When traveling abroad there are always many things to consider while preparing, such as which hotel to book, which plane to take, or which clothes to bring. But if you are like me you may have one extra question on your mind: Will there be food that I can eat?
Now initially this may sound like a strange question, (or you may just think that I am just a picky eater) but for someone with a food allergy this question will plague your mind until you sit down for your first meal and in the moment of truth, finally get a look at the menu. Fortunately for those with food allergies, Italians are fantastic at dealing with dietary issues.
Since I am lactose intolerant, I was very concerned about being able to eat out in Italy. Nevertheless, I have found that at any restaurant if you tell the staff that you have an allergy they are extremely understanding and helpful. Of course, the majority of my experience has to do with avoiding milk and cheese, so I cannot speak to every allergy. However, I do have a friend with a severe tree nut allergy that has had the same experience. Additionally in both the supermarket and outdoor markets I have seen signs that designate gluten free products.
Considering that the food in Italy is made from much fresher ingredients than the food in the United States, in reality it is not surprising that they are more conscious of what goes into it. When I expressed my joy and surprise in finding how understanding Italians are with allergies to a friend, he described it perfectly. He said that the Italians love their food so much that it is upsetting to them if someone cannot enjoy it, so they will do whatever they can to make it work.