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GF and Vegan options help!

I'm sorry to be asking for help on this as I had hoped that I would have had the time to do research before I leave this Monday. I've been super stressed and wish I had time for a vacation before I take this vacation. I will spare you the details but trying to find caregivers to work shifts for a 3 week trip has been hard along with older spoiled siblings who don't really help care for our dad at all. I think I finally have all shifts covered and trained. I wanted this resolved a month ago but agencies are short staffed and people don't want a four hour shift a day.

What I would love if anyone is willing is to help me find any places in Italy that might have Gluten free and possibly vegan options such as a vegan cheese Pizza. Don't sweat it as my friend and I will just walk around and find places to eat but I really wanted to have a list of GF and some Vegan type options for me beforehand. I already found some places I saved on trip advisor for Venice. My friend eats everything. The other cities were visiting are Sorrento, Rome, Florence, and Cinque Terre/ Vernazza, Chiavari and then back to Milan. We will be cooking sometimes at our Airbnb rentals but also we want to go out and eat food. The find me Gluten Free app sucks in my opinion as it doesn't list the menu so I can look to see whats offered. Its hard because Italy is a food mecca and I can't partake in its food 100%. Ive had gut issues a long time and was diagnosed Gluten intolerant 5 years ago. I can eat some dairy such as butter etc but I try and avoid when I can. Likewise I know Risotto might be cooked in Chicken broth or beef broth and that's fine. I do what I can as I've traveled the world before but in other countries its easier it seems to order vegetables or have rice and beans with fried plantains etc. I actually found some vegan healthy restaurants down in Columbia which was my last major trip. Anyways If you have a minute to do some research for me that would be awesome if not no worries as I can research stuff at night or when were over there. I can also eat salads or have risotto or polenta when its offered. I've found Trip Advisor to be easier to help me find places to eat. Alright off to bed as the stress from family BS and finding caregivers has made me under the weather although I'm going to be perfectly healthy for this trip on Monday. Grazie Tutti.

Posted by
2166 posts

No problem in finding at least one GF dish per section on the menus. Even In Family Run restaurants far from the tourists path, they Keep a pack of GF pasta "just un case". It is not a big problem.

I am not familiar with Vegan food... you'll have to peruse the "side dishes" and "starters" sections on the menus. Asking rice to be cooked in vegetable broth is not a sin (not a mortal one): if they have some vegetable stock ready they'll do your rice the way you asked. Same If the restaurant is not full pf customers and they have time to prepare it right away, they'll do it. Otherwise they will just say no.

Posted by
78 posts

Grazie Dario, I figured it wouldn't be a major issue, I just am hoping to find a place that has GF pizza and vegan cheese at least once on the trip. If restaurants have risotto and vegetables I'll be fine. Pasta is everywhere and won't be an issue but I want options Also I really hope to find a delicious bakery or place that offers GF and Vegan pastries. Even just a cookie 🍪 would be amazing. Buona Notte.

Posted by
914 posts

I remember that about ten years ago, it was still a huge issue to find a good variety of food for my cousin who is gluten intolerant AND suddenly decided to eat vegan too. That basically didn't leave much besides vegetables for her at that time, which is certainly better than living purely on hamburgers, but not what you'd call a balanced diet either.

However, things have really changed since then. You will find vegan all over the place. But the combination of both might still be tough, or at least really slim down your choices on the menu.

As far as the vegan cheese pizza goes, I wonder if you might run into a quality issue conundrum. There was a huge discussion some years back when it became known that the "cheese" they used on deep fried pizza and in many pizza places isn't really cheese at all but some sort of processed substitute, basically made of pure (vegetable) fat. The intention of course was saving money, in fact, however, cheating customers who believed they got good quality cheese.

The irony of this is that this stuff does qualify as "vegan" because it is not made from milk. I wonder though if you will get a restaurant owner to admit using that stuff - which is the information you need - because that would basically mean admitting that he is using low quality ingredients.

Posted by
2166 posts

Cheese-less pizzas have been on menus well before vegans showed up.

GF pizzas are becoming quite common because of the recent obsession with trying new/strange/forgotten flours. 9 times out of 10 they were rightly forgotten because they sucked and tasted like cardboard, but this frenzy turned out to be an advantage for people who can't eat gluten.

Go on the .it version of Google Maps and search for "pizza senza glutine" close to your hotel, something will pop-up.

"cheese" they used

Who are "they"? A relevant % of Italian pizzerias? Who had customers who couldn't tell the difference between real and fake cheese?

Incidentally, finding deep fried pizza out of Naples is very difficult, and I doubt any place in Naples could get over with such a trick for long.

Posted by
914 posts

Who are "they"? A relevant % of Italian pizzerias? Who had customers
who couldn't tell the difference between real and fake cheese?

I am sorry, I should have been more specific. When I said "we had this discussion" I have been over-generalizing for all of Europe; I had (maybe wrongly) been assuming that this was an overall issue. But yes, a relevant number of Italian pizzerias in Germany did so, maybe assuming that their customers cannot tell the difference or don't care. There was not even a law to mark it as analogue pizza cheese on the menu until about ten years ago or so.

The point I meant to make though is that I would assume using a cheese substitute is against the honor of any good Italian pizzeria, and that, ironically, the analogue cheese any good pizzeria won't use is what qualifies as vegan.

Posted by
12494 posts

Liliana, I'd provided this vegan/vegetarian finder in a previous thread:

https://www.happycow.net/europe/italy/

Multiple resources for finding gluten-free eateries below, although some may possibly have closed with pandemic. There are some cross recommendations (I see Mama Eat in Rome listed on several) so if you see a restaurant listed on multiple sites, it's likely a good one but you can check reviews.

https://www.legalnomads.com/gluten-free/italy/
https://savouritalytours.com/italy-gluten-free-dream-country/
https://wheatlesswanderlust.com/gluten-free-italy/
https://www.thenomadicfitzpatricks.com/gluten-free-travel-guide-to-italy/

Finding BOTH Vegan + gluten free may be another matter. Mama Eat, BTW, does note that they offer both GF and Vegan options.
Via San Cosimato 7/9, Trastevere.

Posted by
4600 posts

Liliana L, you might try sending a PM to Pam on this Forum. She's vegan, and may be able to help you. But yes, as someone else posted, adding GF to the mix will make things more complicated.

Posted by
70 posts

I am vegan and always eat very well in Italy. Just let the restaurant know that you are vegan and they will recommend dishes for you. Note that pizzas are delicious in Italy without vegan cheese (the latter is not common in Italy). I recommend that you “veganize” menu items by omitting the animal products. This way you will enjoy the local cuisine.

As for also gluten free, I am sorry that I can’t help, though I know Italians take it very seriously and will be able to accommodate.

Enjoy!

Posted by
78 posts

Thanks everyone for great suggestions and thoughts. In California we have this great local cheese made near me called Mioykos and in the grocery store you can find a couple good cashew cheeses. I will use the It. Google.com version to find GF food. Yes unless I'm trying to eat pasta or pizza I won't be eating both GF food and vegan at the same time. Having a restaurant that makes GF bread or breadsticks of course would be awesome but obviously it would be a miracle if I found a place. I don't want fake cheese that's processed so unless I find a nice vegan cheese I'll just do without cheese pizza. Grazie Tutti.

Posted by
166 posts

We are both vegan. We dislike eating all our meals out, so we always get a place with a kitchen.

I (Donna) was standing in the pasta aisle in a Venice grocery store, marveling at all the sizes, shapes, and colors. I had a blast! There were ample non-wheat options, so if you want a simple, quiet meal in, that's easy.

Italy's outdoor markets are a joy, such fun buying groceries there. In Rome we got a mix labeled minestrone. All the produce already chopped, ready to be used for soup.

I can't speak to vegan cheese, because that's not something either of us eats.

Italy is one place we can eat dessert, as sorbetto is vegan. Ah, we miss that.

A vegan traveler's friend, https://www.happycow.net/ One comment, especially at present, when you find some place that you like, do check to make sure they're still operational. Often you can check the menus online. Make sure you look at the specials of the day boards. Does your gluten free app understand that you can order potatoes and/or rice and be just a sated as if you'd eaten wheat?

I can't find the link to it, but Pam recommended a place to get cards (print them off) with dietary restrictions on them. Perhaps she'll chime in with that information.

The one recommendation I have is in Venice. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy-reviews/vegan-in-venice

Have a good trip.

Posted by
8246 posts

Here i am!! Sorry I didn’t see your thread yesterday but I’m traveling and not looking at the forum every day.

Here is a link to the Toronto Vegetarian Assn which is where I printed out one of my translation cards. You might retype and add Senza Glutine. I scanned quickly and there are some travel blogs on that page too that might be helpful. I think Happy Cow also used to have translation cards.

https://veg.ca/traveling-abroad/

It’s been several years since I was in Italy but I’ll verify the comment up thread about most restaurants keeping a package of GF pasta on hand. Even though I’m not GF they would sometimes bring me the package to show me.

Like Donna, I don’t really eat vegan cheese. I actually had a cooking class with Miyoko during a 5-day vegan class years ago in Santa Rosa. I’ll also tell you her “cheese” is available in my local grocery store but they must have shipping chain issues as the time I bought it it was moldy and I’ve looked several times since and it looks like the same results. Just mentioning that so you don’t try to find it in Italy.

TBH I think your best bet will be to walk your neighborhood and check out menus. I’m currently in Paris. It’s heartbreaking to see some of the restaurants I’ve used in the past have not reopened. Others have curtailed their menus so where I previously had a couple of vegan choices now I’m down to one or having to ask for modification. I’m not sure you’ll be able to depend on something like Happy Cow for recommendations because of this. I’d not depend on an online menu which might be out of date as well.

I do think you will do fine in Italy. I felt like they were ahead of the US in providing/labeling GF in restaurants.

Have a marvelous time!

Posted by
78 posts

Thanks Pam and Donna I believe, I really would just want Vegan cheese for a vegan Pizza. Beyond that I don't need to have cheese. Yes Sorbet is great but I'm hoping I'll be lucky and maybe find GF vegan ice cream or cookies. I'll definitely refer to all the suggestions. Yes walking the streets we'll find stuff. Grazie for all the advice and have fun in Paris Pam. Buona Notte.

Posted by
32 posts

Mama Eats has delicious pizza! Also Felice in Testaccio makes a fabulous caccio e pepe which is GF.

The culture in Italy believes everybody should be able to eat well. So I have found (except for Sicily) that most places will happily cook a delicious pasta dish for you. The difficulty is with many of the sweets. It’s hard to pass up tiramisu and cannolis etc. and of course an Italian breakfast is impossible
I am leaving Sicily & going to Rome tomorrow. GF options in Palermo were a little scarce. For several meals I had to live on salami, prosciutto and various cheeses as well as several meals consisting of gelato. Poor me!!

Posted by
914 posts

For several meals I had to live on salami, prosciutto and various
cheeses as well as several meals consisting of gelato. Poor me!!

Sounds like just the right choice for a vegan. :-)

Posted by
4600 posts

Anna, not to mention cacio e pepe!

Liliane, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the numer of delicious pizzas you will find in Italy that do not have cheese.

Posted by
2166 posts

Old purists in Naples still think the Marinara (no cheese) to be the only real pizza and the Margherita an honey trap for a foreign Queen and tourists. After all they have started adding cheese on their pizzas only in 1830, dangerous novelties should always be mulled over at least for 200 years...

Posted by
18892 posts

I don't have dietary restrictions, but in addition to noticing gluten-free options on many Italian restaurants, I also spotted a small gluten-free food shop at least once. I imagine that was in Rome, but I'd also expect that option to exist in Milan and perhaps also in Florence. Since you plan to prepare some of your own meals, a place like that might be helpful.

I did some Googling and came up with these these resources. I have not gone to their individual websites to confirm they're still in business.

https://www.findmeglutenfree.com/it/rome/grocery-stores -- These folks say they have an app you can download. The two places listed on this website are: Celiachiamo Lab, Via Trionfale, 15, 00195 Roma RM, Italy and L'Isola Celiaca, Viale delle Gomene, 14, 00054 Fiumicino RM, Italy. The second one sounds as if it's out in the area near the airport, so that might not be very useful.

Google found me these gluten-free stores in Rome, some of which seem to have legit bakery sections. Note that they are not all in the center of town.

Roma Senza Glutine, Viale di Trastevere, 237, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Gluten Free Store, Via Caio Canuleio, 8, 00174 Roma RM, Italy
New Gluten-Free Food, Piazza Carlo Alberto Scotti, 18, 00151 Roma RM, Italy
Pandali, Via di Torre Argentina 3
Le Sglutinate, Viale Palmiro Togliatti, 1496, 00155 Roma RM, Italy
Noobis Food Senza Glutine, Via Pellegrino Matteucci, 62
IFF - IperFreeFood by CeliaMagic, Via Enea, 15 B, 00181 Roma RM, Italy

For the other cities, try Googling gluten-free food store with the city name. What Google returns may include some restaurants as well as food stores.

Posted by
12494 posts

...dangerous novelties should always be mulled over at least for 200
years...

LOL, Dario!!!! 🤣

Posted by
8246 posts

Liliana, well Paris is always a good idea, lol!!!

I just wanted to add an observation from the last few days. I realize this is Paris, not Italy but I’m finding a number of restaurants have curtailed their menus a bit and for myself, taken some of the vegan options off. There were a couple of restaurants where I could at least get a veggie burger but I’m finding those not as much in evidence as 2019.

I’d probably make sure you pick up some back up food such as nuts, dried fruit, maybe throw in a few of whatever kind of Clif/Kind/Luna bar will work for you until you can replenish at a local store. You may already be on the plane, lol!

Posted by
78 posts

Thanks ladies and everyone else who gave great suggestions. Thanks for the bakery locations in Rome. Yes I've ordered pizzas before without cheese and if I have no other options will do that when I want a pizza. Mille grazie. We're in transit right now waiting at JFK for our flight to Milan.