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 to 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, which were my favourite biscuits as a child!
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 sightseeing 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 gelaterias 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 gelateria) 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!