Supermarket Showdown

Not all grocery stores are the same, we all know that.  This is especially so for those of us who are looking for gluten-free products in Barcelona. Sometimes I find myself having to shop at 3-4 different stores to get all of the things I need, because admittedly, I am picky about what I eat.  There are certain products that are better quality than others, and those are rarities for some reason in this city.  When I stumble upon a new product that I have never found before, its like an excitement that I cannot describe, and that store gets added to my list of must visits.

YESSS! I can’t believe we finally found gluten-free lasagna noodles!!

Here, at GlutenfreeBCN, we have taken it upon ourselves to do some reconnaissance for you all, so that you can make more informed decisions about your shopping choices.  We have visited the big name chain stores and documented the gluten-free selections they offer.  We have compared the costs of some general products and some common brands, and have given a rating to each shop based on the results.  As a rule of thumb, there are some universal symbols that are used here in Catalunya, Spain, and the rest of Europe to denote a gluten-free product.  Keep your eyes looking for these symbols, as a GF product could be lurking in any aisle of the grocery store!

2 symbols

Caprabo        Rating: 3/5 

The Caprabo happens to be the closest store to my house, but because I associate the name with “Crappy-bo”, I have never actually shopped there.  As it turns out, the shop is not so crappy after all.  In a pinch, it has everything you might need to make a picnic, bake a loaf of bread, or make yourself a nice Italian meal.   They have brands such as Scharr, Adpan, and Pasta D’Oro.

caprabo exterior
This guy is stoked to be shopping here!
caprabo selection
A decent selection for a small, local shop.








Baguette: 1.29

Sandwich bread: 3.59

Corn Flakes: 2.25

Pasta D’Oro: 1.55

Consum             Rating: 1/5

I don’t really tend to like songs that tell me how to feel or shops that tell me what to do. So when this grocery store tells me to “Consume”, I want to do the opposite and forgo shopping all together!

consume exterior
Do it! Consume I tell you!

In reality, I tend to shop at Consum quite a bit, since it is so close to my house.  There are hardly any gluten-free products at all, except the usual culprits that are always gluten-free: dairy, fruit, veg, rice, and meat.  They have always sold Maria cookies of the GF variety, and recently added a loaf of sandwich bread to their stock.  I decided to give it a try, and to my delight, when toasted, it was delicious!

consum bread
Mixed in with all the other bread, this GF loaf is hard to spot!

Loaf of sandwich bread: 2.85

Gullón Marias: 2.50

Bonpreu           Rating: 4/5

bonpreu exterior

Bonpreu is high on my priority list when it comes to the weekly grocery shop.  Its a one stop shop for most of my GF needs.  They have an actual dedicated shelving unit full of products that I want, with a nice variety of different brands to choose from.  You can find baked goods by Scharr, Bimbo, Proceli, and my favorite, Airos, as well as Galló pasta and Pasta D’Oro. There are many types of bread, including ciabatta, baguettes, and the only sandwich bread that is soft enough to eat right away (Scharr pan de molde, and Bimbo). There are also some tasty rice crackers called Crispis de Arroz, which are great with some stinky cheese!

bonpreu selection
What a selection!

Scharr Baguettes (2 pack): 3.19

Scharr sandwich bread: 2.75

Bimbo sandwich bread: 3.99

Corn Flakes: 2.35

Pasta D’Oro: 1.59

Diet brand Marias: 1.79

 El Corte Inglés          Rating: 4.5/5

corte ingles exterior
One of the busiest spots in the city…Plaza Catalunya.

El Corte Inglés is the swanky all-in-one department store located right in the center of the city.  You’ll find electronics, clothing, shoes, perfumes, and … you guessed it, food.  There are many store fronts, but the building located on the north side of Plaza Catalunya is the one with the supermarket in its basement.

This is another shop that I had not actually shopped in before today, and I was pleasantly surprised.  It has an excellent selection of items, with many brands that I have not seen anywhere else in the city.  You will find unique Scharr products like lasagna noodles, gnocchi, and rosemary focaccia, as well as their normal selection of things.  They have Airos products, including the most AMAZING bread in town- Pan de Payes and freshly made cakes with cream or chocolate swirl.  Brands such as Orgran sell products like animal shaped pasta and chocolate cake mix, and Gerblé provides a nice selection of cookies and whole grain bread.  Of any store, this one has the widest selection of bread, including the softies made by Bimbo and Scharr. There is also a freezer selection with pizzas, donuts, phyllo dough, and ice-cream drum sticks.

corte ingles selection

corte ingles frozen

Scharr baguette (2 pack): 3.74

Corn Flakes: 2.18

Bimbo sandwich bread: 3.88

Chocolate cake mix: 4.43

Airos Pan Payes: 4.10

Lasagna noodles: 4.08

Mercadona                Rating: 3.5/5

mercadona exterior

Mercadona was once my go to shop.  This was when I first moved to Barcelona, and didn’t know about any other shops.  It is the cheapest store in town for sure, and because of this, the stores themselves tend not to be the cleanest.  On more than one occasion, we have had to ask the manager to clean the filthy shopping baskets that people put their food in, or breathe through our mouths so as not to smell their unfriendly nose aromas.  Needless to say, if you are near a Mercadona, they do sell some pretty good GF products, and those are all in sealed packages- free from dirt and grime! They sell their own Hacendado brand of bread and cookies, as well as Beiker brand bread, bread crumbs, and pastries, and Galló pasta.  Their products are scattered all over the shop, and they can be sneakily hidden in any section.  One must be vigilantly looking for the green packaging of the GF baked goods, or the blue bags of pasta.  They do have a very inexpensive lasagna noodle that is really tasty.

mercadona bread
Look all the way down on the ground for the GF bread stuffs.
mercadona sneaky
Sneaky hidden cakes among the glutie things.
mercadona pasta
Their GF pasta is in blue packaging. (Lasagna in green!)

Beiker baguette (1): 1.60

Hacendado sandwich bread: 2.65

Pasta: 2.05

Marias: 2.39

And for those of you who do go to Mercadona, you will most definitely hear their incessant theme song playing over and over.  You will inevitably leave the store singing it, and it WILL appear in your dream.  You are not the only one.  Check out this remix of the most invasive jingle ever!

Veritas                   Rating 2.5/5

veritas exterior

Besides the fact that they sell organic products, Veritas has a very weak draw for me. There are a few products that I buy there, but it is not a place that I could get all of my shopping done.  They have a lot of Dutch and German GF products, including some rather TINY loaves of bread that tend to be a bit pricey.  They do, however, sell some delicious blueberry breakfast bars and some amazing corn and rice cous cous in which I like to indulge.  You will also find a variety of GF flours including an interesting whole grain bread mix.

veritas selection

veritas cous cous

veritas baked goods
Sometimes at the bakery counter, you will find some pastries.

Sourdough bread loaf: 4.96

Pastas: 2.95 – 4.05

Corn Flakes: 3.65

Blueberry Breakfast Bars: 2.95

Sorli Discau            Rating: 2 or 3/5

sorli discau exterior

Another shop that I have given a strange name…Sorli Discau, or known to me as, Sorely Discounted.  Not all Sorlis are the same.  I have been in some that are big and have a better selection of GF products than others.  I happened into a small one today that I would rate a 2, but have been in others that would be a high 3.  Any way you look at it, they provide the simple things a GF person might need.  There is bread, some sweet baked goods like cookies, and pasta.  Again, the GF products are mixed in with the normal products, so keep your eye out for the symbols.

sorli selection
There is a small selection, but you may find just what you need.

Proceli sandwich bread: 2.70


Hamburger buns (2): 1.95

Noglut Marias: 2.05

Galló pasta: 2.19

 Carrefour        Rating  4.5/5


Now I didn’t make it to a BIG Carrefour today, as they are a bit of a haul from where I live. It is necessary to denote the difference between a small and large Carrefour.  The small ones, like the one on La Rambla, literally have no GF products, while a big mega store will have some amazing things that you will love.  There is a big one locate near the Glories metro stop, as well as out towards Castelldefels on the highway.  I think there is another one at Granvia 2 shopping center, but I have yet to check it out.  In the big stores you will find things like frozen pita bread, buckwheat pancake mix, and a wide selection of pasta shapes (like Tiburones!) and breads. The even have their own line of GF products to choose from that are the best value.  I highly recommend the mega store if you are near one.


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