Over the Easter weekend, I went to Italy for some much needed rest and to spend a little time with my Italian family, who live in the northern city of Torino. Easter is a great time to be in Italy, as so much of the Easter celebrations revolve around food – in fact, I can’t remember the last time I was so full 5 consecutive days in a row!
I’ve been Italy many times, but this was my trip since going gluten free and was a little worried about finding food I could eat on the go, and a little anxious because the language barrier makes reading labels and menus a little more difficult.
With it being Easter, I actually spent a lot of time at my cousin’s house eating with my family, so I didn’t eat out all that much. Cooking gluten free at home in Italy isn’t really any different to cooking at home in Britain – the supermarkets have such a great range of gluten free products and a lot of places stocked Schär products, a brand we are familiar with here in the UK.
As well as familiar brands, there are so many different things to try. It’s not a surprise that gluten free pasta is so much better over there, but there are also lots of different cakes and biscuits that you just can’t get in England – I even managed to find a gluten free version of Pan di Stelle!
Before my trip, I did quite a lot of research into Coeliac friendly restaurants and cafes in and around Torino and printed out a restaurant card to keep in my handbag, just in case we ended up going to restaurant and I needed to explain what I can and can’t eat (you can get free cards in 54 different languages here). In the end I didn’t need to use it as my cousins were fantastic at translating for me and at correcting my terrible Italian, but I will definitely take it to Venice in July.
On my first day in Torino, I was out and about sight seeing with my cousins, who took me to a trendy little eatery right in the centre of Torino (not far from the Mole Antonelliana) called Poormanger. The restaurant is a little unusual for Italy, as they specialise in baked potatoes (which are such a British thing!) but with an Italian twist – there were tonnes of different fillings to choose from and the staff there were really clued up when it came to eating gluten free. The restaurant was quite busy as it was a super popular place to eat out, but we didn’t have to wait long for a table.
There are also so many amazing places to grab a coffee or an ice cream and most gelatarias are confident dealing with gluten free queries, or know which of their flavours contain gluten – most places will serve ice cream in cups, but Grom (which is a sort of chain gelataria) does gluten free cones.
It was a flying visit, but I had a fantastic experience in Torino and I’m looking forward to being in Italy again in July when I go to Venice. If anyone has any recommendations for eating out in Venice, please leave them in the comments below!