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Feb 8, 2014 05:52 PM

Allergy-friendly Spanish food

Considering studying abroad in Barcelona this summer and have food allergies (wheat, dairy, soy, I can have butter). Any suggestions for restaurants or dishes to look for?

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  1. should be easy enough to cope: certainly don't let it stop you from going!!

    1. You'll love the 'escalivada' with tuna.



      Sepia con all i oli (grilled cuttlefish with garlic mayonnaise)

      Tortilla de patata (egg, fried potato, onion)

      1. I've lived in Spain for 10 years and my son has some serious food allergies (egg, mustard). I can say that there is a lot more awareness and understanding now than there was before. One good thing is that food here tends to not be processed, so people generally have a clear idea of what the ingredients were and waiters can run back to the kitchen to ask, to be sure. If you always err on the side of caution and let people know ahead of time when you can, you should be fine.

        I recommend getting a sense of what's off limits and dishes where your forbidden ingredients could be lurking.

        I would say anything deep fried (frito, a la romana, empanada) would be out for you, because of the wheat allergy. The oil would be contaminated, even if you order something like tortillitas de camerón, which are made with garbanzo flour instead of wheat.

        I'd always ask about stews, soups, and bean dishes, because some may use a little flour for thickening--though it's just as likely a big chunk of fatback is doing that job.

        Dessert will also be tough. The only one that comes to mind that you could order would be tocino del cielo--little custardy squares that are pure egg and sugar. Also mazapanes and turrones--but you probably won't see those in the summer (they are Christmas treats).

        I'm sure Barcelona, like Madrid, has some bakeries that cater to people with Celiac disease and that some of their pastries would be non-dairy, as well.

        A lot of bar food would be good for you, because it tends to just include a few ingredients and it's apparent what they are.

        Seafood and dairy don't mix here at all, so as long as it isn't breaded, fried, or dusted with flour, you should be good. Also marisquerías specialize in simply prepared, unadulterated critters from the sea: berberechos (cockles), ostras (oysters), nécora/centollo/buey de mar (crab), percebes (goose barnacles), mejillones (mussels), navajas (razor clams), etc.

        1. Thanks all for the helpful tips!

          1. write down in Spanish what your allergies are and the food items you cannot eat. Show this to the waiters if needed.