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Eating well on the Camino Frances

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A difficult question because the answer is so subjective - what does "well" mean to you? - but here are my comments anyway. If you want to do your own cooking most grocery stores have a good supply of fresh vegetable, eggs, meat and always dried foods like rice, lentils, pasta etc as well as cans of fish and other meats.
Many(but not all) albergues have basic cooking facilities including pots and pans and dishes. When a kitchen is available it's pretty easy to cook up a big stir fry or pasta dish with lots of vegetables and meat if you wish. Why not invite some others to pitch in with the food and have a bit of a communal dish? Some of those turn out great in my experience.
Usually the menu del dia is reasonably priced and, if not gourmet, at least very acceptable.There are usually options but it's common to have chicken (comes with french fries) , a big mixed salad and yogurt or fresh fruit for dessert. There's frequently pork and lamb as well. It's a bit harder if you're a vegetarian since most "vegetable" dishes in Spain have a meat base. But lots of vegetarians make out just fine on the camino.
I'm not a vegetarian so a typical day for me would go something like this.
Before leaving albergue - a small yogurt or piece of cheese purchased the night before.
Breakfast - being a North American, there's no way a sweet roll of any kind works for me in the morning. So I grab a cafe con leche as soon as there's one available and start walking and then have eggs and toast (pan tostado) with a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice after a couple of hours (available in essentially any bar). I buy bread, cheese or a small tin of tuna for lunch and a tomato or cucumber, some olives and a fresh apple or other fruit for lunch on the road. The evening meal is either cooked in the albergue or tapas (egg tortilla and shell fish) in a bar since I don't like eating late as is typical in Spain and other European countries. Often the menu del dia is served earlier than regular restaurant food though. I prefer to walk in the spring and fresh food is abundant. You just have to make the effort to get it. Also there are lots of nuts and dried fruits.
I find I eat a lot of quite tasty food although, granted, I'm not that fussy when I'm tired - or maybe not anytime! I usually lose weight on the camino in spite of eating lots of cheese and fried chicken.
Oh yes - and many people sustain themselves on chocolate. I've never seen so much chocolate consumed in any other place I've ever been!
Buen camino. Cecelia (Canada)
On the Camino Frances there is no shortage of restaurants and bars offering Menus of the Dia. Many restaurants also offer A La Carte menus. Whilst there are issues of the availability of places for lunch on some other routes this is not a problem on the Camino Frances. Also on the Via de la Plata for example in more remote places restaurants or dining rooms may not open until 9pm or 9.30pm this is not the case on the Camino Frances where a lot of places have adjusted to the needs of pilgrims.

A word of caution however if you intend to cook for yourself. Even though albergues may have well appointed kitchens such as those in Galicia there is no guarantee that there will be pots and pans. Those I know who cooked for themselves all along the route took there own lightweight utensils.


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Some of the best meals I had were...
*Gaudi restaurant in Astorga (really delicious and well priced pilgrim's menu)
*delicious meal at a popular restaurant in Carrion de Conde--I regret I do not know the name but it was packed and wonderful
*Dinner at the albergue in Ruitelan
*Manolo restaurant in Santiago
When I walked the Camino last fall I had no trouble eating very well. First, many of the alberques offer an evening meal, I took advantage of that whenever it was available and without exception the meals were excellent. A few alberques also offered a breakfast, take advantage of that also as Spain is somwhat deficient in early opening restaurants that offer breakfast. I made a habit of buying yogurt, cheese and some bread and fruit the night before and having that for breakfast before I started walking for the day. Generally you will run across a cafe or bar that serves coffee and fresh croissants or buns by mid morning. I made my own lunch ( cheese, fresh bread, cold meats etc) and dinner was either in the Alberque or the menu del dia in a local restaurant.

The spanish take their food seriously, you will have no problem eating well, take some time to sample local specialities ( go to a pulperia for octopus) when you get to different areas. A good guide book will offer tips of what to sample when you are passing through.
I also found there were a lot of untended apple trees along the route, never far from a fresh apple ( the filched ones have a particularly fine taste!!)

Have fun, and bon appetit!

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When I was walking, I found that a small breakfast and a menu del dia were usually all I wanted to eat. Every so often I had a menu del dia in the evening as well as lunchtime. Sometimes a bocadillo. I lost a bit of weight, but found there were more than enough calories in this for 1000plus kms. You will eat well in Spain,

The 'menu del peregrino' shared with Spanish people on the road : delicious!!!

And : The best ham in the world.
So don't miss this - bocadillo al jamon, lomo de cerdo etc
In Carron de los Condes the menu offered to us was:-
(copied verbatim from the menu)
Langoustines followed by roast sucking pig,
Muffled Spuid
Priest fashion salmon
Grilled goldenfinch
Roast sucking Damb
Young Bull Steak
Grilled Tenderbin
Veal jam & cheese
Suaking demb chops
Mujjled Godfish
and a very nice meal it was.
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
From what I remember travelling through Spain is that I was served the menu del dia only for lunch and not in the evenings ( then again I mostly went for tapas or raciones in the eves). I don't see myself eating a heavy meal around two in afternoon and then have to walk another hour with a full stomach to find an albergue. In that case I would prefer a bocadillo of some sort and leave the " warm meal " for the nights.
So am I correct to think that set menus are only served at lunchtime? Or do the local restaurateurs on the camino serve menu del dia too in the evening? From what I read in Andy's post it is possible?

I walked the Levante from Valencia which joins the VDLP at Zamora.

I generally found that it was possible to eat menu in the evening if I wanted, bearing in mind that it might not be available until 9.30 or 10pm. There were some regions where all the bars had tapas all the time; other regions where tapas was not served.

I suspect things are different on the Camino Frances,

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SabineP said:
Or do the local restaurateurs on the camino serve menu del dia too in the evening?
You will find the Menu del día both at lunchtime and in the evening. It is usually very nutricious - apart from the invariable portion of chips (fine once in a while, but after more than 30 days of the same thing, it's awful). Try an à la carte menu once in a while. They are more often local specialities and make a change from the Pilgrim Menu. Anne
Buy an onion, some garlic, a tomato, and a filet of fish.

Heat some olive oil.
Put in the onion and fry until transparent.
Put in the garlic and fry just until heated.
Add the chopped tomato and a few pinches of salt.

Bring to a boil, then simmer until the veggies are soft.

Put your fish in this sauce, and poach for 5 minutes.
Serve with green salad and fresh bread.

Anniesantiago said:
Buy an onion, some garlic, a tomato, and a filet of fish.

Heat some olive oil.
Put in the onion and fry until transparent.
Put in the garlic and fry just until heated.
Add the chopped tomato and a few pinches of salt.

Bring to a boil, then simmer until the veggies are soft.

Put your fish in this sauce, and poach for 5 minutes.
Serve with green salad and fresh bread.


Sounds like a royal feast!
Don't forget fruit for during the day.
Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading Abbey to Southampton, 110 kms
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Is it worthwhile to pack a small can opener? I'll be on a micro-budget during my camino & expect to cook my meals fairly often. For convenience foods, tins of tuna was mentioned & soup is my friend.

Also, is peanut butter readily available in supermarkets? Silly question perhaps, but I live off the stuff for my breakfast on the go (protein packed!).

The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
squeezefrog said:
Is it worthwhile to pack a small can opener? Rebecca
I didn't have a can opener, but I found that most of the cans I wanted to use had the kind of pull-tab on them that made a can-opener unnecessary. The trouble with anything 'small' like a can opener, is that all those 'small' things add up, and before you know it, you are carrying an extra kilogram or two that you would prefer to do without when you are on the trail.
squeezefrog said:
...is peanut butter readily available in supermarkets?

Dear Squeezefrog,

Peanut butter is NOT readily available in Spain.
From my experience of living in Spain for extended periods, and loving peanut butter myself, the only place I could find it was in large supermarkets of the chains like Carrefour, Consum, Lidl, etc...
Yet, not every store carries it. It seems like it's only available in areas where there is a lot of tourists. Most Spaniards don't even know it exists.

Bon appétit,

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