2. Robin Sue
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Amanda! I did fix the mistakes that you pointed out! It was actually my bad transcribing of my German friend's note. They are going to kill me for botching their note;-)

  3. gfe--gluten free easily
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    Great post, Robin! There are actually some online sites and services that do those translations for you so that you can have cards that you either printed from the web or that you purchased. Love reading about your travels and how you are keeping Zuzu safe!


  4. Biz
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    I used to babysit for a little girl who had huge food allergies, I had no idea how hard it was just to lead a normal life with such a life threatening allergy!

    Great post – I am going to forward it to a co-worker who has 2 kids with nut/dairy allegies.

    Money is the only obstacle from us traveling, and my husband isn't very mobile, so that's a whole other issue.

    The furthest west I've been is DesMoines, Iowa! 😀

  5. Ellen
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    Hi there — thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I do love the Anne books and pretty excited about this 31 series I am doing.

    Love the title of your series — along with the picture (your fat jeans…lol). Very witty!!

  6. heatherann
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Whole foods! My son is lactose intolerant (not a fun way to travel) as well as allergic to corn, and anything with any corn product in it! This is difficult at home, and nearly impossible when we travel. We look for health food, whole food and grocery stores, and purchase fresh fruit and veggies, local meats and fish, and find a bakery. Restaurants are always a gamble, and so we often take his meal in with us.

  7. Beverly Livingston
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    I hope you don't mind me asking you a question. We are going to Germany and my son has a peanut allergy. I am going to make a card but with your experience, was your son allergic to peanut and was he able to eat any of the treats that I have heard so much about? Any advice would be helpful.

  8. Robin Sue
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    Beverly- My son is not allergic to peanuts (Erdnüsse) but we did see that some items- mostly candy could contain peanuts. I found that most of the chocolate treats were the ones to stay away from. The Germans more so use tree nuts over peanuts, but you still have to be careful. We stuck with lemon or strawberry ice cream too. Just make up a card, I think there are sites that can do this for you, have epipens with you, and read labels. It will be a great trip!

  9. Beverly Livingston
    Posted November 20, 2011 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the encouragement. I am sitting down with a friend from Germany on Monday to go over the allergy card and useful sayings in German. We live in Spain now, so it won't be too bad of a flight. If you think of anything else that will be helpful, it would be appreciated. We will be in Germany and Belgium.

  10. Jess
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 2:16 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this! As I read any food blogs/tutorials, I have to discard a good deal of recipes because my three year old has peanut/tree nut allergies, and we do our best to be nut free around her.

    It's great to see a post here about traveling to a foreign country with allergies. We're adopting from the DRC (Congo) in Africa, and aside from the security concerns, we don't feel comfortable taking our daughter to a place that simply doesn't understand food allergies (and wouldn't have the medical resources available if there was a problem).

    Again, thank you. Sometimes, it's just nice to know that I'm not alone in this.

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