So, I had the pleasure of visiting Barcelona for 3 days over the Easter break (yes, yes, I know this blog is a little delayed… I’ve been unwell so that’s my excuse!) and I was amazed by the rich and varied gluten free options available to me! I was initially a little nervous about the trip (and so travelled well prepared with lots of perkier porridge pots, kallo rice cakes and nakd bars – classic coeliac!) but a little research and some great local recommendations meant I feasted like an intolerant king throughout my stay!
First stop was ‘Conesa’ a small, unassuming sandwich shop in the gothic quarter, very popular among the locals judging by the long queue of chatting customers streaming out of it’s door! I was so impressed by their approach to serving coeliac safe food, they had a selection of gluten free breads kept in a separate section of their (admittedly tiny!) kitchen and a designated grill and area to prepare the sandwiches. The choice was unreal! From carnivore to vegan you would have been well satisfied! I (finally) decided on a chicken and roasted vegetable grilled sandwich which did not disappoint – the bread was crispy and fluffy and the filling was gooey and moreish. Top marks!
High on carbs it was time to explore a little of what the main strip ‘La Rambla’ had to offer, we stumbled across ‘Mercat de Sant Josep de la boqueria’; a buzzing, busy market bursting full of local, varied and colourful produce.
We couldn’t resist picking up a pot of freshly cut pineapple and coconut flesh as ‘pudding’.
Day 2 began with a 3 mile walk to the quieter and more traditional end of the city, in search of the famous ‘Baci D’Angelo’ – I couldn’t go to Barcelona without visiting the only 100% gluten free bakery on offer! Now clearly, my research lacked a few essential pieces of information, like whether the shop was actually still open or not – so full of excitement and ready to gorge on gluten free croissants, the (gluten eating) husband and I strolled up to… a building site! It seems Baci D’Angelo have closed their shop and taken to selling purely online – that’ll teach me!
‘Il Piccolo Focone’ filled me with confidence straight away, boasting an eye-catching ‘sense gluten’ sticker on their window and displaying the recent award they had won for their commitment to providing high-quality, coeliac friendly food.
As soon as I opened the menu I knew I needed 3 things: gluten free beer, gluten free batter and (hopefully!) an amazing gluten free pizza – thankfully they didn’t disappoint!
The calamari was crispy, soft and not at all floury or chewy – utterly delicious, but the main event was the pizza! It looked, smelled and tasted like ‘real dough’ and quickly transported me back to those good old ‘pre-diagnosis’ days – the best bit being the bouncy, smooth dough (and not needing a steak knife to cut through it, even when it got cold!).
Day 3 meant lunch at ‘Copasetic’, highly recommended by our hotel for being, not only coeliac friendly, but also committed to using sustainable and organic ingredients – sounded perfect!
The clean, modern interior and the promise of an organic steak burger with freshly made gluten-free sesame bun were enough to win me over! When it arrived the burger was huge! The buttery jacket potato accompaniment was largely ignored in favour of the juicy burger with zingy pickled beetroot and mustard mayo – it was so refreshing to have a ‘different’ burger, free from the usual ketchup and gherkins! The bun was squidgy and, most importantly, didn’t fall apart at first bite!
Last stop on our gluten free, whistle-stop tour of Barcelona was ‘La Lluna’ a ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ restaurant just off ‘La Rambla’, proudly serving a 90% gluten-free menu to locals and tourists alike.
I devoured a goats cheese crumble salad, monkfish and potato stew and a baked vanilla, strawberry and mango cheesecake – the best thing about the heavily gluten free menu? I was able to to snaffle tastes of all of the husband’s dishes too!
Overall I was really impressed by the options available to me in Barcelona and ended up travelling home (a few pounds heavier!) with a bag full of crumbled, uneaten rice cakes and some squished, neglected nakd bars – delicioso!