Allergies and food intolerances are increasingly common. For the traveller with allergies, a source of concern when visiting a new town or city is always this: “what will I be able to eat, and where?”.
Spanish shops and supermarkets cater well to those with intolerances, particularly coeliac disease, and increasingly lactose intolerance.
Barcelona is renowned for its food and drink, and those with intolerances will be happy to hear that that Barcelona also caters very well for their needs.
Ca l’Estevet (Valldonzella, 46. T. 93 302 41 86) offers sumptuous traditional Catalan dishes adapted for people allergic to gluten, dairy or eggs.
Three specials are: bacallà a la llauna – pan-fried salt cod, the Café de Paris entrecote steak and Paella Parellada are three unbeatable options.
Il Piccolo Focone (Dos de Maig, 268. T. 93 450 24 52) serves up gluten-free pizzas. They offer 30 pizzas as well as fresh filled or dried pastas, risottos and tasty desserts.
Pizza doughs are made with cornmeal, buckwheat and potato starch. All the cured meats here are gluten-free so no need to skimp on toppings.
El Gat Blau (Consell de Cent, 139) is also a safe option. Chef Pere Carrió works with local organic produce, and offers fairly- priced dishes such as a confit of octopus with bacon and rosemary, free of gluten, dairy and egg.
4 Capellans, the restaurant at the Hotel Barcelona Catedral (Capellans, 4) is more a fine dining option, though surprisingly for a four-star hotel, the menu is excellent value for money, with few of the main dishes priced above 10€, and nearly all can be adapted to be allergy-friendly.
As an allergic reaction can trigger anaphylactic shock, shops that cater to people with allergies have to know what they are playing at. Here are some of the best choices.
La Botteghina (Clos de Sant Francesc, 55. T. 93 222 95 52): is divided into three areas: one for organic products, one dairy- free and one gluten-free, with a point where all three areas intersect.
Jo També Sóc Al•lèrgic (Vilamarí, 26. T. 93 426 49 48), here everything has a personal touch as the owner’s son was diagnosed with multiple allergies to milk protein, eggs, seafood and nuts at a young age. The experience of raising him left his parents with a store of expert knowledge.
Everything is organised by allergy, and the shop is great fun for kids: there are chocolate bars and chocolate spreads without the ominous warning, ‘may contain traces of nuts’, dairy-free ice cream, and gluten-free pizza and pastries.
Dietètica Glòria (Entença, 175. T. 93 329 92 51) is another family business. Set-up as a replica of a conventional supermarket but with products for allergy sufferers, 80% of their products are aimed at customers with coeliac disease, but you’ll find a little of everything.
Granja Viader (Xuclà, 4-6), here the lactose-intolerant can sample the thick, Spanish-style hot chocolate, made only with water, cocoa, chocolate and cinnamon. It also has plenty of coeliac-friendly edibiles.
Syngluten (Galileu, 115) make delicious gluten-free ‘churros con chocolate’. These can be prepared lactose-free too.
Celiadictos (La Pobla de Lillet, 5. T. 93 409 31 31), is dedicated to gluten free breads. Their baked goods also satisfy dairy intolerances, as none contain milk.