Friday, 18 September 2015

Senza Glutine - travelling gluten free in Italy

I have been gluten free for over 10 years now and my reactions are more severe and debilitating than ever if I accidentally injest any. Barley continues to be the thing I am most allergic too with couscous and wheat next. So you can imagine my trepidation at the thought of travelling to the land of Pizza and Pasta.

Gluten free is awesome in Italy. Their products are beautiful. In NZ we have an increasing range but nothing is close to what is offered in Italy. Pasta with the taste and texture of wheat based pasta. Pizza bases that you would never guess are gluten free. My favourite has been the Senza Glutine cones and gelato stores where everything is gluten free - why does ice cream need wheat anyway?

There has been one incident where the waiter told me what I ordered was gluten free then after I started eating came and said "sorry that has bread in it, only a little bit" and walked off - their TripAdvisor review will be harsh, what if I was anaphylactic!

My advice for Gluten Free travel in Italy:

  • Advise when you sit you are Senza Glutine, some restaurants will bring you a different menu others will tell you they can do pasta or pizza and point to other dishes
  • Hotels with buffet breakfast will also be able to provide you with a Gluten Free breakfast, they are very accommodating. 
  • You can always order Insalata (salad) so look for that section on the menu. Equally the wonderful Caprese (mozzarella tomato basil) is on every menu. 
  • In supermarkets eg Coop there is usually a Gluten Free section. All GF products have Senza Glutine written on them and there is a symbol of wheat grains with a cross through them. 
  • When reading ingredients. Look for Senza Glutine at the end of the list. If not there it's likely to contain gluten so look for the word grano which should be in bold, this means wheat. As I am allergic to barley and didn't know how to identify it I only ate from packages marked Senza Glutine.  

Honestly the food here has been so fabulous I am thrilled to have enjoyed the same experience as my wheat eating family and friends. 

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