20/08/2012

Vegan on Vacation: Southern Italy



My new, veganized life has brought tons and tons of benefits: I never have stomach aches, wake up easier and feel less sluggish. My skin and eyes are clearer and even my teeth look whiter! Even if I've got a bit left until I'm 100% vegan, I'll never regret my decision.

Nevertheless, some social situations are still less than easy. Case in point: vacationing at my best friend's summer house. My friend is Swedish-Italian and loves good food. By “good” she, like most Italians, means mozzarella, seafood spaghetti and Nutella croissants. Things that I no longer eat and hardly even miss (I'm grazing on a handful of nuts as I type this post). As if that weren't enough, her family's huge, newly built summer villa happens to be in a small seaside town in the South of Italy, where “vegetarian” isn't even a word. So, how does one navigate such vegan-unfriendly waters? 




After a brief vacation with ham-loving southern-Italians, I have come to the following conclusions:


Breakfast is difficult.
I cracked and ate biscuits with eggs in them, only because my friend would be mortified if I didn't eat anything and I'm pretty sure I'd faint on the beach by eleven if my only breakfast was an espresso and an apple.
Solution: easy. Take a walk to the local supermarket and pick up a packet of your favorite vegan biscuits. The ones I usually eat here in Italy are Grancereale.

When dining out, pizza is your best choice.
Pizza dough is usually made with only vegan ingredients and if you ask the waiter, they'll make sure your veggie choice is cheese-free, even if they will look offended when you ditch their famous mozzarella.

Don't forget your protein.
After three days of pizza, salads and grilled-veggie sandwiches, I was relieved that an opportunity to cook at home came up. My friend made pasta, chicken and salad for the rest of the dinner party while I had a serving of lentils and chickpeas instead of the chicken. It was delicious.


Ice cream time? Go for the sorbet.
You'd be surprised how many ice cream places have milk-free options for lactose-intolerant clients. Strawberry, lemon and melon are my favorite flavors - try some and find yours!

Pack some snacks.
For the six-hour train ride to my friend's house and back, I made some vegan sandwiches and packed some nuts and fruit. Don't expect train carts or those horrible bars at stations (their idea of "varied" is different types of ham) to cater to vegans and bring your own snacks for the trip.


...vegan vacationing in Italy is not easy, but it can definitely be done!

3 comments:

  1. Vivere in Italia - specialmente nel Sud - ed essere vegetariano o vegano è davvero difficile. Anche solo limitare il quantitativo di carne da assumere durante la settimana è difficile. A volte impossibile. Tutti -o quasi- si nutrono moltissimo di carne e di prodotti di origine animale. Pranzo e cena, in alcune famiglie. Senza fare distinzioni o attenzione. Quello che dispiace, però, è la mancata apertura e disponibilità nei confronti di chi fa scelte diverse dal normale. Specialmente i locali dovrebbero essere alla portata di tutti, offrendo qualunque tipo di prodotto. O almeno proponendo delle alternative valide per tutti!

    http://almenounmilionediscale.blogspot.it/

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  2. Ahaha,, very true (sadly)..

    http://absolutelyfaaabulous.com/

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  3. Its difficult but not impossible, check our blog below!! Even in Italy is becoming easier than ever also thanks to an always growing diverse population.

    We help foreigners and expats who don't speak Italian to live a Vegetarian and Vegan life in Italy.

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