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Question about food

Camino Badges
Camino(s) past & future
planning Camino Frances fall (2019)
Hello all... I've been following this forum for several months now, learning a lot along the way. I'll be walking my first Camino beginning in mid-September and will appreciate some recent, experienced input regarding the standard food available along the Camino Frances... breakfast, lunch, and dinner... pilgrim meals, etc. Though I am mostly vegetarian, I do eat fish. I haven't had any pork, chicken or beef in many years. I don't eat much cheese or eggs. That said, understanding that my preferred diet is a bit challenging for the Frances, I want to introduce the most common foods to my diet now so my body is used to them by the time I fly to Biarritz. I've read some threads about availability of veggie meals along the way, and found some posts about food that are several years old; just nothing recent. I've just decided to "go with the flow" so want to know what's simple to expect in terms of food types, variety, etc. Any shares here will be much appreciated, including links to other posts I may have missed.
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Restaurants' pilgrims meals tend to have meat and fries as a main course. Meat very often means pork. That said, it's usually possible to order a predominantly vegetable dish. (e.g. if you order garbanzo or lentil dishes, they often will have some sausage or bacon in them but the bulk of the dish is vegetable). For a flexitarian diet, I guess it wouldn't pose a problem.

If you want to get a healthier, more balanced diet, the best thing is to use Albergue kitchens to cook for yourself as often as possible, using ingredients from local stores and supermarkets, which have plenty of veg. and fruit to support a vegetable based diet.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
According to the website The Nomadic Vegan

"Many bars and cafés in small towns and villages do not have the capacity to cook fresh, homemade food in large quantities. So instead, they serve pre-prepared dishes. These are easy to spot, as the bars and cafés all have the same cardboard cutout signs outside advertising the same paella, pizza and pasta dishes. The pre-made pizza and pasta dishes are never vegan. And, since they are not made to order, it’s not possible to veganize them. The selection of paellas, however, is made by a company called Paellador and always includes a paella de verduras (vegetable paella) that is totally vegan. It’s not as good as homemade paella, of course, but it’s still pretty tasty! The paella de verduras from Paellador is widely available all along the Camino de Santiago and is a good fall-back vegan option if you can’t find anything else"

 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
You will have no problems in locating preferred foods. I have met many 100% vegan and semi vegan pilgrims. None ever mentioned issues with diet. Also, all along the Frances there are supermarkets, smaller shoppes etc from which you can purchase your food and stick to your preferred diet. Eating at the cafes and restaurants is nice, but as you walk you will want variety away from that and prepare your own meals when you can.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I have walked three longer camino routes as a vegetarian who is flexible to eat some fish. I never ate meat, or soup, which usually has meat stock. There is no meat or fish in the usual breakfasts in Spain. I have generally made my own lunch, to eat along the way. If you do not fancy cheese, fruit and vegetables can be bought raw and supplemented with beans, bread etc. I do not carry pre-cooked beans, so I don't know if it is practical to buy small tins of pre-cooked legumes. I usually chose cheese, because it is easy to carry and Spanish cheeses are very tasty. You can easily get most of your day's protein from tasty fish dishes, which are available everywhere as part of the menu peregrino. This is a three course meal, generally consisting of two main courses, a small desert, and wine (or water). I almost always chose a mixed salad (usually containing tuna) for a first course and a fish dish for a second. This is much more fish than I eat at home, but easily available and providing most of a day's protein. It is usually possible to either get your breakfast at an albergue or prepare your own. So you can keep your yogurt (a usual choice for dessert) from dinner to supplement your breakfast. I never had any problems following this diet in Spain, except for two occasions when I was treated to a small amount of ham as a garnish on my mixed salad, and simply sent it back to be removed. If you get sick of fish, you can order two first courses, which often offer vegetables. But one bean dish that I ordered was half ham, so be sure to state that you do not eat any meat before ordering. Plain pasta, with tomato sauce, is widely available as a first course. You should not have any problem at all eating your usual diet in Spain.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
(2020) Camino Frances
According to the website The Nomadic Vegan

"Many bars and cafés in small towns and villages do not have the capacity to cook fresh, homemade food in large quantities. So instead, they serve pre-prepared dishes. These are easy to spot, as the bars and cafés all have the same cardboard cutout signs outside advertising the same paella, pizza and pasta dishes. The pre-made pizza and pasta dishes are never vegan. And, since they are not made to order, it’s not possible to veganize them. The selection of paellas, however, is made by a company called Paellador and always includes a paella de verduras (vegetable paella) that is totally vegan. It’s not as good as homemade paella, of course, but it’s still pretty tasty! The paella de verduras from Paellador is widely available all along the Camino de Santiago and is a good fall-back vegan option if you can’t find anything else"

❤ 🥰
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Do remember that in Spain, carne (meat) means ONLY red meat, as in beef. For menu purposes, they do not consider pollo (chicken), pescado (fish), mariscos (shellfish), chorizo (sausage) or jamon (pork) to be carne / meat. Just be aware when asking for something.

If you say "sin carne" (without meat) you will very likely receive something with pork, chicken or fish added to it. LEarn how to say I am a vegetarian in Spanish... "soy un vegeteriano, no carne, pollo, etcetera, por favor..."

Then there is the challenge to avoid other non-carne food, like conejo (rabbit) etc.

A good Spanish - English dictionary is your friend. I like and recommend the iThink Diff line of language guide apps.

A good translator also helps. The Microsoft Translator app and the Google Translate app both allow you to scan something using your camera and receive an immediate translation. I use the Microsoft app with menus all the time.

Hope this helps.
 

benny aumala

Member
Camino(s) past & future
may-june 2016
may-june (2019)
In case of "SIN GLUTEIN" or anything, make a small label
with spanish translation of what you want to be without.
Question of glutein was never a problem, but to show the label
seemed to be a brilliant idea.
 

marylynn

Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-12-14-15-16-17-18-(19) CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
Preparing your own dinners in an albergue kitchen might be the best way to ensure that you eat the foods that you want and to get more vegetables. I consider myself a vegetarian, but I eat fish - I find the fish served in Spanish restaurants to be full of bones (hake??), but once in a while I can find salmon on the menu. For a pilgrims’ meal, I choose two vegetarian dishes both from the list in Choice #1 and they don’t mind at all - usually lentil soup and ensalada mixta.
Good luck!
 

Paul McAmino

Blue Ridge
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
Hello Tom, and welcome to the Forum.
There is some good advice above from people who have been there and done it.
I don’t eat meat, and had little difficulty finding things to eat. As mentioned above there is usually a fish course (often bacalao in red sauce), and usually a mixed salad on the menu of the day. Sometimes your salad may be garnished with (surprisingly) small eels, which you may or may not like.
When I tired of the menu options of patatas bravas or tortilla, I sometimes asked for what I actually wanted for breakfast, say, two fried eggs and toast, or cheese instead of jamón. If you ask politely, and at least try to make your request in Spanish, you may be surprised at how accommodating the small bar/restaurants can be.
I often carried some bread for quick sandwiches, but at times I wanted to sit down and have a beer or a coffee and a bocadillo. Again, asking for what you want may get you a tastier option. I remember a spectacularly delicious sandwich of cheese and pimientos (roasted piquillo peppers) on a fresh, crusty loaf of pan de Bierzo in Cacabelos. All I had to do was ask.

I hope you have a wonderful Camino.

All the best,
Paul
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Bocadillos- sandwiches in buns- are very popular and sometimes all that is available. The buns are often hard and the contents (for a vegetarian) only cheese, without butter or condiments. I broke a tooth on one towards the end of my last camino and had major dental work awaiting me when I got home. If you could dunk a really hard bocadillo in your coffee, you might save your money for your next camino.
 

Paul McAmino

Blue Ridge
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
Pimiento de Padron, actually. They are similar, and prepared in a similar way, but they are different!!!
What I requested, and got were roasted red piqillo peppers. You can see them peeking out of the sandwich ( it was so good I took a picture). Pimientos de Padron, another wonderful product can be gotten in season, pan seared and salted; they will put you in heaven. 5AE358CD-DCFE-4D37-AE62-1A3EEC88625D.jpeg
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
What I requested, and got were roasted red piqillo peppers. You can see them peeking out of the sandwich ( it was so good I took a picture). Pimientos de Padron, another wonderful product can be gotten in season, pan seared and salted; they will put you in heaven. View attachment 60909
That looks a lot tastier than what I got. I'll try requesting that with my cheese bocadillo the next time that I order one.
 

Paul McAmino

Blue Ridge
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
Apologies. I misread. Pimiento de Padron would not be likely in a sandwich!

I was in Puente de la Reina at harvest time, and they were being roasted all over town. A couple from Bilbao was there for their annual visit to buy them right out of the roaster!
No worries; it’s all good. I’d love to have a pile of Padron peppers with dinner tonight!
Another memorable meal was in O Pedrouzo: a ton of Padrons along with roasted potatoes with three kinds of dipping sauces—so good!
Cheers,
Paul
 

Juspassinthrough

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, May-June (2017)
Ingles, June (2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Le Puy-Santiago (2023)
Tom,

Welcome, as a vegetarian (+/-), you should make a point of staying at Albergue Verde in Hospital de Órbigo, great Vegan food even for non-Vegans like me. Not many beds, call ahead. I was walking with an ovo/lacto vegetarian, we found a good place in Villafranca del Bierzo too just south of the Plaza Mayor on Calle Campari, down in a little courtyard. The Parrillada Xacobeo in Triacastela had many options for non-meat eaters as well. Sorry for the limited ideas, I just did the CI and then jumped out to León and walked to Sarria with friends in June. From Astorga on I was with my vegetarian friend. Good luck and Buen Camino.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
Alberque San Antonio de Padua in Villar de Mazarife (approx 20 km west of Leon) has a nice vegetarian communal meal also.

Good warning about finding meat in places you might not expect or in a dish that is "sin carne" though. Meat, and pork specifically shows up in all kinds of dishes. In Leon, I ordered a spinach and ricotta ravioli as my 1st course off of a Menu del Dia. The ravioli had little chunks of panchetta (or something similar). It wasn't a problem for me since I eat everything, but I was surprised because spinach ravioli seems like something that would be the vegetarian option (not vegan because of the ricotta, but at least meat-free). Always important to double check.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
According to Raggy, you can cook in the albergues, which I knew, but last year, when I hiked the CF, I didn't notice a lot of veggies except in larger towns and cities. I hiked alone last year; this year I am bringing my wife, who doesn't want to subsist on bread, cheese, croissants and coke. So, I didn't even miss the vegies or look for them. Can you find stores along the way, even in the most rural of places, where you can buy, say carrots, green peppers, lettuce, etc? Honestly, I can't remember.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Bocadillos- sandwiches in buns- are very popular and sometimes all that is available. The buns are often hard and the contents (for a vegetarian) only cheese, without butter or condiments. I broke a tooth on one towards the end of my last camino and had major dental work awaiting me when I got home. If you could dunk a really hard bocadillo in your coffee, you might save your money for your next camino.
You just have to sit on it for a second and you won't need the dentist :D

Been there done that...
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
...Can you find stores along the way, even in the most rural of places, where you can buy, say carrots, green peppers, lettuce, etc? Honestly, I can't remember.
Of course! Even in the most remote places if there's a store. Otherwise ask the locals and make a deal. Almost every house in rural Spain has a garden. It's the same as asking for the water.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
who doesn't want to subsist on bread, cheese, croissants and coke.
That's hardly a danger.
Especially not the Coke part - this is Spain and there are many other options. And as far as food's concerned, any tienda has veggies of some sort. And most towns on the Francés have some sort of tienda.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept - Oct 2019
In case of "SIN GLUTEIN" or anything, make a small label
with spanish translation of what you want to be without.
Question of glutein was never a problem, but to show the label
seemed to be a brilliant idea.
I am ceoliac and tend to travel with a small card a friend made. It is very helpful and stipulates I cannot eat gluten but that I can eat egg, milk and cream as some people tend to think you can't (and I need my ice-cream 🍡)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Of course! Even in the most remote places if there's a store. Otherwise ask the locals and make a deal. Almost every house in rural Spain has a garden. It's the same as asking for the water.
On a number of occasions I've spoken with students or low-budget pilgrims who buy vegetables from gardeners or farmers along the way. A certain degree of fearlessness with your Spanish is necessary (I have twice been dragged in as interpreter, using my best John-Wayne accented castellano), but gardeners seem pleased beyond belief that their work is going to feed pilgrims.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
Here are a few of my photo-heavy blogs on food on the Camino. I hope they will be helpful.




 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
(2020) Camino Frances
Here are a few of my photo-heavy blogs on food on the Camino. I hope they will be helpful.




Thank you very much for taking the time to write these posts in your blog and making them known to us. Much appreciated. :)
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
You just have to sit on it for a second and you won't need the dentist :D

Been there done that...
Buying bread a day in advance and storing it overnight in a plastic bag may have some softening effect on the crust but there's little hope for the freshly baked bocadillo!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Here are a few of my photo-heavy blogs on food on the Camino. I hope they will be helpful.




Breakfast in the Parador in Leo was unbelievably good - unfortunately you had to have slept there to enjoy it!
 

NYSE

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
Hello all... I've been following this forum for several months now, learning a lot along the way. I'll be walking my first Camino beginning in mid-September and will appreciate some recent, experienced input regarding the standard food available along the Camino Frances... breakfast, lunch, and dinner... pilgrim meals, etc. Though I am mostly vegetarian, I do eat fish. I haven't had any pork, chicken or beef in many years. I don't eat much cheese or eggs. That said, understanding that my preferred diet is a bit challenging for the Frances, I want to introduce the most common foods to my diet now so my body is used to them by the time I fly to Biarritz. I've read some threads about availability of veggie meals along the way, and found some posts about food that are several years old; just nothing recent. I've just decided to "go with the flow" so want to know what's simple to expect in terms of food types, variety, etc. Any shares here will be much appreciated, including links to other posts I may have missed.
Pork, pork and more pork. And when you finally think you're sick of pork, you get more pork.
 

deg333

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances 2001, 2003
I walked the camino way back in 2001 and had about the same restrictions and had no problem finding food except once when there was only one dish left and it was the Lomo (pork) which I ate after 40KMS otherwise it would have been stale bread and a slice of cheese as the next patrons got. But that was in a very small town on a Sunday so choice was limited. I did not really cook at night. Breakfast I ate plain yogurt, banana and 9 almonds breakfast every day and had a tin of Ortiz tuna packed in olive oil for lunch (has a pop top so no can opener needed) and then pilgrim's menu at night when offered. I brought a metal spoon and fork and a swiss army knife with the all important cork screw (this was just before 9-11 so I carried it on the plane). The second camino I brought a powdered dry green (veg) and red drink mix (fruit) in a ziplock bag to save on weight to add some nutrition and mix with all the water I was drinking. I do not drink soda and there are only so many cafe con leches I can drink in a day. This required carrying a small plastic cup with a lid like a cocktail shaker, just add water and you have something a bit different.
 

GingerHaddad

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September (2018)
Hello all... I've been following this forum for several months now, learning a lot along the way. I'll be walking my first Camino beginning in mid-September and will appreciate some recent, experienced input regarding the standard food available along the Camino Frances... breakfast, lunch, and dinner... pilgrim meals, etc. Though I am mostly vegetarian, I do eat fish. I haven't had any pork, chicken or beef in many years. I don't eat much cheese or eggs. That said, understanding that my preferred diet is a bit challenging for the Frances, I want to introduce the most common foods to my diet now so my body is used to them by the time I fly to Biarritz. I've read some threads about availability of veggie meals along the way, and found some posts about food that are several years old; just nothing recent. I've just decided to "go with the flow" so want to know what's simple to expect in terms of food types, variety, etc. Any shares here will be much appreciated, including links to other posts I may have missed.
I walked with a vegan/vegetarian group for a few days and they had no trouble finding reasonably priced meals - they introduced me to veggie paella and it was heavenly! Just practice your Spanish asking for vegetarian options and you’ll find them.
 

Carolyn G

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
Hello all... I've been following this forum for several months now, learning a lot along the way. I'll be walking my first Camino beginning in mid-September and will appreciate some recent, experienced input regarding the standard food available along the Camino Frances... breakfast, lunch, and dinner... pilgrim meals, etc. Though I am mostly vegetarian, I do eat fish. I haven't had any pork, chicken or beef in many years. I don't eat much cheese or eggs. That said, understanding that my preferred diet is a bit challenging for the Frances, I want to introduce the most common foods to my diet now so my body is used to them by the time I fly to Biarritz. I've read some threads about availability of veggie meals along the way, and found some posts about food that are several years old; just nothing recent. I've just decided to "go with the flow" so want to know what's simple to expect in terms of food types, variety, etc. Any shares here will be much appreciated, including links to other posts I may have missed.
 

Carolyn G

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
You’ll have the most options if you wait to eat at 2pm and sit in the dining room area (versus the bar). “Lunch/Almuerzo” is midday and usually a sandwich or tapas. “Comida” at 2pm is as good or better than “Dinner/Cena” at 8pm or later. Pilgrim menus usually include salads (which could have tuna) and an option for fish.
Most bars have menus but you usually have to ask to see it at breakfast and lunch. We just got back and noticed vegetarian options everywhere. I did get the impression that shrimp & fish were often considered vegan.
Buen Camino! Have fun.
 

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