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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?!

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!

Gluten Free Venice Italy
With a bit of googling, some trial and error and a lot of saying the words 'senza glutine' (gluten free) and 'Io sono celiaco' (I am Coeliac), we found some great restaurants. Click To Tweet
gluten free Burano Venice Italy

Burano, Venice

Italy… land of pizza, pasta and bread. When my mum wanted to treat my sister to pre-wedding celebrations for a long weekend in Venice I was beyond excited but a little nervous about eating gluten free and getting around any language barriers in restaurants.

True to its reputation Venice was simply stunning. After arriving at the airport we jumped into a private water taxi to our hotel; just around the corner from St Marks Square. The canals, piazzas, art and cathedrals are exquisite. The islands of Murano and Burano are not to be missed for their glass blowing and windy streets with multi-coloured houses.

glass blowing gluten free murano venice italy

Glass blowing in Murano, Venice

But I’ll be honest we found it pretty difficult to find gluten free dining in Venice, a lot of restaurants we tried just said no when we asked about gluten free options. However with a bit of googling, some trial and error and a lot of saying the words ‘senza glutine’ (gluten free) and ‘Io sono celiaco’ (I am Coeliac), we found some great restaurants.

In fact Italy is pretty clued up when it comes to Coeliac disease. Children are routinely screened for coeliac disease and subsidies are available to compensate people with coeliac disease for the higher cost of gluten free food. Italian law even requires gluten free food be available in schools, hospitals and public places. The Associazione Italiana Celiachia publishes a restaurant guide and provides annual reports for the Italian Parliament.

If you are looking for gluten free alternatives to cook your own food, go to a Pharmacy, they are considered medicine for Coeliacs. Supermarkets tend to stock some gluten free pastas and things too.

Here are the restaurants we ate at which had great gluten free options:

gluten free kori restaurant venice

Kori Restaurant

  1. Kori Restaurant – This was the best restaurant we visited in Venice hands down. We were strolling past when one of the waiters approached us, we asked about gluten free options and they assured us they could provide pretty much anything on the menu gluten free. We had the most amazing night our waiters were excellent (and handsome) especially Stefano. Nothing was too much trouble and they were very aware of dietary requirements.
    We had a gorgeous platter of Lobster, Prawns and Langoustines which they prepared and served for us. Finished of course with some delicious Limoncello.
    Calle Larga S.Marco, 280
gluten free kori restaurant venice

Kori Restaurant

  • Restaurant Galuppi – Great seafood restaurant, very accommodating and understanding of gluten allergies, in beautiful Burano. Lots of fresh grilled seafood to choose from, risotto and even gluten free spaghetti. They gave us rice cakes in place of the bread before the meal.
    Via B. Galuppi, 468 (Burano)

    gluten free restaurant galuppi Venice

    Restaurant Galuppi

  • La Zucca – Famous for its Venetian delicacies, fish, meat, and vegetarian recipes. The waiter was able to tell us exactly what was gluten free on the menu and the food was great.
    Santa Croce, 1762

    Gluten Free Pizza Venice AeOche

    Gluten Free Pizza at Pizzerie AeOche

  • Pizzerie AeOche – Great pizza and sports bar, the only Italian gluten free pizza we managed to find in Venice! Huge range of pizza toppings to choose from.
    Santa Croce, 1552/A
  • Grom – Amazing gelato and gluten free (except for flavours noted on a sign which is in clear display). The staff were clued up about which flavours were gluten free and took precautions with cross-contamination.
    Various locations:
    – Salizada S. Giovanni Grisostomo, 5803
    – Campo San Barnaba, 2761
    – Cannaregio, 3844
    – Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia, Fondamenta Santa Lucia, 30100

Translations to help you out:

Gluten free: senza glutine
I am Coeliac: lo sono celiaco
May contain: possono contenere
Contains: contiene
Wheat: grano
Barley: orzo
Rye: segale
Oats: avena

Have you been to Venice? Do you have any recommendations for great gluten free eats?