If carbs are your thing, then Italy is your place. Italy’s food is regional and wonderful but there are clear staples that will make eating vegan as easy as uno, due, tre.
Yes, this entire pizza is for 1. I love Italy.
If you are visiting more touristic areas english will be spoken at most restaurants and cafes. If you find yourself in an area where only Italian is spoken or you want to take part in learning some of the Italian language here are the key things to know:
I am vegetarian: Sono vegetariano/a
I do not want meat or fish: Non voglio carne o pesce
Is this made with eggs?: E 'questo fatto con le uova?
Allora…That will help you when ordering.
Italian food is always focused on seasonal produce and can easily be adapted to suit a vegan diet. You can guarantee at a cafe, pizzeria, or ristorante you will be able to to find pizza, pasta, and a insalata mista (mixed salad).
'Fast food' salad in Milan with fresh juice
Pizza in Italy is spectacular. The fresh tomato sauce and ancient grain crust make the thought of pizza anywhere else a sin.
Italy is divided in half when it comes to styles of pizza. In the north you will find a thin crust pizza that is crispy. In the south however where pizza originates you will find a much different slice of pie. Neapolitan pizza has a much deeper crust, is made with a different dough and has a completely different kneading process. The result is something so mouthwatering no one would ever miss the cheese. In Napoli, where pizza runs the town and tourism alike there are two variants of pizza sold at pizzerias. Pizza Marinara which is completely vegan and pizza margherita made with sliced mozzarella.
Fresh pasta is another dish that is synonymous with Italian food. Unfortunately most fresh pasta is made with eggs and therefore not vegan friendly. It is important to ask when eating pasta in Italy if there are eggs in it. If the server is unsure ask if the pasta is made fresh or if it is dried.
Trofie Noodles in Pesto Sauce (photo from 1foodwonder.com)
We did manage to find fresh pasta at the grocery store that was made without eggs and obsessed over it for weeks with our WWOOF hosts. The noodle is called Trofie and it is a twirly little thing that goes well with every sauce but is traditionally made with pesto sauce (which may contain parmesan, beware)
The fruit in italy is also amazing. Fresh figs, melons, and stone fruit in abundance!