Who are you and where are you?
My name is Lauren Attwood and I am a coeliac. I hail from the United Kingdom but I’ve always thought I have a bit of every culture inside me, which is surprising due to my pasty complexion. Since childhood I have been fascinated with linguistics and am striving to venture into the publishing industry. For the moment, my Spanish and Media degree has me residing in Madrid, which is a wondrous city full of architectural as well as culinary marvels.
Tell me about your relationship with gluten..
I was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2008 alongside my mother. My lucky sister escaped that side of the gene pool. My mother and I, however, are die hard glutenphobes. We have adapted to the lifestyle pretty easily and as far as Madrid goes, it is helping leaps and bounds!
Why should gluten free travellers visit your town?
Spain has the stigma of being a poor country in economic downfall, with cuts, problems and protesters left, right and centre. Although the latter may be true, Madrid provides excellent options for its coeliac population, and that includes me! Upon my arrival last September, I have discovered a lot of amazing places. By far the best has to be an entirely gluten free bakery called Celicioso located just off Gran Via Metro. Because everything is gluten free, you can take your pick from whatever takes your fancy over the counter: cookies, cheesecakes and lots of cupcakes!
Tell me something fun about your town..
A few streets down, there is a pizza restaurant called Pizza Sana. They are well aware of gluten intolerance as well as dairy and veggie needs too. It’s quite hard to spot, but once you find it you won’t forget it.Â I managed to find a flat just outside the bustling center and am living in a more quiet area. But my favourite thing about where I live is the 2 storey supermarket named Mercadona just across the street. It’s a gluten free haven if I ever did see one. If a product is gluten free, it’s labelled on the front with “sin gluten”. For the more cautious coeliacs who like to check tins of fruit and orange juice cartons, you’ll be very satisfied.
Where is your favourite place to eat out in your town and why?
Along with all the big branded supermarkets on board with coelic awareness, there are a few chains of restaurants and takeaways too: Starbucks offers gluten free brownies, Telepizza (like dominoes) has 4 gluten free pizzas to choose from, McDonalds has gluten free buns and VIPS and Ginos have gluten free menus in all of their restaurants.
I can’t begin to describe how much I’ve discovered during my time in Madrid, which is sadly coming to a close this June. Needless to say I will be returning a lot in the future to keep up to date with this great city and with every visit there is no doubt I will be finding more of what Madrid has to offer coeliacs.
Do you live in Madrid or have you travelled there? Where is your favourite place to eat gluten free?