Gastronomy and the Paradors
SPECIAL MENUS IN PARADORES
Paradors of Spain were pioneers in the introduction of healthy options on their daily menus and they remain a step ahead of the competition in terms of catering for all dietary requirements. Paradors were the first Spanish hotel chain to prepare menus which are attractive to all eaters whether they are coeliacs, vegetarians, diabetics, children or babies.
Their current menus combine dishes from their table d'hôte menu with those of their “a la carta” choices, clearly indicating which options will be priced, and which options appeal to: vegetarians, celiacs and diabetics.
The design and composition of these dishes is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Paradors of Spain and the FAC (Federation of Coeliac Associations) and the UVE (Spanish Vegetarian Union).
For coeliacs, menus include gluten-free options mainly for starters and main courses, whilst for diabetics there are enticing alternatives on the dessert menu. Vegetarians are well catered for in Paradors nowadays, with choices of nutritious salads, soups, pasta dishes, vegetables and egg/cereal dishes.
As a reward for their efforts, Paradors have been awarded the “I Premio a la Restauración Saludable” given by the Health International Foundation in collaboration with the Gastronomy Academy.
Another important development in the recent years has been the incorporation of Braille menus, achieved thanks to an agreement between Paradors and ONCE (National Organisation of The Spanish Blind).
Paradors of Spain are committed to eliminating barriers and ensuring that guests with specific dietary requirements are able to enjoy the gastronomic experience on offer as much as everybody else. For example, coeliac guests will find themselves catered for in the beer department by the Damm brewery's “Daura” brew which boast all the characteristics and properties of a traditional beer but with sufficiently low levels of gluten for coeliacs to be able to enjoy it.
For the younger generations, a variety of healthy and nutritious dishes are available including baby food for infants under 3 years of age and junior menus, to make mealtimes easier for families and help satisfy those with “simpler tastes” that are somehow more complicated! Paradors aim to provide safety and carefully prepared meals which children will like, using fresh produce generally cooked to order, and to be as flexible as possible.
The children’s menu is made more compelling still by the use of imaginative recipe names and by the animation of two characters presenting the food. “From the Farm” features a rice dish with egg and tomato, “Lots of Pasta” is a Bolognese macaroni dish, “Roman soldiers” includes fish and “Rodeo” of course is a steak meal. All dishes on this menu comprise a main course and up to seven side dishes as well as desserts and drinks. Nutritional but fun.
You may be interested to note that in 2004 Paradors undertook a Study to enable them to develop a strategy aiming to adapt their products and services as best possible for all their customers, as an “innovative proposal for the future regarding the Network’s corporate social responsibility”. This strategy-PAUP (the Universal Accessibility Plan of Paradors)- reaches further than just the extension of meal options into many aspects of their services, including wheelchair accessibility in as many areas as possible and signalling for the visually impaired.
Please find below a sample vegetarian and celiac menu and the children's menu from the Paradors:
|Vegetarian Menu||Coeliac Menu||Children's menu|
The following article, written by Carlos Tejero, is reproduced by kind permission of "Spain Gourmetour", published by the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade.
The gastronomic philosophy followed by the Spanish Paradors upholds tradition while keeping in touch with the tastes of modern-day customers. There is no doubt that the best way of obtaining a broad overview of classic Spanish gastronomy is to pay a visit to a few Paradors. Our selection covers those in Santiago de Compostela (Pontevedra), Gibralfaro (Málaga), Lerma (Burgos), Mérida (Badajoz) and Vielha (Lérida).