Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gluten Free Dining in Rome

When you visit Rome, you might envision that your food choices are going to be limited to the following:

Breadsticks

Pasta Carbonara

Pizza
For me, this was true.  I had Pasta Carbonara every meal except for three, for two of them I ordered pizza and for the third I ordered a pasta funghi dish because carbonara wasn't on the menu at the bar in which we ate.  Mushrooms were in season so I went that way, much to my delight.

For my wife however, who is Celiac, pasta, pizza and breadsticks were not an option.

In most places this was fine due to the presence of tomato salad, prosciutto and grilled meats.

Burrata and tomato salad


Prosciutto on the slicer

Grilled lamb

There are a wide range of foods available that can be eaten, fairly safely, by those who avoid gluten, but it helps to have a tool available (or be able to speak the language) to explain to the waiters your dietary requirements. The wife uses The dining cards from celiactravel.com.  Before we leave we print out a handful in the language of the country to which we're traveling, and one is presented to the waiter upon introduction.  We've never had a problem once the card has been presented.

Rome treated my wife very well however, and part of the reason was that we stumbled onto Taverna Barberini
Awning sign
The restaurant also had a sidewalk sign that advertised "Gluten Free" so in we went.  If you suffer from Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or intolerance (or are with someone who does) then you understand how big of a deal it is to find a restaurant carrying this:
Gluten Free roll
My wife also got a good risotto and some sausage with white bean ragu;

The service at Barberini was friendly, there was entertainment, and the prices were reasonable.  All in all it was a fantastic find.

I wish that I could tell you that you could get a gluten-free tiramisu but, to my knowledge, that is just not possible.  However, given that gelato should be classified as a world treasure you're OK if you just stick with that.  Just down the road from Barberini is a tiny little yogurtaria named "neyoyo".  You won't find it on any of the big city guides or websites, it doesn't have a fancy facade or word of mouth buzz.  What it does have is a hand-made sign and an owner who really takes his gelato seriously.




What this place does have are excellent Aperol Spritz, a nice place to eat on the sidewalk, a Google+ page and some of the best Gelato I had in Rome at reasonable prices.

When we were planning our Rome trip the wife and I were concerned that finding food for her to eat would be a problem.  We were very wrong.  It was easy to find several menu options at all the places we visited that allowed her to eat as well as I.  Granted, we never did find gluten free pasta carbonara but we're going to work on making that at home.

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