I am Gluten free myself and when most people realize that their reaction is: "You are Italian, how can you be gluten free with all that pasta and bread?". Well yes, true but nowadays it is not so hard to travel to Italy and find gluten free options.
Italians and especially those in the food service industry have a great knowledge of gluten free requirements. Coeliac disease is a well known health issue, children are routinely screened for coeliac disease and there is a state subsidy to compensate people with coeliac disease for the higher cost of gluten-free food. Italian law even requires gluten-free food to be available in schools, hospitals, and public places. Usually a lot of GF products are sold in the supermarkets but also in the pharmacies.
Most people are familiar with Italian cuisine as pizza and pasta. So it is no surprise that those on a gluten free diet may be a little worried when heading to Italy. Certainly from a tourist’s perspective pizza and pasta is available on every corner but that isn’t necessarily what Italian’s eat every day. Italian’s have a Mediterranean diet which is high in healthy fats, fresh fish and meat and vegetables. There is a lot of rice (in a risotto form) and polenta both of which are delicious gluten free alternatives to pasta.
Tips for eating out gluten free in Italy
Let's start with the basics..
Gluten free: senza glutine I am coeliac: Io sono celiaca May contain: possono contenere Contains: contiene Wheat: grano Barley: orzo Rye: segale Oats: avena
Can you make it Gluten free? : Puo' farlo senza glutine?
Suggested gluten free meal options in Italy
Gluten free pizza, usually corn, chickpea and/or rice flour based. Confirm that shared pizza pans will not be an issue, and that this dough is not made on the same surface as the floured doughs — pizza shops often have quite a bit of flour being tossed around their kitchens!
Gluten free pasta
Grilled meat and fish, including arrosticini (meat skewers from Abruzzo, typically sheep). Confirm no breaded/dredged flour on fish prior to cooking.
Risotto – confirm broth is gluten-free.
Farinata or cecina or panelle– chickpea flour flatbread. Confirm 100% chickpea flour.
Ragu – meat sauce.
Salsiccia fresca (storebought sausages may contain flour in the casing), mortadella ham and Bologna sausage (again, care with store-bought products), Bresaola cured beef, and prosciutto and Parma ham.
Porchetta pork cuts (not breaded).
Beans and lentils – confirm that if broth is used it is gluten-free, and no flour or pasta or breadcrumbs are added.
Caponata, an eggplant dish — confirm oil is not contaminated.
Panna cotta and semifreddo desserts. Confirm no flour is added.
Torta Caprese – flourless chocolate cake
Zabaglione – confirm it is not served with cookies.
Granita fruit drinks
Gelato IF gluten free, as many flavors do have gluten.
Almost all cheeses (including parmesan and ricotta)
Even when not on the menu, most restaurants will have a simple dish of steamed vegetables served with oil and lemon. Type of vegetables will vary depending on the season, but have in my experience always tasted better than at home.
Many of the meals at lunchtime that I enjoyed were a version of whatever meat they had that day alongside some delicious steamed vegetables and a salad.
So Italy id perfect also for who is gluten free!!