Idioma / Language: Spanish

Potes: Going for that gluten-free dessert I’ve been dreaming about for a couple of years!

After that meal in Leon, we’d start the real journey! Although we had already been travelling around Spain for a few days, the initial idea of the trip was to discover the north of Spain. Above all, the area of the Picos de Europa and the Basque Country. After the surprises of Torrejón el Rubio, the enjoyment of Salamanca and the “failure” of León, we were heading north. This time we were not going to discover any of the gluten-free restaurants in Potes. We already knew which one we wanted to go to! And also which dessert we wanted to have!

The drive from Leon was wonderful! As we drove into the mountains, the landscape became more and more beautiful. A winding road took us through valleys, fields, lakes, swamps and impressive mountains. After every turn we had a “oh, how beautiful” and a smile.

We were already enjoying ourselves before we arrived in Potes, a beautiful village in Cantabria, where we were going to enjoy eating and hiking even more!

We slept at the Parador Nacional de Fuente Dé, about 23 km from Potes. We left all our luggage and went back down to the village to get lost in its streets before dinner. On the main road after the bridge, if you go to Fuente Dé (or earlier, if you come from there) there is a fairly large car park where you can park.

Potes is one of those charming villages! Its narrow streets, the stone bridges over the river and the terraces and restaurants give it a quiet air – very holiday-like!

Even though Isa had been in 2017, we came back here on purpose! I wanted to try that wonderful dessert! But before the dessert, a series of magnificent dishes awaited us, too. We had reserved at the Cenador del Capitan in Calle Cervantes 3, in Potes. This is a restaurant that knows very well how to prepare gluten-free dishes. It also has a very wide and delicious offer.

When we arrived at the restaurant, they put us at one of the best tables they had. Near the window! From a somewhat elevated position, we could admire the village while enjoying the gluten-free food.

Both Isa and I love foie and pate! We start with a wild boar pâté with red wine jam. We had never tasted wild boar pâté and we fell in love with it… in fact we fell in love with everything we ate in that restaurant! The bread was freshly baked. Also, it was very well baked, as it was crispy on the outside and very tender on the inside.

There was nothing left on the table! It had a strong taste, with some stumbling that improved the texture even more. Just… amazing!

Then they brought us another of the star dishes from that dinner… A bowl of chorizo in cider! Wow! It was getting better and better… they left the bowl on the table and the smell wrapped us up. We almost levitated! We asked for another portion of bread to bathe in that red-stained cider. There were about 20 little pieces of chorizo bathing… when we finished with the bread and the chorizo, I had to hold off on drinking the casserole. It was an impressive second course! In fact, the next time we come back, I’m sure it’s not just the dessert I wanted to eat again…

We still had another dish before we got to dessert… this time they brought us one of the combination dishes that Isa likes best: pork loin with fried potatoes and egg!

This was a simple dish, but you could tell the meat was good… you should have seen our expression at every bite we ate. Our palate was super satisfied! Besides, the red wine we accompanied it with was also very tasty!

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As we finished the loin and rushed the wine glasses… came the question we most wanted to answer: “Dessert?”

“Canonigos!” we both answered at the same time. The waiter smiled and went to get them. It’s a soft dessert, very very good! Made of custard and baked meringue. It’s just an amazingly good dessert. Besides, the combination of the custard, quite liquid, and the meringue was perfect.

All the good stuff -especially if it’s a dessert- cannot last forever… after dinner, we walked back to the car to go back to the hotel.

The next day we woke up in the worst weather we expected to have… there was a fog so dense that we couldn’t see anything more than 10 feet away…

Unless the fog lifted, the option of climbing up El Cable to reach the viewpoint was immediately ruled out… it made no sense because the views of the valley were completely covered. In the post of Isa’s trip, you can see the views we missed…

Poor innocents… we thought that the fog would have lifted after breakfast… we went to the dining room and they already had gluten-free bread and muffins prepared for each of us. There was a buffet and, to avoid cross-contamination, we asked for a plate of sausages to be taken out separately. We had a very good breakfast too! It has to be said that the Network of Paradores Nacionales controls this issue very well. Although, unfortunately, sometimes they also fail… I’ll tell you later!

When we went out again, we saw that the fog was still there… besides, we were told that it didn’t look like it was going to go away soon… We went back to the hotel and asked what options were available… we also took the opportunity to order a gluten-free picnic.

They told us about the Brown Bear Monument and the magnificent views that could be seen there. You will find this monument on the Collado de Llesba. From Potes, you will go up by a road that gives vertigo. But it’s worth it. I, at least, enjoyed driving up there.

Unfortunately, the fog had invaded everything…

When we reached what we assumed was the parking lot, at the end of the road, we got out of the car. We had to hurry back to get warm. It was very cold. And you couldn’t see anything!

The road to the monument was already an adventure in itself. The adventure was completed with the search for the monument itself. I guess, on a clear day, from where we parked we must have seen the monument… that day we only heard the cows. We didn’t see them either… thanks to the navigator on the phone we found the right direction.

We had to be careful to walk in the right direction and at the same time not to step on any cow dung. It was full of them! Suddenly, a huge stone bear appeared in the fog. We have to go back to admire the landscape that guards and protects this monument! No fog, of course!

After a while admiring the Brown Bear Monument, we understood that the fog would not go away all day… we decided to go back to Potes, park and walk to Bermeo. We wanted to see the waterfalls of Retumbia. We arrived in Potes at lunchtime. We were in no hurry because we were taking the picnic that had been prepared for us at the Parador.

We started to walk along a paved road where, from time to time, we found a bench. We sat down on one of them to eat the gluten-free ham omelette sandwich they had prepared for us. In the bag they had also put a water, fruit and a can of nuts… lucky Isa always reads the ingredients! On the tin, it indicated that the nuts could contain gluten… You must always be on the alert!

I think we didn’t get to see the waterfalls at their best, as we weren’t going at a good pace. The track was so beautiful that we stopped at every step to take a picture. I would say that we stopped walking at the beginning of the waterfalls, when we saw the first waters.

We had been walking for almost 2 hours and we did not want to be late for our appointment with the Captain. We had booked to have dinner at the same restaurant as the day before.

They put us at another table overlooking the window. We were pretty clear on what we were going to order! For starters, a portion of that delicious wild boar pâté. With gluten-free bread, of course! Then we would order another of Isa’s favourite dishes: a boletus scramble with cheese. And for dessert… it couldn’t be any other! We’d order the one that had brought us back to Potes: Canónigos!

You can see the pictures of the trip here.



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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