As I mentioned before, we’ve just returned from a two week holiday in Lanzarote, where some friends of ours have a villa. I won’t bore you with the details of the holiday itself, except to say that we had a great time, but wanted to share some of the challenges we faced feeding our vegetarian kids.
As we were self catering, eating at the villa wasn’t a problem. We bought groceries at the local Spar and so, although there were no veggie meats sold, we managed to ensure that our children got some nutrition in between the ridiculous amounts of ice cream, waffles, cake, etc that they (and we) managed to consume (it was a holiday after all!)
Problems arose, however, when we tried to eat out. The majority of restaurants specialised in fish dishes and sometimes the only vegetarian food available was garlic bread or chips. There were several restaurants serving pizza, but my boys were concerned that the cheese used might not be vegetarian. We tried to ask at one Italian restaurant but it was obvious that the waiter didn’t understand what we were asking, which is understandable, as we didn’t know the Spanish or Italian for vegetarian either!
To complicated matters, a frozen cheese and tomato pizza we bought at the Spare for our boys also turned out not to be vegetarian, so ended up in the bin.
I think that vegetarianism is still a bit of a mystery in Europe outside of the UK. I know someone who lived in France for a while and she says her vegetarian son was regarded with extreme suspicion. At school they assumed he was being fussy, rather than seeing it as a belief he was adhering to.
It’s probably similar in places like Lanzarote. Unfortunately in this case it’s not possible to just do as the locals do, as our vegetarian children do feel very strongly about not eating meat. Perhaps in future we’ll just have to limit our European holidays to a week at a time so we don’t have to worry about them living on chips and garlic bread!
Has anyone else had similar problems? If so, how did you handle it? We’d love to hear any suggestions and tips you have for us about feeding vegetarian kids abroad.