Gran Canaria: an allergic reaction in one of the gluten-free restaurants in paradise!
October. A strange date to go on vacation. But with a positive side: less tourists. What destination to choose? The truth is that we did not have too many doubts, we wanted to go to the Canary Islands. While on the peninsula it was almost snowing, there you find 25°C and better weather forecast than in summer!
Specifically we chose Gran Canaria, because we were there few years ago, but we almost did not remember.
We stayed in the hotel Riu Palace Meloneras, in the south, the most touristy area and where the weather is best. We had never been to a hotel of that chain, but we had read that they are quite good for coeliacs. In particular we had read good reviews of this one, so we went there.
Tip: normally on the Canary Islands, you will find an incredible weather in the south and quite bad in the north. The differences can be really surprising, so I advise you to go south, but take warm clothes to visit the north.
Once we got there everything reminded us of our time in Mauritius last year. These islands are a little paradise, with the advantage that you do not have the barrier language as you are still in Spain!
We had booked our hotel at half board, to be able to taste restaurants around the island. We organized every day the same way: breakfast in the hotel, enjoy the pool in the morning, try one of the gluten free restaurants in Gran Canaria for lunch, visit some nice place in the afternoon and take dinner at the hotel.
Breakfast and dinner were organized in a similar way. There was a buffet and several areas where they made your meal upon order. From the beginning, the maitre and the waiters seemed very well trained about coeliac disease. You already know how safe you feel in this situation.
Also, for breakfast there was a corner with gluten free stuff. And the best: a gluten free toaster! We had never been to a hotel with a separate toaster… So I used to make some toast (there were three different types of bread to choose from) with Nutella or with butter and jam. And then I picked fruit, sausage, cheese… Another thing that I loved was that they had juices and natural smoothies that were delicious.
After enjoying a delicious gluten free breakfast and spending the morning floating in the pool it was time to look for a gluten free restaurant to eat. To find it, we used the information from “500.000 establecimientos sin gluten” and the list offered by the Local Coeliac Association. The first day we decided for one that was relatively close to our hotel: La Proa – Casa Reyes on Calle Mar Blanco, S / N of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. We called to reserve and to ask about their gluten-free meals, they told us there was no problem. They did not have a special menu, but they could adapt almost anything, as they have a lot of fish and seafood.
For starters we ordered some potatoes with “Mojo Picón”, which could not be missing. “Mojo Picón” is a typical sauce that it is usually gluten free. They use it a lot there. So we always ordered some, because it is very good! We also ordered some prawns on the grill and a squid, also grilled. If I had to highlight one dish of this trip, it would be the potatoes with “mojo picón”. A waiter from the hotel told me: when you try “Mojo Picón” you can not stop eating it. He was right.
They put me a gluten free bread that was very good. Also, it was from a gluten free bakery of the island, so even better. In fact we took the name just in case we’d have some time left to go finding it: “Panadería Mis Hijos Sin Gluen” at Calle Granados 43, in Ingenio. We finally didn’t have time to go there, but the reviews of this gluten free bakery are very good. My main course was a chicken skewer and pork sirloin, which I also loved, although I ended up really full…
Unfortunately, this time we did not have room for dessert.
That day we went to the area of the Guayadeque cliff and Agüimes, in the eastern part of the island. If you go to Gran Canaria, it is best to rent a car and move around through the small roads! The landscapes are awesome. To finish with the day we went back down to see the sunset in the dunes of Maspalomas. The truth is that Gran Canaria is an island of contrasts, after seeing the most volcanic area in the center, it is even more surprising to see that great stretch of sand at the south. It’s really beautiful.
The next day we went to the restaurant that I really wanted to try: Ca Miguel on Calle Alcalá Galiano 17 in Arinaga. Guess why? It was all gluten free! Like our beloved restaurant in Alcalá de Henares: Más Que Bocados.
The menu was quite varied, so we decided to order everything to share. We ordered: fried pork meat (very soft and very tasty, because it was marinated); fried octopus, which was one of their specialties. Besides, we had never eaten octopus cooked that way. It was delicious!; and croquettes. I do not know if the same thing happens to you, but every time I see gluten-free croquettes in a menu, I already know what I will order! The gluten free bread they served was also very good.
It was all delicious and we enjoyed the food very much. Unfortunately when we were finishing, I started to feel bad. As Santi has told in other posts, I am allergic to gluten, I am not celiac (gluten intolerant). So I did not run to the bathroom, but I felt how my eyelids began to swell. Immediately, I pricked adrenaline injection and luckily the symptoms didn’t increase. We really do not have very clear idea of what happened… neither if it was the food… or if it was something else, since there was no cross contamination because everything was supposed to be gluten free… besides they showed us the ingredients of everything and it all seemed to be right. But hey, as much as we try to avoid it, you can not control everything. Sometimes things like that happen and the important thing is to be prepared.
After poking my adrenaline, I felt better, so we did not let that ruin our plans and we went to the north. That day we went to see the natural pools of Galdar and the cliffs of Agaete. Also very beautiful. In Agaete there was a very famous rock formation: they call it “the finger of God”. Unfortunately, there is only one piece left, as it was destroyed by a storm a few years ago. After that, we went back to the hotel to rest. I had to recover for the following days.
You can see the pictures of the trip here.
BY CLICKING ON THE MAP OF GLUTEN FREE RESTAURANTS YOU FILL SEE ALL RESTAURANTS WE DESCRIBED IN THIS POST LOCATED IN THE MAP OF GLUTEN-FREE PLACES:
AND HERE WE LEAVE THE CELIAC TRAVEL CARD IN SPANISH:
P.S.: Please keep in mind that in this blog I share my trips, anecdotes and experiences about gluten free travel around the world. It is possible that, in any of my trips, I go to some restaurant not trained by the associations where the risk of being contaminated with gluten exists. I kindly ask you to also take into account that the list of references can change. Please, always double check before eating in the restaurants we recommend. Thank you very much!
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