Exploring the local Cuisine of Spain

Traveling to Spain with Food Allergies

Spain history, food, and amazing architecture. From the land-locked city of Madrid to Barcelona a major cruise port, and on the ocean to the many small towns that make up Spain.


Navigating Spain with Food Allergies

In the major cities you will find more local speaking English but having a food allergy chef card is key to make sure everything is being understood.


Food Labeling Laws in Spain

If you can bring in the legal laws around it, they fall under the similar laws as other EU countries.


What can you not bring into Spain?

If you can bring in the legal laws around it, they fall under the similar laws as other EU countries.


Importation guidelines

If you can bring in the legal laws around it, they fall under the similar laws as other EU countries.


Exploring the local Cuisine of Spain


Spain cooks with a lot of olive oil but it is best to double check incase they are using something else with soy or peanut oil added. Paella can come in a variety of versions but typically it includes short grained rice, varieties of green beans, rabbit, chicken, sometimes duck, and garrofó (a variety of lima or butter bean), cooked in olive oil and chicken broth. Sometimes there is wheat four in the kitchen being used for other varieties, shellfish can be found in the seafood version. If you are vegetarian then you need to request a vegetarian paella.

enjoying paella with food allergies in Spain

Seafood will be widely used in Barcelona and coastal towns so highly recommend having your chef card available if seafood or fish is an allergy for you.

Tapas are popular all around Spain and often don’t have the ingredients listed on the menu so just remember to ask questions as they will be a bit more unknown. At some restaurants, the tapas will be more buffet style and others will be brought to your table.

Croquettes are popular tapas dish but make sure you get them made to order, so much better warm. Croquettes are fried in bechamel sauce and typically contain seafood, fish, ground meat, vegetables, etc. 

tapas at outside cafe in spain

Potato is also a popular ingredient in Spain cuisine, which can be great depending on your allergies. From the Spanish omelet to Trinxat to Tortilla de patata and then the popular simple dish of Patatas a la riojana made of potatoes, garlic, sliced chorizo, onions, and pimenton paprika.  It is also served with bread on the side too. 

Patatas Bravas is a popular tapas dish and late night snack for many consisting of potato cubes, spicy tomato sauce, onions, garlic, chili powder, and paprika.

Churros are a popular dessert but can also be found as a snack or even breakfast. They do typically contain gluten through the fried dough and then rolled in cinnamon and sugar and then warm chocolate to dip in.

Tarta de Santiago is a cake dessert from Galicia but will be found all throughout Spain made with almond flour, sugar and eggs typically served with coffee and not overly sweet. This is naturally gluten free but double checking about cross contamination would be the concern here or if they added any other ingredients.

Crema Catalina is very similar to creme brulee and contain milk, citrus peel, cinnamon, and eggs yolks. Which means it is great for many allergies like gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, soy, etc. 

cream catalina dessert in spain

Food Allergies in Spain

You will find some great dishes that are naturally gluten-free. Peanuts are not widely used in dishes throughout Spain but some restaurants can use peanut oil so always double check. Tree nuts will be found in more dishes and often more hidden in items like sauces.Pine nuts and almonds are widely used but there are a good variety of nut free main dishes and desserts like crema catalina.

For those with a dairy allergy be cautious of anything with garlic mayonnaise as they tend to use milk or eggs depending on the location so always ask. Croquettes are popular but the bechamel sauce typically contains milk unless you find yourself somewhere that offers bechamel-free croquetas. 

Seafood allergies will most likely struggle the most with lots of dishes containing seafood, especially if you are in coastal towns. There are still other options, but typically seafood will be on the premises, and vegan restaurants may supply more options without seafood in the kitchen.


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