Sin Gluten! Eat Your Way Around Gluten Free Spain
The Biocasa health food shop in the old town central district is huge and offers a great range of gluten free foods. Click To Tweet

Living with a food allergy or intolerance can be a challenge even in our own country. I remember the hours spent searching supermarket aisles, reading ingredients labels, trying different brands to finally find a range of foods that not only taste delicious but more importantly food I felt I could trust.

For me going on holiday or traveling, meant packing as much gluten free food as I could. Oats, bread, pasta, and snacks would all be stuffed into my suitcase. I did not want to risk living on a diet of fruit, vegetables, and rice or even worse – getting sick!

On many occasion I would be asking ‘Do I pack the cute orange shoes or that extra pack of gluten free oats’?! Tough decision and yes we have all been there!

I did not know what to expect from Spain, a Mediterranean diet with bread (and red wine) at the heart of every meal. I assumed gluten free would not be easily available and I would be sat watching everyone else tucking into their morning tostadas!

Upon arriving in the beautiful city of Malaga, the choices of places to eat was pretty impressive. Most restaurants offer a gluten free bread option, as well as gluten free tapas.

If like me, you like to prepare your own food Malaga has one of the best health food shops I have been in for a long time. The Biocasa health food shop in the old town central district is huge and offers a great range of gluten free foods. You will spend way to much time looking through all of their quirky and beautifully packaged food.

Move further down the coast to Vera Playa, Garrucha and Mojacar and you are welcomed into rural Spain.

Has gluten free made it’s way to the smaller and more traditionally ‘Spanish’ towns?

Thankfully the answer to this is YES!

Spanish supermarkets such as Consum and Mercadona have aisles dedicated to gluten free food and you will be able to buy pasta, bread, pastries, soups and many more food items you would ordinarily buy at home.

spanish gluten free logoMost food in general in the supermarket will also be labeled with a gluten free logo too – for example nearly all of the crisps have a logo detailing if they are gluten free, as well as other food products.

I was really surprised at how much easier it is to actually shop in Spanish supermarkets because of the clear markings.gluten free chickpea flour

The Spanish LOVE to cook with different flours, so chickpea flour and rice flour are super cheap and easy to find. I was able to make some delicious chickpea pastry!

Search around as many gluten free products are also neatly nestled in with other food.

The towns of Vera and Garrucha both have amazing health food shops, small but perfectly formed and offering other gluten free food options.

gluten free muesliHerbolario in Garrucha stocks many well-recognised brands as well as quirkier food brands too. I found this delicious gluten free ‘low sugar’ muesli in Herbolario in Garrucha.

Eating out ‘gluten free’ in Garrucha and Vera is relatively easy, menus offer lots of fresh fish and deliciously cooked tapas. When it comes to gluten free bread, Spain can offer you several varieties, which can be found not only in supermarkets but also in restaurants and coffee shops.

If you do not speak Spanish, communicating will obviously be a challenge, but as long as you can say ‘Sin Gluten’ most servers will understand what you mean.

We have recommended a couple of places, you can feel safe in the knowledge you can eat, get merry and be happy!

Eating Gluten free in Garrucha

  1. La Cantina De Flor Paseo del Malecon, 80, 04630 Garrucha, Almería – Coffee Shop with great tapas and breakfast
  2. Alcala Calle Mayor, 150, 04630 Garrucha, Almería – Coffee Shop by day and tapas bar by night. Lovely terrace in the old town
  3. Gnomo Feliz Ctra. Vera – Garrucha, Desvío Puerto Rey, 04620, Almería – Delicious restaurant with great views and traditional Spanish food

Eating Gluten free in Vera

  1. Pepe’s bar and grill Plaza del Hospital, 6, 04620 Vera, Almería – Lovely restaurant offering main meals and tapas
  2. Juan Moreno Ctra. de Ronda, 3, 04620 Vera, Almería – Traditional restaurant offering home cooked delicious food

 

Related Tag: Gluten Free Meals

Beautiful Gluten Free Barcelona Spain
Like any city and depending on how much time you plan on staying, Barcelona is home to some beautiful markets. Markets where you can pick up fresh fruit, veg, cheese and other traditional delicacies. Click To Tweet

Traveling in Spain has certainly opened up my eyes to just how ‘common’ gluten free diets have become – thankfully for us, this is a good thing!

Southern Spain has impressed me; with small towns home to many small but awesome cafes and restaurants offering gluten free menu options. For a country with a HUGE reliance on wheat for many of their meals, it was certainly a welcome surprise.

Yay, I could eat the same food as everyone else!

I always hoped a city like Barcelona would live up to its reputation of offering diverse and amazing cuisine, and even more so for those with Coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Like any city and depending on how much time you plan on staying, Barcelona is home to some beautiful markets. Markets where you can pick up fresh fruit, veg, cheese and other traditional delicacies.

For me, having the option to buy and cook my own food is a ‘backup’ plan I like to know I can fall back on. I have walked away from restaurants with the rumble of hunger in my stomach way too often, you soon become a pro at planning when you have a dietary requirement like gluten intolerance.

Get ready to feast your eyes on our top picks of places you can eat gluten free in the beautiful and romantic city of Barcelona.

Buenos Dias or good morning, let’s start with gluten free breakfast of champions in Barcelona.

There are a host of bakeries you can pick up a snack time breakfast treat (see below bakeries), but if you want to sit down and enjoy your breakfast in polite surroundings then look no further!

  1. Brunch & Cake Carrer d’Enric Granados, 19, 08007
    Such a cute name for a lovely little breakfast place. Offering an impressive range and well thought out creative menu. Gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian are all well catered for.  It does get busy, so be prepared to queue or arrive at 9am!
  2. Menssana Carrer Sardenya 48, 08005
    Reminiscent of a breakfast space you would find in California, the laid back feel of Menssana immediately puts you at ease. An interesting and varied menu offering delicious, fresh gluten free food. Staff are also very helpful and knowledgeable!

Gluten Free Lunch and Dinner

There is never enough time to eat in all the places you want, so the below are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lunch and dinner options in bountiful Barcelona.

  1. Flax & Kale allers 74B, 08001
    As someone with a dietary requirement, when you see the word Kale in the name of a restaurant, you know there will be something you can eat. This lovely restaurant serves fresh food in a calm atmosphere. The service could have been better, but the food menu and taste certainly made up for it. Vegetarians and vegans are also catered for too. A lovely relaxed place for a spot of lunch.
  2. L’Antic Bocoi del Gotic Baixada de Viladecols, 3, 08002
    Certainly, a mouthful to pronounce, but definitely worth a visit. A lovely, cozy restaurant offering traditional Spanish food. Impressive gluten free menu and impeccable service make for a very special dinner.

Sugar and spice and all things nice (and gluten free of course)!

  1. Jansana Gluten Free Bakery C/Balmes 106, 08008
    Donuts, cakes, muffins and other lovely little fancies are waiting to be devoured. A very swish, modern and ultra cool bakery where you can sit in or take away. A true gluten free gem.
  2. Pasticelia Carrer de París, 165, 08036
    Our next sweet option is the traditional Pasticelia. A very cute traditional bakery offering a lovely range of gluten free treats. Choose one of their small and delicate Spanish fancies and sit on one of the many benches outside and watch the world go by. Great atmosphere, with friendly service.

Eating gluten free in Barcelona is easy and with so many options available, you really will be spoilt for choice. Let’s face it, choice makes a refreshing change for people with dietary requirements.

Gluten Free Bruges Belgium
I can recommend Bruges as having a fair few restaurants that cater for someone that is following a gluten free diet, which is great news for me and other coeliacs who are thinking of going to Bruges! Click To Tweet

Bruges is a quaint medieval city located in the north west of Belgium.  The city centre was granted UNESCO world heritage site in 2000 and is pretty special with it’s narrow cobbled streets and large squares.  With the city being just over a 3-hour train journey from Amsterdam or even better, a mere 1 hour 20 minutes from Brussels, you should really make this a stop on your European trip.  Often deemed as the ‘Venice of the North’, I can now see why, with lots of beautiful canals running through the city and bustling cafes to enjoy a glass of wine, eat some nice gluten free food (yes, really!) and watch the world go by.  

In terms of gluten free eating, I can recommend Bruges as having a fair few restaurants that cater for someone that is following a gluten free diet, which is great news for me and other coeliacs who are thinking of going to Bruges! I had no problems in any of the restaurants that I visited in finding gluten free food it was either already clearly labelled on the menu, or by informing the waiter of my allergy and asking them to inform me what foods are gluten free.

My top 3 gluten free Bruges food serving restaurants:

  1. Reliva, Goezeputstraat 6, Bruges 8000, Belgium.  This restaurant serves delicious European fayre.  They seemed to be very aware of dietary choices and are very vegetarian, vegan and gluten free food-friendly, with the gluten free food being highlighted on the menu.  They also had a very good wine menu too.  Quite expensive but worth it as the food, including my gluten free meal, was delectable.
  2. Marieke Van Brugghe, Mariastraat 17, Bruges 8000, Belgium.  I had a very tasty dinner here on my last night.  I told the waiting staff about my gluten allergy and they took their time to explain to me what I could and could not eat on the menu, as a coeliac.  They also explained to me the dishes that they could amend to make it gluten free for me.  The restaurant had a really nice, authentically Belgian ambience and this combined with the really yummy gluten free food it was a real winner!
  3. Gingerbread Bagel & Coffee House, Sint-Amandsstraat 29, Bruges 8000, Belgium.  Cute little tearooms that serve coffees, salads and cakes.  I always get excited when I have a good gluten free cake in a restaurant and this was particularly memorable.  They also have gluten free bread on offer which I had with a delicious salad.  I’d recommend this place for a great gluten free lunch in a cute tearoom setting.

Belgium is world famous for its chocolate shops and Bruges is no exception.  Chocolate shops are found around every corner, and as a gluten free traveller with a sweet tooth, this was very well received! As a coeliac, chocolates are always a go-to dessert and having so many varieties on offer was gluten free heaven!  Make sure to ask the chocolate shop workers which chocolates that they sell are gluten free, in most instances for me their English was perfect and they were very happy to tell me which ones I could eat as a coeliac.  They also were very ready to give out free samples, so go chocolate shopping on an empty stomach to really enjoy!

So to travel to Bruges as a gluten free traveller or not?  The answer is yes, Bruges should definitely be a stop on your gluten free travels.  A romantic city like no other, with lots of chocolate and gluten free food on offer, what’s not to love?!

Gluten Free Copenhagen Denmark
At Christmas Copenhagen is really special. The Christmas markets that pop up around the city are great to explore, with lots of local crafts on offer and of course mulled wine which must be consumed for warming purposes. Click To Tweet

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark and my gluten free capital of Scandinavia! Every meal I gobbled up in this wonderful city was truly delicious. As a coeliac it was also refreshing to have more than one or two gluten free menu choices to choose from in every restaurant that I visited.

At Christmas Copenhagen is really special. The Christmas markets that pop up around the city are great to explore, with lots of local crafts on offer and of course mulled wine (which must be consumed for warming purposes!). There are usually a variety of food stalls at these markets too; chocolate covered fruit seemed to be popular and a really delicious gluten free treat!

The days are short in December, with the sun setting at around 3:30-4pm, which adds to the cosy, wintery atmosphere. It is also the perfect excuse to slope off into a restaurant, to keep warm and enjoy some good gluten free food.

There are an abundance of restaurants that serve gluten free meals in Copenhagen and every cuisine seems to be catered for. From a gluten free burger to gluten free pizza (leave the calorie counting at home), I found the food here was exceptional.

Top 5 gluten free restaurants in Copenhagen

  1. Tight Hyskenstraede 10, Copenhagen 1207. This is a really cool place, hidden away down a small alley it would be easily missed, but make sure you don’t! It served the BEST gluten free burger (what an accolade!) I have ever eaten, served on tasty gluten free bread, which is hard to come by. The place has a funky ambience created by the dim lighting and indie music, definitely a place to not be missed.
  2. Simpleraw Gråbrødretorv 9, 1154 København K, Copenhagen. You can’t help but feel healthy once you’ve finished your meal here. They serve lots of gluten free food as well as vegan and vegetarian dishes. Try the Poke bowl; a yummy gluten free meal consisting of a variety of veg and tofu. Friendly service too.
  3. Costa D’Hellerup Kildegårdsvej 15, 2900 Hellerup, Copenhagen. Pizza. Gluten free pizza. Heaven! They are able to make pretty much every pizza on their menu with a gluten free base and be assured, they are delicious! It’s hard to find gluten free pizza bases that aren’t like eating cardboard, but at Costa D’Hellerup they have certainly achieved it, yum!
  4. Kodbyens Fiskebar Flaesketorvet 100, Copenhagen 1711. I don’t think a trip to Denmark would be complete without sampling a fish dish, the Danes do love their fish after all. So a trip to fish restaurant Kodbyens is must. Most of the meals on the menu can be adapted to be gluten free and the waiters were more than happy to explain how the meal could be adapted, once I had explained to them about my gluten allergy.
  5. Naturbageriet Frederiksborggade 29, Copenhagen 1360. Gluten free cake is something to get really excited about and this bakery has so many choices! So many choices = So much excitement. The cinnamon rolls are highly recommended, as is the banana cake. Top tip: Come here at the beginning of your trip and take a few away to keep in your hotel mini bar fridge; the perfect hotel room snack!

So, are you a coeliac looking to book your new European getaway? Make it Copenhagen!

Gluten free Bangkok Thailand
Along with the usual tourist things to tick off our list while in town, such as the Temple of Wat Pho, the Grand Palace and taking a ride on the Skytrain, I’d also heard that the street food here is amazing, and that’s true. Click To Tweet

Bangkok; brash, bustling, boiling and brilliant! Having spent 3 days there before heading to Vietnam, I can safely say that I fell in love with the place.

After a 14 hour flight, to step outside into the 34 degree humid heat was immense. The air is filled with petrol fumes, sizzling spices and moisture (we arrived after a heavy rainfall), it smelt exotic and exciting.

Along with the usual tourist things to tick off our list while in town, such as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), the Grand Palace and taking a ride on the Skytrain, I’d also heard that the street food here is amazing, and that’s true – it simply cannot be missed during a trip here.

Of course as a coeliac, the words ‘street food’ brought me out in a cold sweat when it was suggested we sample some on our first night there, but be assured it is possible to find and eat gluten free street food, if you go prepared.

My top tips for a coeliac eating street food in Bangkok:

  1. Street food tends to be made to order, meaning if you keep your eye on what is going on, you can tell your dutiful street vendor if/when you don’t want any particular ingredient added to your dish. The big names in seasoning here are oyster and soy sauce; these two ingredients contain gluten so watch out for these.
  2. Take a card with ‘No oyster sauce or soy sauce’ written on it around with you and show it to the street vendor before they begin cooking. (I asked my hotel concierge to write this out in Thai for me).
  3. Look for rice noodle dishes such as Pad Thai (soy/oyster sauce is usually not used for this dish) or Pad See Ew. Rice noodles are made from rice flour and result in a white and (usually) thick, flat noodle. They’re perfect for coeliacs as they contain no gluten. Thai curries such as green and red curry are usually gluten free and coeliac friendly, they very rarely contain soy or oyster sauce (always double check), and are served with rice. Papaya salad, which is a commonly found and really delicious, is also traditionally gluten free.

Head to Chinatown or ‘Yaowarat’ as it is known locally, for loads of stalls selling authentic and delicious Thai street food. The vendors are friendly and happy to help if you speak to them about your gluten allergy (take your card and gesturing goes along way!).

Other than street food, Bangkok has a plethora of restaurants with something to suit every taste.

Here are my top 3 gluten free friendly restaurants for the discerning coeliac traveller:

  1. Thip Samai313 Maha Chai Road, Khwaeng Samran Rat, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200. Great restaurant, vibrant and chaotic. They can provide English menus which makes all the difference for those with a gluten allergy! Many dishes on the menu are gluten free, try the Pad Thai – to die for!
  2. Veganerie Bakery35/2 Soi.Methiniwet (Sukhumvit24) behind Benjasiri Park Klongtan Klong Toei Bangkok 10110. So many gluten free choices! The bakery focuses on producing vegan food, but they also have a variety of gluten free bakes. For a coeliac visiting Bangkok this is a place really worth taking a trip to, the gluten free and vegan chocolate fudge cake is amazing!
  3. Nahm27 S Sathorn Rd, Hotel Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok 10120. If you are after something a little fancy and pretty special, this Michelin starred restaurant is the place for you. Most of the menu is naturally gluten free and everything I sampled was delicious. Try the Tom Yum soup, it really was yum and perfectly gluten free!

So to round it up, Bangkok is definitely worth a trip, there are so many interesting things to see and eat. Gluten free travellers should not be wary, there are lots of gluten free food options available, both street food options and restaurants. There are also a few Australian supermarkets that sell Australian branded gluten free foods, in case of emergency.

My Path to gluten intolerance
As a gluten free blogger my mission was always to find amazing coeliac friendly feeds and help people like me remove the stress that comes with the worry of catering for dietary requirements. Click To Tweet

My Story – Why I started this gluten free blog

I have always been slightly sensitive to gluten. For as long as I can remember I would feel bloated and nauseous having eaten too much pizza or overindulged in other gluten-filled foods. But in my early twenties, I was hit with a nasty case of food poisoning from a business trip to Paris – I suspect from the dodgy Croque Monsieur I had in Gard du Nord station while rushing back to get the Eurostar to London, but who knows. The obvious side effects continued for about a week and a half, including a mortifying experience at Southwark tube station whilst going home sick from work the following day where I collapsed on the platform. I would never have suspected the following nightmare 12 months and the permanent damage to my digestive system.

2 months later I was still being ill after every meal (symptoms included bad skin, bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, drowsiness and brain fog) and I was also suffering from anxiety following the tube station incident which made it difficult to travel on any public transport, let alone commute to work. Enough was enough, I took myself to the doctors numerous times, undergoing many blood tests, urine tests, ultrasounds, poking and prodding. I was prescribed Buscopan, Peppermint Oil Capsules and Fibre Supplements, diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and severe gluten intolerance and referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy  (CBT) and nutritional help to do the FODMAP elimination diet. In other words, I was a total mess!

Almost 3 years later and I’m finally feeling human again. A large part of this is down to self-help for my anxiety, quitting my job in London and going travelling and doing the FODMAP diet. At first, I worked out a full A4 page of foods that were causing problems, but now I’m down to just 3; gluten, onions and garlic. Travelling was one of the experiences that I feel had the most positive impact on my life and recovery, but it also worsened my anxiety at first as I constantly worried about being ill while travelling and catering for my dietary requirements in different countries. I researched every place I went but often found it difficult to find reliable gluten free recommendations, so I decided to record my gluten free travels here to help others with gluten intolerance and coeliac disease.

Following a gluten free diet shouldn’t be a burden on your holiday or stop you from enjoying new countries and cuisines. As a gluten free blogger my mission was always to find amazing coeliac friendly feeds and help people like me remove the stress that comes with the worry of catering for dietary requirements.

I live by recommendations and research so if you know a great gluten free place, let me know about it!

Happy Gluten Free Travelling!