Self-catering notes from Lanzarote but much advice applies wherever you go
It is worth being able to cook or prepare some meals yourself as if on a restricted diet cheap eating out options like 5 Euro all you can eat Chinese buffets or small pizza or 2 Euro English cooked breakfast go out the window! We found a lot of good restaurants charged around 7 for a starter, 14 for a main and 6 for a dessert! You may or may not have the 5% tax included and of course discretionary tip on top of about 10% or rounding it up to be able to pay with a note, depending on how you feel the quality of food and service was. Typically for two mains and some water we shared we were paying around 30 Euros a feed. At the end of our stay we found a place (Food Express in Costa Teguise) that could do us a yummy varied veggie celiac breakfast for 3.5 – 4 Euros including a drink so having that some lunches will help keep the budget reasonable.
If you are celiac you may want to bring some items with you like crackers, cereal and bread in tupperware for freshness and rigidity, to keep you going before you get to a health food store to top up and then expect to pay 4-5 Euros for 500g pasta or pack of biscuits or bread! Most of it is by a make called Schar. Their bread is very good toasted (better than most breads you can buy in the UK) but falls apart easily as is often the case with gluten free. If you must have PG Tips tea that’s much more expensive here so bring some out too.
RyanAir can make special arrangements for you to bring gluten free food out as excess baggage (not sure if free or small charge as we could manage within our 10kg each of hand luggage and don’t yet have the required doctor’s letter that you need as proof) – you must call in advance the telephone number on their website for special assistance and tell them how many kilos and if it is in hand baggage or main case going into the hold. You need a doctor’s letter too and our UK surgery charges £15 for this as it is private use abroad even though some gluten free foods for celiacs are available on prescription in the UK and if you pay £104 for the year your prescriptions are then free.
Good selection in most supermarkets which seem to be in every nook and cranny of Costa Teguise. Excellent choice in dedicated health food shops. Best fruit and veg shop was in Tias on roundabout near Tienda Verde. Soya milk sold in just about all places. Some sell soya yoghurts too but watch out for the ones with the artificial sweetener Aspartame as these have a nasty sherbet taste. Aspartame gives me a nasty headache too – it’s banned in some countries as it’s a poison and I hope the EU ban it altogether. The Lidl soya yoghurts were fine. The Canarians seem to have grown up used to the taste of saccharin, Rebecca of Blooming Cactus told us. it’s even on some of their coffee beans. You’ll know as your ‘cafe con leche’ will taste as if it was made with pond water – that’s how Andrew describes it. To have coffee true Canarian style ask for ‘leche leche’ which is coffee with milk and condensed milk too.
Some self catering only gives you a few basic utensils but no supplies of salt, sugar, oil, herbs, washing up liquid, pan scourer etc. so you have to purchase lots of basics you won’t use up. We actually bought a small bag of Himalayan salt with us and some left over Fairy liquid for washing up. Will bring small bag of mixed herbs next time. Problem is onions and garlics are only sold in big packs of 4 onions or 10 garlic bulbs in supermarkets although we did see you could buy single garlic bulbs in Teguise’s Sunday market that looked like lovely big home grown ones. We bought a small bottle of Virgin Olive oil which was great for cooking and dressing salads along with some white vinegar. If you plan to do a pasta sauce which you can easily manage on the two rings most self-catering places give you, suggest you buy a tin of tomatos fritos like we did which are fried tomatoes so saves you some of the work and they were delicious. You can get a small pack of olives deshuehadas (pitted) for 60 cents.
Mostly we made salads with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, salted roasted pumpkin seeds, gomasio sprinkle (all health food stores have it here) dressed with oil and vinegar. Very scrummy they were too. Sometimes with hard boiled egg cut up or tinned green beans and sweet corn.
All tins had a pull lid which was just as well as we didn’t find any can openers. Andrew often put cheese on his too and laughed that we needed to be here two weeks as there was so much cheese if his Lidl pack of Gouda it took him that long to get through it even though he started every morning with gluten free bread toasted and topped with cheese, tomato and onion.
I tried tinned tuna one day (also from Lidl) but the smell was horrid and the tuna that come’s out of tins for my cat looked better so I gave the rest away to a cute cat that resides in a Costa Teguise shop, when open, like he’s the boss fast asleep in the middle of all the kerfuffle. Even during the market on a busy Friday evening he could be fast asleep in the middle of the doorstep. A lovely Polish girl works in the shop selling funky colourful clothes, lovely unusual jewellery and traditional pottery bang in the centre of Costa Teguise square.
We always have to ask house keeping for a decent knife to cut food with too. Don’t know why they don’t leave them in the flats. Wooden spoon was missing for use on Teflon coated pans. Every utensil seems to be from Ikea which is on the Costa Teguise side of Arrecife if there is something you are missing and need to buy a colander for instance which our last self-catering cottage lacked but we managed with using the pan lid to drain our pasta. Stay coastal and you can’t miss the big blue and yellow building next door to Lidl.
Buy at supermarkets outside tourist areas or away from town centres for the best price. Spar in centre of Costa Teguise is more expensive than the Hiperdino’s about and the big Hiperdino opposite Alessio’s restaurant / big car park is cheaper than smaller ones in the suburbs. As you drive past Playa Honda on the main thoroughfare you will see Deiland which has a very big Hiperdino (has some gluten free biscuits you have to hunt out as they deny having anything for celiacs when asked) Lidl is beaten or equalled in price through special offers. Heinz baked beans were 2.17 Euros in the Costa Teguise Hiperdino but in Tiagua’s supermarket they were a third less. A nice tasting still water we found was Lanjaron and we stocked up on 5L bottles for our stay plus toilet roll as none of our self catering accommodations gave enough to keep you going.
Prices valid in February 2011 when written.