In honor of #tbt I thought I’d share some pics of our trip to Italy in 2014. Don’t be afraid to travel, do your homework, be careful and most of all, be prepared. See all the “plane food” I took just in case.
The airlines both directions did come through for us, but it was a long flight. All that’s needed to assure GF in-flight meals is the international code “GFML” when reserving seats. And double check before you leave. But have a backup plan.
The Italians are very aware of Gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease. They are educated on it. Children are now routinely tested for the disease and sensitivity before kindergarten. Families are given a stipend to help offset the cost of Gluten-free food.
And we didn’t feel singled out. Ask for a Gluten-free menu, it’s brought to you with a smile instead of a roll of the eye. No Gluten-free menu, the waiter will go tell the chef, then come back and say “no problem”. A few minutes later he returns with this platter of yumminess and all the other diners are looking at you with jealousy.
Try asking the front desk of your in the U.S. hotel for directions to the nearest restaurant that has a Gluten-free menu…good luck! In Siena not only did they give us directions, they called ahead and told them we were coming.
In Florence we took a drive up in the mountains with a guide. We had dinner at the table of a local family. Not one item had gluten in it. The food was so good, we only ate the homemade ice cream to be polite because we were so full.
I emailed all our hotels and they all had gluten free options for breakfast. Usually it was in sealed plastic packs in a basket And when we were going on excursions , the hotels offered us some of the GF items they had, for us to take along with us. Pack plastic sandwich bags so you can pack up food to take on tours just in case.
Italian pharmacies are required by law to have a Gluten-free section. The pharmacy’s were so easy to find just look for a sign like this.
All Italian grocery stores and markets have a GF section, carrying basics like pasta, bread, crackers, and other baked products. One of the first things we did was go to the large grocery store in Siena and stock up on cheese and salami – we even took it with us on the train to Rome.
We even got GF breadsticks w/Nutella on a train. From Venice, Florence, Siena, Rome and side trips in between it was “Senza Glutine” !
And we decided, that we were glad we that were Gluten-free in Italy. Because we tried so many different types of food. We ate food that we may not have tried had we been able to eat Gluten. We probably would have gone through the county eating pizza pies and hand held Calzones.
So, it’s a big wide Gluten-free world – get out there. Don’t be afraid to have an adventure.