The idea of gluten free self catering in Spain may be daunting, but luckily, they’ve got one of the most convenient supermarkets in Europe, thanks to the incredible range of gluten free food in Mercadona!
Doing a gluten free food shop at home, in local familiar surroundings can be hard enough, especially when you’re first adjusting to the new dietary changes. Going on holiday is a whole different kettle of fish.
Luckily, there are hotels out there that can cater for you, and cruise lines have some fantastic provisions for dietary requirements (see my blogs on eating gluten free on P&O Cruise, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises – Marella coming soon!)
What if you want to go self catering? Cooking for yourself certainly means you are in complete control of what you put in your body, and cooking fresh, clean meals from scratch cuts out any nasty additives. But sometimes you just want a pizza, or some oven chips, or a cold beer by the pool.
Well, if you’re trying to stay gluten free whilst self-catering in Spain, national supermarket Mercadona is definitely the easiest way to go. What started as a small family-run butcher shop in Valencia is now a national chain, with 1588 stores across the country.
Luckily for us, a member of the founding family was diagnosed with coeliac disease some time ago, which has led to Mercadona become a leading source of gluten free products, offering over 850 products for coeliacs & wheat intolerant individuals.
Where in the UK you may be reliant on finding a ‘free from’ section in the supermarket and label reading your way around the store, Mercadona makes it incredibly simple to find what you can eat. Everything is in normal sections, but everything in Hacendado (their own brand) packaging has a very easy to find blue and red roundel proclaiming “sin gluten” when it is gluten free.
Here is a bit of a round up of some key products that might be of interest and their prices, to help you get an idea of what your food shop budget should be.
Mercadona carries two own brand gluten free cereals, cornflakes and a kind of chocolatey cornflake. You’ll find both in the normal cereal section, but the packaging is pretty easy to spot.
- Copos de Chocolate Sin Gluten – €2.40
- Copos de Maiz Sin Gluten – €1.90
I saw a few different types of bread in Mercadona, but the one I used for toast was the Hacendado white sliced bread. It’s in a seethrough bag with green and white writing. This bread is also lactose free.Pan Blanco Sin Gluten -2.63
There is also a baguette in the Hacendado range, which you have to bake to finish off. Mercadona also stocks a brand called Beiker, which does some seeded sliced bread and bread rolls
- Hacendado Baguette Sin Gluten – 01.85
- Beiker Pan Multicereal Sin Gluten – 2.65
- Beiker Panecillos Sin Gluten – 2.40
Cakes, Biscuits & Crackers
Finding sweet treats in the biscuit aisle was pretty easy as well. The Beiker brand pops up again with some Oreo type biscuits called Discocrems, as well as as type of cake bar called Tronquito Rellenos.
Hacendado had a bag of magdelena (mini muffins), as well as a lemon sponge cake, some chocolate chip cookies and Maria biscuits (basically the bog standard dunk in your tea biscuit in Spain.) If you’re wanting something savoury, Hacendado do some rosemary cheese crackers and Beiker have some toast slices (I mean really solid canape type toast, not the sort you have with your morning cuppa).
- Beiker Tronquitos Rellenos €3.95
- Beiker Discocrem €1.50
- Hacendado Bizcochol Limon €2.90
- Hacendado Magdalena
- Hacendado Maria Sin Gluten €2.36
- Hacendado Cookies €1.89
- Hacendado Crackers con Romero €1.50
- Beiker Pan Tostado €2.60
Yoghurts & Milk
Basically every flavoured yoghurt that is gluten free is marked with the little roundel. They also have a lot of the Dairy/Lactose free yoghurts as well. They sell everything you could want from creme fraiche, to greek yoghurt, chocolate mousses, panna cotta to kids fruit yoghurts. Its pretty hard to go wrong here – just look for the magic symbol!
I drink normal cow milk, but if you’re looking for dairy free options they cater for that too. In terms of milk, most of it in Mercadona is cartoned UHT milk but is still usually near the chilled yoghurts section. I noticed soya, almond milk and coconut milk.
Cooking fresh is always best, but if you look in the freezer section once again it’s hard to go wrong. They have everything from oven chips, to turkey nuggets, to paella, to fish fingers. They even have kebab meat! There are some pizzas in the freezers section and the cured meats section – the flavours are ham and cheese or four cheese.
You’ll find some sweet treats in the freezers sections too! A lot of ice creams are gluten free, they have some cornetto type ice creams where the cone is pure chocolate rather than waffle. I even found gluten free churros!
- Frozen Ham & Cheese Pizza – €2.99
- GF Pizza Bases – €3.99 (pack of 2)
- Frozen French Fries – €1.15
- Turkey Nuggets – €2.00
- Cod Meatballs – €1.50
- Chocolate Ice Cream Cones – €2.45
Misc Grocery Cupboard
Seriously, I can’t stress this enough, Mercadona make it SO EASY. The ketchup is safe, you can find gravy and sauces, crisps are marked, there are about 6 types of gluten free pasta.
- Ketchup – €0.85
- Multicoloured GF Fusilli – €1.59
- GF Macarroni – €1.59
- GF Spaghetti – €1.59
I nearly forgot this section (what can I say, I’m normally a gin girl!). The range of gluten free beers impressed me in Spain mainly because I found something I’ve never come across before, gluten free and alcohol free beer! I mean, I wouldn’t drink it, but hey, there’s an option if you don’t drink alcohol. The gluten free beers we found in our local Mercadona were Puerto Dorado in cans and bottles, and bottles of Ambar. I know you can get gluten free San Miguel and Peroni in Spain though.
- Puerto Dorado GF Beer – €2.70 for 6 x 33cl cans, or €2.75 for 6 x 25cl bottles
- Ambar GF Beer – €5.10 for 6 x bottles
Skincare at Mercadona
Ok, I’m moving away from food because I need to preach the gospel of Hacendado skincare for a second. I have eczema and super dry skin, and the Mercadona creams are AMAZING. My favourites are the Urea (I found it takes away some of the redness from my skin) and the Olive Oil (really nice as after sun). The best thing is, they’re super cheap for how good they are. Apparently a load of Spanish models and celebrities swear by them. I can’t blame them. If you need a top up of moisturisers after being under the hot Spanish sun, pick some up just to try. I’ve got a bit of a hoard I’ve taken home over the years.
So that’s it – new stuff is coming out all the time in Spain so I’ll try and keep this updated if I find any new products or shops you really need to know about.
Have you done any gluten free self catering in Spain? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!