If you follow this blog (or any of my social medias), you will know that I cannot eat gluten. I wrote a whole post about it when I was first diagnosed, and it is a diagnosis that has caused a relative amount of anxiety and frustration, if I’m honest.
If you do read the things that I put out there on the internet, you will also know that I am currently on my year abroad in Spain. Now, eating ‘sin gluten’ in the UK is alright; I would say that it’s pretty easy most of the time. And before leaving home I was so, so worried that Spain would be the complete opposite.
Don’t get me wrong, in some places over here in España it is really difficult (although I’m going to litter this post with pictures that will not make it seem that way). I have had to resort to eating patatas aioli (basically a really garlicky potato salad) for breakfast whilst everyone else enjoyed pastries and churros, because there was nothing on the breakfast menu that was Haze-friendly.
I have to say, though, that being placed in a small town has been a blessing in disguise for my gluten intolerance. Because all the food is fresh. We buy our fish from the fish market, meat from the butchers and our fruit and veg from the greengrocers. With all these fresh ingredients to hand my housemate and I have become pretty good chefs, and I’m eating such a huge variety of gluten free food. It couldn’t have worked out better for me and my stupid stomach.
I have also been able to find gluten free bread, pasta, spaghetti, breadcrumbs and croissants in a couple of the supermarkets over here. So I can still indulge in all the carby goodness that I did at home.
Another huge positive of living in this little place, is how friendly everyone is. It is literally considered rude if you don’t greet people that you walk past on the street. This has proven to be a huge advantage for me, because I have made friends with the owner of my favourite restaurant/cafe and now he makes me delicious gluten free dishes that aren’t usually on the menu. My current favourite is a lunch dish of patatas bravas, goats cheese, Iberian ham and seasoned tomatoes. Yum!
Moving into the bigger cities that I have been exploring, surprising amount of restaurants have those little allergen symbols all over their menus, which makes it so, so easy for me to find places to eat. I’ve had gluten free burgers in Cádiz, gluten free nachos in Seville and a whole range of gluten free tapas in Villamartín, amongst other things. Also, a traditional Spanish paella is naturally gluten free, which is a huge bonus for me as this dish is heavenly.
I can’t say that I don’t miss some English foods. I have yet to find any gluten free gravy (or ‘normal’ gravy for that matter), which means that the traditional Sunday roast I have been craving for what feels like forever remains a distant fantasy at the moment. And, as I mentioned, whilst I can find some gluten free alternatives for everyday foods, I do miss the much wider range of coeliac-friendly treats available in UK supermarkets. Especially the snack food!
So, overall, being unable to eat gluten in Spain has been a much easier journey than I expected, for which I am seriously grateful. Thanks for reading!