Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Magestic Verona- Eating out and about!

Known for its pasta dishes, the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and summer Operas in the Arena, Verona is a fabulous place to spend a weekend!

My roommate, another friend, and I, spent this past weekend exploring the city! Since we were staying in Italy traveling, I figured I would definitely be able to find something I could eat. I packed food for the train, and a little extra for breakfast the next day, but left all other meals to be discovered in this new destination.

After we arrived, dropped our bags at the hotel, and walked into the city, it was already early afternoon. I had a few rice cakes and an apple that I brought in my bag. We spent the rest of the day exploring the Castello, checking out the views from the top of the tallest tower, pretending we were gladiators in the Arena, and experiencing the many other beautiful sites of the city. Around 7 p.m. we were finally hungry and ready to find somewhere for dinner!

We stumbled upon a rustic looking restaurant that was very busy, but luckily had just enough room for the three of us to sit down at a table. Since I recently had been having a difficult time finding pizza or pasta to eat in the city I live in, I decided to ask the waiter first thing, if I could eat there. He looked at my Chef card and said he would be right back. He came back and said that I couldn't have the pizza because they use a mixed oil (In Italy, the vegetable oil is often a mixture of oils, including nut oils), so I asked what I could eat, like pasta. He walked away to check and came back to tell me that pasta with pomodoro (tomato) sauce would be "Va bene." I ended up getting that, and it was exquisite for such a plain dish normally! I asked for some basil and parmesean cheese on top of the pasta, and it was truly delicious! No wonder they are known for their pasta dishes! They can even make pasta with pomodoro taste amazing!

The rest of the weekend also worked out well. We were leaving the following day, so all I needed was breakfast and lunch. The breakfast at the hotel was ten Euro for very few things I could actually eat. We decided to go find an open grocery store on our walk in to the city, so I could find something to eat. We were luckily able to find one. I found a chunk of cheese, some bread sticks, and fruit to snack on for the rest of the day. It worked out really well. It was all I needed to get through the day.

Verona was another phenomenal allergy and worry free trip!

My roommate and I. She ate delicious looking pizza!

Pasta dinner in Verona!

Chocolate Fountain. I WISH I could eat this! Mmmm!

Monday, January 25, 2010

To me the hardest part...

"Abby, look at that dessert! You should try it. It looks amazing!" I often say to my roommate when we walk by a bakery or shop in an outdoor market. It is difficult not to! Everything looks delicious, and if I could try it I definitely would!

Abby trying sweets at a outdoor market.

The most difficult part of living abroad with food allergies, has been missing out on trying all the awesome looking foods and desserts! I definitely have a sweet tooth, so passing on such delectable treats is difficult! Even more than all of the beautiful desserts though, there is one type of sweet that I am always missing here! ICE CREAM! Here it is called gelato.

When we first moved to Italy in August, it was incredibly hot, so my friends would go at least once a day to get gelato. I was very jealous! When it gets warm again here, I would like to try to see if there are any fruit flavors I can try. There is a lot of cross contamination, which is why I have been so weary about trying it. The gelateria in my neighborhood has the fruit flavors on one side, and all the others, on the other side. My goal is to be able to explain to her in Italian about my allergies and ask what the ingredients are, if she can use a clean scoop, etc. I also have my card to back me up!

Abby and my other friend, Jess, with chocolate gelato on their face!

Now that I have been living here for five months, reading ingredients in Italian has been so much easier! I don't bring my dictionary with me to the store anymore. I know what most ingredients are. If I have a question I don't buy it, or if I think it is okay, I buy it, then double check with my dictionary when I get home. I finally at a point where I feel like Italy is home, and the grocery store is just a normal (and easy) part of my week. It is nice to finally be able to say that!

My dictionary and I in the first few months of living here.

Baking in Italy is one other difficulty that my roommate and I are faced with. Both of us enjoy baking, and whenever we want to bake, we run into a few of the same problems. There is a combination product of baking soda and baking powder, instead of both separately, that make whatever we bake taste exactly the same. There is also no vanilla extract, just these packages of two viles called Vanilla Aroma, which also make everything taste the same. It is really nothing like vanilla extract.

Baking an apple pie

Since our first few baking experiences, we have been home to the U.S., and brought back with us, the ingredients that we need (including chocolate chips that I can eat), so now we should be all set for the rest of the year!

I feel very lucky, that for the most part, I am not having many difficulties eating here. Of course, there will always be some hard days, like when I am craving ice cream, and can't have any. Besides that though, it is going well!