I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled to Italy three times, each as a gluten free traveler. In fact, I found out I had to be gluten free a mere three days before embarking on a month long trip to Italy in May 2010. At the time I was upset thinking that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the pizza and pasta Italy is known for; I mean what is a trip to Italy if you can’t enjoy the amazing food that so much of its culture is based around? Thankfully I soon learned two things.
- That quickly upon removing gluten from my diet I started to feel so much better. I could finally get out of bed instead of being curled up in the fetal position in so much pain, my energy level increased, my right arm no longer went numb, and the mysterious pain in my right calf disappeared. I felt good again. I was so grateful that I felt healthy enough to walk around and sight see in Italy. Really finding out I had be gluten free couldn’t have come at a better time.
- That Italy is such a fantastic place to be gluten free and it was easy learning the ropes there is so much awareness of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance in Italy. (On the flip side though it meant I got spoiled and it was much harder to find good quality and good tasting gluten free foods at home).
Last Thursday there was a great article in the NY Times about Gluten Free Dining in Italy. It talked about how aware and sympathetic Italians are to those who must avoid gluten and ultimately how well they feed us. With wheat being such a staple in the Italian diet, Italians are so much more conscious of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Reading the article confirmed everything that I had experienced over my three trips to Italy. But more so, reading the article just made me miss Italy. I miss the food and how easy it is to eat there. I miss the culture centered around gathering over food and wine. I miss the people and the beautiful landscape. Italy is my favourite place in the world, probably a good part due to the fantastic food. That’s why on almost every trip to Europe I take I try to either fly into or out of Roma so that I can spend a day or two eating Italian food.
Italy has been on my mind a lot since reading that NY Times article. It made me realize that I have only written about my most recent trip to Italy last year: my favourites in Roma, our stay at an agriturismo in Tuscany, lunch in Lago di Como, Gelato, and the paradise that is Cala Ganone, Sardini. So I thought I would share some general thoughts about eating gluten free in Italy and some of my favourite gluten free dishes I’ve had at restaurants during my previous trips. It’s like a trip down memory lane for me.