I'm probably going to Southern France and Northern Italy this summer for vacation and visiting family. I'm the only Veg, and I'm wondering how to handle this. DH is on the scout for me (he's there now), and he wasn't optimistic when I just talked to him, and the language barrier will make it difficult to ask for substitutions. What to do? Should I compromise, like shellfish locally sourced (we'll be on the Med most of the time)? Should I bring some staples? Plan to shop? I'll have access to a kitchen at his folks' house, but in Italy it'll be hotels. I'm already convinced cheese is out, because I've read it can be hard to tell which is vegetarian and which uses animal rennet. It looks like it will be so hard, but I don't want to not go, either!
Hi Quinne! My friend and I are going to backpack in Europe this summer, and we'll definitely be stopping in Italy! I am wondering the same things, especially if you don't have access to a kitchen? What are the options for staying vegan? I'm nervous about being vegan in a country that loves its meat (and I'm not good enough at Italian to carry on long conversations about how I don't eat animal products).
I have used food cards for years to deal with my celiac disease and gluten free diet. An option is a fully translated card. Several places have them available. Just hand to the server in their native language! Should make it much more clear and easier to follow.
Oh, that's a great idea, Sierra! I'm dreadfully depressed at the idea of having to compromise, even a little bit. Luckily I have lots of time to research it, and order those cards, and come up with a packing list of things to bring along.
Hey!Perhaps I can help!? I'm veg and gluten-free... and have had to deal with these things not only due to dietary restrictions, but because I'm from and have lived in places where being a vegetarian aren't or weren't culturally "normal..." (Chile and Italy!) and when explaining "gluten free" people have stared at me blankly! Anyways... without meaning to sound nerdy/ like a broken record/know it all, here goes! The great thing about Italy is that even though meat is usually a staple, there are plenty of vegetarian options, and depending on where you eat, there will be English speakers/English menus. All you have to say is "vegetariana" or even "senza carne" (without meat) The markets are awesome for fresh fruit/vegs. Following a vegan diet is harder, especially in certain cities (like in Florence most dishes are made with olive oil bc the area can grow olives, but just an hour away in Bologna, butter is used bc the soil is different) Some pasta dishes call for eggs in the sauces, etc so if you are super strict then just stick to insalate (salads/ and unlike here they don't serve them w/ cheese or eggs usually, and the only salad usally to have "meat" is the tuna (tonno) salad). As for the gluten...When I was living there, there were gluten-free options available in the grocery stores and pharmacies! It was awesome! In restaurants you can say "sono celiaca" or "non posso mangiare la farina/glutine" just rest assured that you will have fun and eat yummy things. People are more familiar w/ all sorts of health issues and dietary needs now... and your trip sounds awesome, I wanna go back!!
I just found a website for Paris, and I believe it works worldwide, (I'm going to Paris and have the same questions as you do) and it is www.happycow.net and it has info on restaurants and organic grocers. It's amazing!