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munchkinette

What The Heck Am I Eating In Italy?

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I always read on this board that Italy is so great about gluten free products. I found a couple restaurants, and tried some pasta at one last night. I feel like hell. Is there wheat starch? I tried to discuss with the chef at another restaurant this evening, and it sounded like there is still wheat starch. I ended up choosing steak over pizza or pasta.

I did great in Turkey and Greece, but I've gotten hit pretty hard in the 3 days I've been in Italy. Gluten is EVERYWHERE, like glucose syrup in anything sweet. What the heck can I eat here? I'd be dying without dairy, which I don't normally eat because it makes me feel bad. I can usually get away with some dairy, but the lack of choices has forced me to eat it every day, sometimes twice. HELP.

I'm currently in Naples, and I'll be moving to Rome in a few days.

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I've never been to Italy, but I've been told that fish and other seafood are popular there. Can you have polenta? Of course there is a chance they would put cheese and/or butter in it. Is there risotto where you are at? I'm thinking not. Again, there might be butter or cheese in it.

My husband's family is Italian and they make a dish pretty much daily that is simply scrambled eggs made with strips of peppers and some garlic in it. Not sure you could get it in a restaurant though.

I should think you would be able to get some plain vegetables and maybe chicken with tomato sauce on it.

Perhaps the problem is cross contamination?

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Oh yeah, there are things I can eat like salads, but I'm mainly wondering if the definition of "gluten free" is different there. I have just as much trouble with wheat itself as gluten, so gluten free with wheat starch is still a problem for me.

I never thought I'd be so happy about corn syrup in everything in the US, but it does open up a huge range of foods for me.

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Hi,

Where are you looking to purchase your gluten free food. Do you know that it is generally not found in the supermarket but in the pharmacies. Not all pharmacies will have the same range of gluten free foods but it is well worth popping in to one when you pass by to see what they have in stock. Schar is an excellent brand for gluten-free foods.

Are you using translation cards? This should be very helpful when discussing with wait staff, chefs etc. if there is a language barrier. Also if you show them a translation card than it should be taken more seriously.

Go to the Italian celiac society website as it has a list of gluten free restaurants/cafes/hotels etc. throughout Italy. There is even a phone number you can call which tells you where to go in English.

Glucose Syrup in Australia is gluten free even if it says it comes from wheat. This is because it is so processed that it contains on detectable gluten. I assume this is the same elsewhere around the world.

Italy has very strict rules as to what can be labelled gluten free.

Are you planning to travel elsewhere in Italy as I know of a few hotels that specifically cater for gluten free diets.

Good luck.

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I also have a wheat allergy, which makes things difficult. It was an interesting experiment though. I definitely got "glutened" but because there seemed to be wheat starch in there too, I had really bad classic allergy symptoms, like when I get around cats. Usually I don't eat enough of anything bad to get so stuffy.

By the way, I popped into Fata Morgana gelateria when I was in Rome. (The one just north of the Vatican.) I found it on the celiachia.it website. Best gelato ever! They had at least 30 flavors, which I assume were made from scratch because they were so different. I highly recommend it!

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They do not allow wheat starch in Italy. I am in Scandinavia where wheat starch is in everyting gluten-free except german and italian imported goods.

I react to glucose from wheat too, and to wodka from wheat, but I tolerate the potato wodka.

I think it is CC you react to. I think they use wheat flour in other dishes or bake with it, and the dust settles all over the place. I am exposed to wheat flour sometimes like that, just being in a place where they have baked an hour or so ago causes me to react.

nora

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I agree with Nora especially if you are eating in Restaurants making gluten pasta fresh...flour all over! OP posted quite some time ago...perhaps you can update us how things have been for you in Rome!

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When I'm abroad, I've always found meals from supermarkets as well as restaurants. It used to be because it was cheaper and also because I love seeing what people really eat when I go overseas. Now though, I also find it easier to stay gluten-free that way - it feels less risky to know exactly what's in at least some of my meals.

European supermarkets are pretty good at labelling, so you just need to figure out the words you need to know. I tend to eat meats, salads, fruit, etc - and a lot of cheese, though that doesn't sound good for you. If you can tolerate gluten-free breads etc, that should open up more options too. I just carry around a small preparation kit in a waterproof bag - an unbreakable dish, a knife/fork/spoon kit, a small chopping board, napkins etc - and find nice places to picnic. Oh, and I have an unbreakable wine glass too :-)

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