Last summer we visited Turin and Alassio in Liguria for our good friends’ wedding. I’ve already written about Turin and it’s about time I shared my gluten free Alassio and other Ligurian gluten free tips. Many of these are also applicable for coeliacs travelling in other parts of Italy.
Italy is one of the best countries for gluten free, in my humble opinion. For a nation that lives on pasta, pizza and other gluteny delights, the concept of not being able to have those things is seen as devastatingly unfair (so my Italian colleague tells me). Hence, Italian gluten free food has always been ahead of the game. I lived in Italy 10 years ago and would bring back a suitcase full of gluten free pasta for my (also coeliac) mum every time I came home. I found the same brand on my recent visit – Le Veneziane is still brilliant!
Gluten Free Alassio
Supermarkets and self-catering
As a big group we decided to cater for our own lunches and a couple of dinners, mainly as we were loathe to leave our fab accommodation. Every supermarket we visited seemed to have a large selection of gluten free goodies. Although a special shout out goes to Coop for their brilliant own brand gluten free products.
Some of my favourite finds were:
- Gluten free cornettos!
- Gluten free beach treats, including Zero Grano nutella-esque wafers and my long-standing Schar gluten free mini os.
- All the gluten free beer you could ever wish for, including GLUTEN FREE PERONI (!!!) and Daura.
- Very handy and tasty mini gluten free focaccia from Gluten S, which came in an oven safe bag to ensure no cross-contamination during cooking. Perfect when you are catering alongside gluten-eaters.
- And even freshly baked goods in the bakery section, like this fab lemony custardy gluten free pastry tart from Senza Peccato.
Essentially, you will have no problem at all finding gluten free food in Italian supermarkets. We even found a large selection in one service station on the motorway, so there’s no need to take your usual suitcase full of gluten free staples.
Restaurants in Alassio and Surrounds
El Galeon – lovely little place in a square close to the waterfront. The owner was very helpful and explained that as they had gluten free pasta available. I could choose from any of the sauces (I chose arrabiata) and they could ensure it was cooked separately for me. Note, I speak Italian, but if you have an Italian language restaurant card you will be fine. There is very good awareness of coeliac disease in Italy.
Rudy Café – for a taste of Italian aperitivo with pumping 90s hits, this is the spot! The staff were brilliant when I said I was coeliac, and produced a mini gluten free platter for me. Crudities, meats, cheese and rice salad. Aperol spritz to wash it all down.
Ristorante Panama – very good gluten free awareness here too. I had pasta again, this time gluten free spaghetti with squid and marjoram. Followed by panna cotta with hot chocolate gianduja sauce. Delicious!
Trattoria I Fii de – a local restaurant in the village we stayed in. They had a fabulously fresh tuna tartare and I had a full gluten free meal here. Definitely take your restaurant card though as there’s not much English spoken. They have a nice outdoor terrace.
La Locanda dell Torre Antica – a special setting in the hills and the waiter here was an absolute superstar. Firstly, they have brilliant gluten free pasta, which on our visit was served with delicate courgette flower pesto and ombrina fish. Secondly, he took extra steps to ensure my fried potatoes were cooked separately from the main fryer (to go with my steak main…I was very full after this meal!). We almost had a bit of a mishap but only because they were so busy and I was ready to tuck into some other potatoes on the table. Be patient and wait until everything has arrived and then double-check with the staff if you have any worries about what is safe for coeliac diners.
And last but not least, no holiday to Italy would be complete without a good dose of proper Italian gelato. Alassio’s Alberto Marchetti has a reputation as one of the best in Italy, so it’s a must try. They serve in pots and use different scoops for each icecream.