Italy is a popular travel destination for many people, with its historic cities, charming towns, and delicious cuisine. However, individuals with celiac disease may find it difficult to fully enjoy the country's food offerings. Fortunately, Italy has many gluten-free alternatives available, which can be identified by the Spiga Barrata logo or by using the AIC app. Additionally, learning how to read food labels and brushing up on basic Italian phrases can help make solo adventures stress-free and budget-friendly. This article will provide useful tips for travelers with celiac disease, including how to identify gluten-free options and where to research gluten-free restaurants in advance.
Know the Different Gluten Labels
The European Union has two kinds of gluten labels: gluten-free and low gluten. Gluten-free products must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten, while low gluten products can contain between 20 and 100 ppm of gluten. If you have celiac disease, it is essential to stick to gluten-free products to avoid any negative effects. However, if you have gluten sensitivity, you may be able to tolerate low gluten products. Always check the label before purchasing any food products.
Look out for the ‘Spiga Barrata’ Logo
The Spiga Barrata logo is the only certified gluten-free logo in Italy. It is a yellow ear of wheat with a red slash through it. This logo guarantees that the food product contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, which is the threshold for gluten-free products in the European Union. When dining out, look for this logo on menus or packaged goods to ensure that the food is safe for you to eat.
Confirm Products are Gluten Free with the AIC App
The Italian Celiac Association (AIC) has an app that allows you to search for gluten-free products in Italy. You can scan barcodes or search by brand name to confirm whether a product is gluten-free or not. The app also provides a list of restaurants and bakeries that cater to people with celiac disease. You can download the app for free on the App Store or Google Play.
Research Gluten-Free Restaurants in Advance
Before traveling to Italy, research gluten-free restaurants in the cities you plan to visit. There are many restaurants that cater to people with celiac disease, but it is best to make a reservation in advance to ensure that they can accommodate your dietary needs. Websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp can be helpful in finding gluten-free restaurants in Italy.
Learn Key Phrases in Italian
Learning key phrases in Italian can be helpful when dining out in Italy. Phrases like "senza glutine" (gluten-free) and "ho la celiachia" (I have celiac disease) can be useful when communicating your dietary needs to servers or chefs. Additionally, you can carry a gluten-free restaurant card that explains your dietary requirements in Italian.
In conclusion, traveling to Italy with celiac disease can be challenging, but it is possible to enjoy the country's food and culture. Look for the Spiga Barrata logo, confirm products are gluten-free with the AIC app, know the different gluten labels, research gluten-free restaurants in advance, and learn key phrases in Italian. With these tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Italy.
The Italian Celiac Association (AIC) website: https://www.celiachia.it/en/home
European Commission website: https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/labelling_legislation/gluten_en
Coeliac UK website: https://www.coeliac.org.uk/information-and-support/living-gluten-free/the-gluten-free-diet/gluten-free-labelling-and-the-law/