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silly_yak_mum

General Tips For Italy Or Greece

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My son will be travelling with a group in Italy and Greece. He will not be able to control where he goes so he can't use names of specific restaurants. I'm looking for suggestions that might apply anywhere in Italy or Greece.

Is there chain restaurants he should watch out for? Are there any gluten-free brands he could watch for? In the grocery stores, is there usually a "health" section?

I will definatley send the restaurant cards.

Thank you in advance!

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I haven't been to either place but been told Italy is good about gluten-free because it is so common to have celiac there. They actually like to have kids tested by six years old because it common. I don't know about Greece.

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My son will be travelling with a group in Italy and Greece. He will not be able to control where he goes so he can't use names of specific restaurants. I'm looking for suggestions that might apply anywhere in Italy or Greece.

Is there chain restaurants he should watch out for? Are there any gluten-free brands he could watch for? In the grocery stores, is there usually a "health" section?

I will definatley send the restaurant cards.

Thank you in advance!

I have been to Italy many times and most recently in November. It it is known to be one of the best countries for celiac awareness. We were told that it is mandatory for each person to be tested for celiac by the age of six. So, your son won't get blank stares at restaurants.

Sorry that I cannot help with chains as I do not go to them but he can look out for snacks by Schaar. I would definitely make sure to memorize in Italian the words for gluten free, etc. in addition to restaurant cards so he can read labels. If your son likes polenta it is usually gluten free but he must ask to be sure. Same goes with risotto. There is a health section in major grocery stores but some products can be found at drug stores. Some restaurants serve gluten-free pizza or pasta. There are specialty food shops, too, where you can purchase pasta and the restaurants will cook it for you with their yummy sauces.

Where in Italy will your son be going? I'm guessing Rome and maybe Venice. Gelato CAN be gluten free but not necessarily. On our past trips I was told an adamant NO to ordering gelato in several spots.

There are many markets around that he could perhaps sneak off to and purchase fresh fruit and veg. I would also recommend taking snacks along in case of delays and so on. I have found that gluten-free food on flights is absolutely insipid (with Air Canada especially) so always take my own things along.

I have not been to Greece yet, though.

Traveling to Italy with celiac has not been an issue for me whatsoever. Easy. Far easier than here!

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I was in Athens in November 2011 -- only 2.5 months after diagnosis! I had the Triumph dining cards and they were invaluable. A lot of Greek cuisine is naturally gluten free anyway so as long as he likes grilled meats (I ate a lot of fish but also had chicken and pork) and veggie dishes he'll probably be ok. I found that most restaurants we went to were used to dealing with travelers who had food 'allergies' and all the servers I talked with took it very seriously. Often they would take the Triumph card back to the chef and then come back with suggestions from the chef or I would point out one or two items I was considering and ask them to check with the chef.

I took tons of snacks with me and our flat was close to a supermarket. The supermarket did not seem to carry any gluten-free specialty foods...I think you need to go to a pharmacy for those. Food packaging often included an English version and some items did have allergy labels. There were fruit stands all over the neighborhoods near the Acropolis (and other places!) so getting fresh fruit and veg wasn't a problem.

Schar is the big gluten-free brand here in Europe and they very nicely package a lot of their items individually...namely you buy the box of six breakfast magdalenas but they are individually wrapped so you can grab only one or two to take with you.

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I have been to both countries and you should have no issues if you bring the restaurant cards. Europe is much more savvy about Celiac and Gluten Intolerance than the US. I agree with BabsV about Greece, it should be great there. They serve mostly grilled meats and veggies and the servers were very nice and will most likely be helpful.

I think he will be OK, especially if he brings some snacks of his own.

I think plane food is disgusting in general so we bring our own food anyway.

Good luck!

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