This story was originally published in Belgrade Insight print edition on November 3, 2017.
by Gillian Dohrn, Belgrade
The distinctive smell of fresh bread wafts through the open doors of a small storefront just off Jurija Gagarina Street in New Belgrade. The aroma could fool even a diehard traditionalist despite the absence of a key ingredient—gluten. Hrana Bez Glutena, or GlutenNo in English, is Belgrade’s first gluten-free bakery.
and Ivana Prostran founded the family store in May 2017. Both Sinisa and their son Matija suffer from coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder that provokes the immune system to wreak havoc upon the small intestine when the affected ingests gluten.
is served alongside most Serbian dishes and gluten derivatives constitute a majority of the region’s staples. When Sinisa was diagnosed nine years ago, they struggled to find alternatives.
His diet was oriented on meat, vegetables, fruit and rice flakes,” said Ivana. They began experimenting with alternative recipes.
trial and error, the Prostrans developed three unique recipes for bread which they sell by the loaf, in addition to muffins, cookies and a traditional potato-based sweet treat.
Stanojlovic, a regular customer at GlutenNo, chooses to avoid gluten and sugar for personal health benefits. He commutes to New Belgrade for pizza, sandwiches and the house-made lavender lemonade.
It’s better,” he said, when asked to compare the gluten-free products with their glutenous equivalents.
menu features a variety of pizzas, available with or without lactose, sandwiches, sweet and savoury crepes and, as of October 7, six varieties of pasta with a choice of house made gnocchi or barilla spaghetti.
barilla noodles are the only ingredient in any product that is not made fresh. Everything is prepared by Sinisa and his two sous chefs in the kitchen behind the front counter.
dining area is small but according to Ivana, 40 per cent of their customers pick up food, they deliver food to another 40 per cent and only 20 per cent of patrons dine in.
GlutenNo opened, Igor Kokanovic has come regularly to pick up lunch. “Pizza is the good, sandwich is the great,” he said on his way out, cradling a bag containing a pizza, sandwiches, and his first order of gnocchi.
customer, Jana Milenkovic, has only been coming to GlutenNo for two weeks but brought her friend Teodora, who was recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy, to celebrate the pasta debut.
only other gluten-free restaurant in Belgrade – tennis player Novak Djokovic’s high end café Novak – sources some of their baked goods from the Prostran kitchen at GlutenNo.
market is tight, but business is good. If the trend continues, the Prostrans hope to open a more central location within the year.