As a coeliac I am constantly filled with the anxiety of eating out, and having to be the ‘awkward’ one when you go out is never fun, so imagine the worry I had when my boyfriend and I booked a holiday to Italy – the birth place of pizza and pasta.
We were in Venice from Sunday morning to Tuesday afternoon, Florence from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday morning and in Pisa for Thursday morning/afternoon.
However after a lot of googling (on my boyfriends part – thanks Nath!) we were fairly certain I could find a fair amount of Gluten Free food to keep me going.
We contacted our hotels in advance to let them know I’d need alternative food for breakfast so we were all set!
First up, Venice
We arrived in Mogliano Veneto mid morning Sunday, and made our way into Venice in time for lunch. I know what you’re thinking, the first thing you’ll try is their world famous pizzas or pasta or gelato right? Wrong, we went to McDonalds to get their GF burger – after getting over the fact the burger came in a microwavable bag and dowsing it in ketchup, it actually was quite nice! On to the real Italian food!
Over the next week we indulged in some of the best food I have ever eaten, in Venice we had unbelievable Gelato from a place near our hotel, under the moonlight next to a fountain, it was gorgeous.
On our second day in Venice we sought out a take away pasta shop we had spotted the day before because it had a big sign with ‘GLUTEN FREE AVAILABLE’ (the best sign to see when you’re getting hangry!) and it was AMAZING, it was called Baci & Pasta and oh my, it’s hard to explain how delicious it was. Also the owner was seriously helpful and talked us through everything that was going on. I had the gnocchi with a classic meat sauce and Nathan tried the Ravioli (which he assured me was to die for!)
For dinner that day we went to a pizza place that also had the amazing words – GLUTEN FREE PIZZA, it was called Hotel Ristorante Malibran and again, it was so good! Nathan and I also realised during this that we LOVED garlic spinach (we may have eaten too much of it during the week…).
We also went to a shop that is world renowned for it being a fully gluten free and coeliac friendly shop, the reviews speak for themselves I was like a kid in a candy shop – so many options!
I decided I would go for the most gorgeous biscuits called Buranellini, the shop owner assured us these were the best thing to buy, and they were, even my dad (who hates any gluten free food) loved the biscuits.
Next, I got a chocolate croissant for the morning as our hotel had little suitable food for me other than biscuits.
And lastly I got pizza snacks – I haven’t been able to have these since being diagnosed and it was so eye opening to taste something that tastes like it used to!
On to Florence…
Nathan wanted to take me to the worlds number one, best gluten free pizza restaurant for our last night in Italy so we went straight there to book for the next day and decided we should find somewhere to eat that night, as we had snacked throughout the day we thought we’d skip lunch and just eat dinner.
We ended up in this adorable restaurant called Lorenzo De’ Medici, and I had such a good carbonara with bruschetta and (you guessed it) garlic spinach! (YUUUUMMMM)
We also accidentally went back to the same place the day after for lunch, thinking it was a different one but as we loved it so much the day before we were happy with that mistake!
The last night of Florence we went to the world famous Ciro & Sons, this is where I had a pizza that I have no words for, it was flawless – we had roasted potato wedges and spinach again with the pizzas. (We ended up resembling Popeye)
We rushed to Pisa on the last morning to go to the leaning tower and were forced to run into a pizzeria nearby because the heavens opened so we needed to find shelter, I had – what was quite clearly a frozen – pizza, that was still quite nice! Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of restaurant, but I am so grateful for it having GF options and being a dry place!
So there you have it, Italy is by far the best place I have been to get Gluten Free food, and they all made sure they kept my GF food away from normal food as they are all very conscious of cross-contamination. It was a dream!