I thought I would share with you my experiences of eating gluten and dairy free in Madrid. Going on holiday should be a fun time you look forward to but if you have coeliac or food intolerances it raises the questions of ‘will there be something I can eat and I will I be unintentionally glutened?’
I can report I have had breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the last five days and rather than suffer from any gluten symptoms instead I have sampled what I believe to be some of the best gluten and dairy free food on this planet.
Incase any of you visit Madrid, and to remind me the next time I go, I’ve documented below where I stayed and the restaurants I dined in.
I stayed at the Sheraton MiraSierra Suite Hotel in the North of Madrid located between the airport and the centre of town. I sent them an e-mail after I booked and enquired what they would have available for breakfast for people with coeliac and dairy intolerance. I wasn’t expecting much as the last hotel I stayed in after a concert in Glasgow didn’t understand gluten and dairy free at all and tried to serve me vegetarian sausage containing breadcrumbs!
I received an e-mail back saying there would be a large number of items available to me at breakfast and they also had suitable lunch and dinners if I decided I would like to eat in the hotel. All I can say is that they weren’t lying when they said I had a large choice.
Every morning they brought me a plate that consisted of two types of bread and two different sweet treats. The gluten free bread had been warmed in the oven and was lovely and crisp on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside, you would never have known it was gluten and dairy free.
A lot of the time I get gluten free bread I end up having to eat it dry due to my dairy intolerance. This hotel had dairy free spread, honey and tomato sauce and what was so great about it was they all came in individual portion sealed jars so there was no risk of cross contamination.
I was then offered a good choice of hot drinks that were dairy free. Every morning I was brought my own jug of hot frothed soya milk, they even made me a dairy free hot chocolate. The sweet treats each morning consisted of a lighter than light gluten and dairy free chocolate sponge and a GF DF palmera (a croissant type pastry rolled into two scrolls that are joined together in a heart shape and dipped in dark chocolate). They were both amazing and I hadn’t had a sweet pastry like this since my diagnosis 18 months ago.
The breakfast buffet also offered a large selection of naturally gluten and dairy free items including boiled eggs, sausage, ham, cold meats and fruit.
I’ll definitely stay at the hotel again as the staff were amazing and really understood the importance of me not eating gluten and dairy. They also made a note against my room number so they brought me the gluten and dairy free breakfast items and soya milk every morning without me having to ask.
Find the hotel at:
The Gluten Free Bakery
Yes you read it right there is a gluten free bakery in Madrid, in fact there are three. I visited Celicioso at Gran Via. The bakery only produces gluten free items and also has some dairy free things as well. I was super excited at the thought of being able to go into a bakery and buy a homemade cake that was free of gluten and dairy. Over the course of the holiday I had a piece of banana bread, carrot loaf, a peanut butter cookie and a piece of chocolate brownie topped with crushed raspberries.
The visit to this bakery was a highly anticipated event and I can say it didn’t disappoint. The cakes were lovely and moist and also enjoyed by non-coeliacs. It would be amazing to open a coeliac bakery like this in Edinburgh.
Check out the bakery at:
A wide variety of gluten free food is available in the supermarkets in Madrid with breads, crackers, sweet treats and pasta all on offer at reasonable prices. Mercadona has the best choice
I really wanted to try and eat traditional Spanish food on holiday and it was easy to do as lot of their dishes are naturally gluten and dairy free. El Arrozal takes this to another level though. It’s a traditional family run restaurant just off Plaza Mayor near the centre of Madrid. Everything on the menu with the exception of a couple of the desserts is gluten free and the vast majority of the items are also dairy free. The owners son has coeliac so everyone is completely clued up on the importance of a gluten free diet for coeliacs.
We were seated and immediately served with the best gluten free baguette I have ever tasted, everything about it was perfect. We shared starters of egg, asparagus and shrimp and a simple tuna and roast red pepper salad followed by an amazing paella.
Check them out at: http://elarrozal.com/Carta.htm
We had a beautiful simple lunch in Bar Lambuzo which is run by an Andalusian family and offers a wide range of coeliac and dairy free tapas. I opted for chorizo and a potato salad with egg and mackerel.
The American Diner
We arrived late on the first night and rather than go into central Madrid we popped into a shopping centre down the road from the hotel. Rather than go for the traditional Spanish experience we ended up in an American diner called Tommy Mel’s as they had a gluten free sign outside.
As they specialised in burgers I expected the usual gluten free burger which in a lot of places means removing the bun! I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was given a large gluten free menu which included burgers, sandwiches etc.
I went for the ‘Juicy Burger’ and was able to remove the cheese as the burgers are freshly made to order. The burger and bowl of fries both arrived with a gluten free flag sticking out the top, I loved this as it meant there was no confusion with the non-coeliac burger which looked identical.
The bun tasted great and wasn’t in the slightest bit dry. A great choice for coeliacs and all dishes were easily customised to make them dairy free.
The Traditional Segovian Experience
We visited the small village of Segovia for the day and I was surprised that even out of town gluten free food was readily available. We went to El Bernadino and ordered the Segovian traditional dinner of roast pig which was served with a gluten free bread basket for me. Simple but beautiful.
Find the Spanish coeliac dining card here:
Had a great gluten and/or dairy free travel experience share it with me in the comments below or at email@example.com