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sensitive to cow dairy

I can eat some cow dairy but try to avoid it. At home I use soy milk in my coffee and eat goat or sheep cheese. I can usually watch what I eat but I am concerned about eating too much dairy while travelling. We will be in Venice, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria. Do you think my restrictions will be a problem? I have Google translate on my Iphone so am hoping I can get my needs across when ordering meals.

Posted by
347 posts

I have a similar sensitivity and managed fine in Croatia, Slovenia and Austria. There seemed to be plenty of dishes made without dairy. I don't recall having soy milk available for coffee at hotel breakfasts but I drink my coffee black. I had sorbet instead of gelato. Always have a remedy with you just in case.

Posted by
21036 posts

I am lactose-intolerant and can usually eat a moderate amount of cheese or yogurt but cannot drink a cup of hot chocolate. Is that your situation? I carry Lactaid pills with me all the time, because you never know when a salad may show up with cheese in it, or a main course may be enrobed in a cream sauce. I don't want to deal with the possible consequences if I am out and about.

If you haven't tried the Lactaid pills (or the cheaper generics your drug store surely stocks), I suggest giving them a go a few times at home to assure yourself that they work for you, then head out without concern. You can experiment with whether one or two pills is the dose you need. I once tested myself with a full milkshake, if you can believe it, and I was fine. You don't have to plan ahead; you can wait till the food is on the table to take the enzyme tablets.

Posted by
9675 posts

I'm vegan so no dairy at all. I've traveled successfully to Venice and Austria (have not been to Slovenia and Croatia) and been able to avoid most dairy products. There have been a few times in travels that I know veggies had butter on them but it did not bother my stomach.

I carry printed cards I downloaded from the Toronto Vegetarian Assn and when in doubt I hand it to the waiter. A couple of times in Italy they took the card to the back, apparently discussed with the chef and came back to point to things on the menu.

In all my travels to Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Netherlands and UK I have only ever seen soy milk on a breakfast buffet once. That was at an agritourismo in Italy. I was able to get a soy latte at a cafe in Netherlands where the baristas spoke good English. I am ashamed to admit this but when I want a soy latte I look for Starbucks otherwise, I just go with black coffee. In Italy I can do their little espresso shots black.

Posted by
5842 posts

I generally found soy and lactose free milk available in my travels, My wife prefers not to have milk, so I am usually looking for her. I do not think a coffee place will be a problem, and simply being careful ordering can avoid excessive cheese/dairy. If staying at a B&B for a few days, simply ask, if they do not have anything, every grocery carries multiple options, you can supply it yourself.

Posted by
12040 posts

At least in Austria as of my last visit to Europe in 2015, every menu had a series of icons that identified if the food item contained any potentially problematic ingedients, such as dairy, gluten, nuts, etc. I don't know if this has been adopted EU-wide or only in Austria.

Once again, I can only comment on Austria, but... I think you can easily avoid bovine dairy products in your entrées, especially if you can tolerate food cooked in a little bit of butter, but you may have a more limited selection with deserts and appetizers.

Posted by
1595 posts

Thank you all. I now know I can travel safely and not come home with a bout of colitis. Seems the casein in dairy bothers me more than the lactose, soft cheese more than hard, milk more that cream. I was a little concerned about what I would be able to eat.

Posted by
470 posts

You can easily avoid cow dairy in all of the countries. You may not be able to sample some of the local dishes, which are often cheese or cream-based, but you will find plenty of other options, local or other cuisine. If you're self-catering, most supermarkets in Slovenia, Austria and Italy and at least some supermarkets in Croatia will have soy, rice or oat milk on stock. Finding a cafe that offers coffee with soy milk will be a bit more of a challenge, though.