I did not realize how thoroughly Italy accommodated those with celiac disease. Not only was there a wide variety of pizzas, pastas and breads on offer that were entirely gluten-free, but everyone knew what it meant to have celiac. From the tiniest of Umbrian towns to the family-owned farms, the minute I would smile nervously and say “sono celiaca” people would nod and say “ah! Senza glutine!” and find me something else to eat.
I was flabbergasted.
For example, the talented chef (aka the family’s nonna) at I Mandorli had prepared a series of simple but exquisite dishes – mountain lentil soup, fresh ricotta and egg plates, salumi, grilled vegetables and more, piled high. Many were gluten-free, in part because it was a meal of staples and disparate pieces, but in part because they were advised I was in the group. They took me by the hand and showed me exactly what was safe on the table.
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