In September a group of friends will be traveling from Austin, Texas to Italy and will visit Rome, Cinque Terre, and Milan for two weeks. Five out of seven of us are Paleo but I am the only one that has to be strict because of immediate reactions to food. I get physically ill (gastro and mental) from dairy and tend to feel poorly immediately when I consume grain based carbohydrates. Currently it is a mystery as to why. Please don't tell me to eat butter or put cream on everything or to just enjoy the food. I may get fussy and down vote your answer.
I'm hoping some Paleo Italians (or expats) have some recommendations for eating Paleo in these cities/towns. Advice on ordering food or shopping at grocery stores is of course appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
asked byMeepsIsWellfed (1581)
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on March 20, 2012
at 01:48 AM
I don't have any specific recommendations for where to eat in terms of restaurants but I am pretty familiar with Italian cooking and you can certainly get by on a paleo diet just fine without splurging on pasta and cream sauces, though along with jake I do hope you splurge on some things like cured meats and sausages that are not strictly Paleo.
Italian food has great dishes like Osso Bucco, a braised veal shank (one of my favorites), shellfish stews, grilled fish, grilled steak (Bisteca Fiorentina is a famous Florentine preparation of Porterhouse steak from the Chianina cow), scaloppine, and many others. It really is a Paleo person's dream. Non-paleo fare, including Prosciutto di Parma (or di San Daniele) is amazing, as are the varieties of salumi, sopresatta, and italian sausage you will find at the market. If you eat cheese (you said no butter or cream, but the aging process involved in making cheese tends to mellow the lactose issue in dairy) you can't go wrong with the king of cheese, Parmiggiano Reggiano, or Pecorino Romano, Provolone, and fresh Mozzarella di Bufalo (may be a little harsh if you are lactose intolerant).
You should look into this book (Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan): http://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Classic-Italian-Cooking-Marcella/dp/039458404X
Aside from truly awesome recipes you can cook on your own she gives you a primer on Italian cookery. She talks you through common ingredients and their preparation (such as for anchovies), and gives lessons on how certain things should be enjoyed. Since it really is a tome on classic Italian cooking you can also browse through the recipes to get an idea for things you can expect to see in rustic Italian town cafes.
Hope this helps, enjoy your trip
on March 20, 2012
at 01:37 AM
I've spent long vacations in Italy (Siena, Rome, Venice, Florence). I wasn't Paleo at the time, but I was eating low carb and I didn't have too much trouble. There's bread everywhere, but there's bread everywhere...everywhere. I'd suggest that in order to prevent feeling deprived (which I'm afraid anyone would undoubtedly feel if they're unable to eat pasta, pastries, gelato, and garlic bread in Italy...) be as adventurous as possible with meats. Not sure where you're staying, but my hotels always had a ton of delicious meats at the breakfast buffet. At restaurants, just order a salad for the typical "pasta course" and you should be set. Entrees are typically meat/fish and veggies.
Above all, enjoy your trip and enjoy the culture! Italy is a wonderful place where food and culinary arts are truly celebrated. Personally, I didn't find there to be a huge focus on CARBS, but rather a focus on FOOD. Ingredients matter there, which aligns nicely with Paleo.
And if you feel deprived... go wine tasting. Any feelings of sadness will vanish and you will taste the absolute best part of Italy.
on July 11, 2012
at 06:29 PM
Awareness of celiac is VERY high in Italy -- practice the phrase ???Io sono celiaco" (I am a celiac) and you'll be ok with the grains. I did this and I didn't get "glutened" once, moreover, people were very understanding. Add that to the "senza burro" and you'll be ok. There is much great italian cuisine that does not have grains OR dairy. And if you get a sweet craving, order a brutti ma buoni (ugly but good) in bakeries. As you can see from this recipe, they have neither grains nor dairy: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/ugly-but-good-cookies-brutti-ma-buoni-recipe2/index.html.
on May 21, 2012
at 04:45 PM
I am italian and - as long as you'll shop what you're going to eat - I can't see the problem :) Yep, we've here the heaven of carbohydrates, but you'll find whatever you want: meat, coconut flour, almond flour, nuts, fresh coconut, eggs (frittata!). Not to mention olive oil, real one!...and fresh veggies. Replace bacon with prosciutto or speck.
In details: is the problem where to find grass fed meat/bio? go for Naturas?? stores (bio stores). Is it about eating out? go for steaks, any pizzeria has steaks in its selection, a.n.y. I can't guarantee about grass fed meat when it comes to eating out, anyway I know a pretty good burgers house (cheaper than steaks) using real italian meat (100%, from Piemonte).
here's the website http://www.openbaladinroma.it/?page_id=43
I don't know whether or not grass fed honestly. It is the anti-mc donald's here :) of course, you have to shed the bread away! or go for a steak.
If you like traditional market and want to enjoy Rome tradition, go for Mercato Trionfale, a traditional market near San Pietro. Pretty famous. You'llhave fun,
enjoy Italy! Food is the only thing still worthing overhere (...), no matter if you avoid pizzas-pasta an co. (I do...)
on May 21, 2012
at 10:02 AM
I am also going to Italy this fall for a few months and at first was a bit nervous about staying paleo in a country known for its pasta and breads/ However I've talked to some friends in italy and the nice thing about italy is that the country mostly cooks with olive oil not butter, so that shouldn't be a worry! just order your dish without butter (senza burro) Also there are a plethora of fresh seafood dishes and delicious meat dishes, and of course many vegetable dishes! I definitely recommend trying the artichokes in Rome, as this is where they are most popular, the artichokes are steamed with garlic and olive oil, so tender and delicious! Also just like here many people in Italy today have food allergies, dairy, gluten, etc, so theres not as heavy an emphasis on eating pasta and cheese at every meal from italians! Just be committed and try as hard as you can to carry on with the food habits that you have here!
on March 20, 2012
at 12:29 AM
if your going to italy, please for the sake of everyone who will never get that opportunity, eat whatever your heart desires... it's only 2 weeks don't miss out on the opportunity to experience an amazing cuisine, eat the pizza, the prosciutto, the bread, the cookies and pastries with espresso, the pasta and seafood and please do not feel bad about for one single second... i lived there for 4 months and it was some of the best eats ive had... you have the rest of your life to worry about eating paleo, just please enjoy what the italians have to offer you will not regret it... i know ive just committed treason, please don't tar and feather me