Gluten and Dairy Free Tuscany Vacation

September 4th, 2009 by Jean Duane

Aaaahhh vacation at last! We cashed in some miles and took a trip to Tuscany last week. It was my first time traveling in Europe since being diagnosed.

Perched in Pienza

Perched in Pienza

Luckily, the Italians are aware of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance, but in the little hill towns, not a lot speak English, and unfortunately, I do not speak Italian. Dairy-free was a foreign concept there. To prepare for travel, here?s what I did in advance for peace of mind.
1) Google ?translation from English to Italian?. You?ll find free translation software such as Babel Fish. I typed in: ?I am Celiac and cannot eat gluten (wheat, barley, rye) and allergic to dairy products (cheese, butter, milk). Can you recommend something with fish and vegetables or perhaps beans or potatoes that are safe for me to eat? Thank you.? The translation software gave me this: Sono celiaco e non posso mangiare il glutine (frumento, orzo, segale) ed allergico ai prodotti lattier-caseario (formaggio, burro, latte). Possono voi suggerire qualcosa con i pesci e verdure o forse i fagioli o le patate che sono sicuri affinch? me mangino? Grazie.
This may not be grammatically correct, but it gets the point across.
2) Paste the translation into a card you can carry in your wallet or purse to give to waiters. Having a card emphasizes the importance, and can be carried to the chef preparing your meal.
3) Carry a letter from your doctor, so if you need medical care on your trip, you will have documentation from a professional to ensure your dietary needs are honored.
4) Carry all medicines and remedies you use to thwart off allergic reactions. It may be difficult to find what you need in a foreign country. Having it in your pack can be very reassuring.
5) Bring food from home that is safe — snacks, such as nut-mixes, GF crackers, Lara Bars, etc. I carry dehydrated vegetables, seasoning packets a plastic heat-safe bowl with an air-tight lid in a re-closable plastic bag and a spoon to make Travel Soup. Here?s my recipe.
Jean?s GFCF Travel Soup
? cup ?Just Veggies?
6-8 oz. tomato juice
Seasoning packet from Lemongrass Thai Noodle Soup Mix
Water to thin to soup consistency (optional)
Jean's Travel Soup

Jean's Travel Soup

Place ingredients in bowl and let sit until veggies reconstitute. If you have access to boiling water, you can add the rice noodles from the soup mix. (Great on airplanes ? just ask for hot water and tomato juice.) This can easily be made in the hotel in the morning and carried in your pack until you are ready to eat it. It is delicious, filling and weighs little (since you can buy the tomato juice when you get to where you are going.)
The outdoor restaurants in the ?squares? had menus with photos, so it was easy to order foods that were naturally gluten- and dairy-free. Salad nicoise was available at every restaurant we dined at. It was fresh, delicious and safe.
Salad Nicoise

Salad Nicoise

Several stores actually had signs in the window advertising “Gluten Free” foods!
Gluten Free Store in Lucca, Italy

Gluten Free Store in Lucca, Italy

What have you found helpful as you travel? Please feel free to share travel tips in the comments. ?Alternative Cook, LLC, 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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