This is Part 1 of a multiple part series of blogposts regarding the 'Ah-Ha" moments had in Italy during our 25th wedding anniversary celebration. Food was a tremendous part of the Italy experience, and Italians REALLY know how to do food! First off, gluten-free and dairy-free options were EVERYWHERE, in every restaurant. The phrase "Senza Glutine" (Gluten-free) was on most menus, and walking through especially Florence and Rome, the English words "Gluten-free" were on handwritten signs in many of the hundreds of little cafes we walked by. We were concerned about being hungry the whole trip, but on the contrary, it is harder to find gluten free options in my travels in North American cities than in Italian cities! Our incredible Tauck tour guide Andrea even pointed us to the Cremearia, a little hole in the wall place that served Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free and Soy-Free Gelato! It was a highlight of our trip, to eat this one of a kind treat in front of the 2000+ year old Pantheon!
Next was the amazing TASTE of the food, especially their fruit and vegetables. We ate tomatoes every day with every meal...breakfast showcased flavorfull roasted half tomatoes with olive oil and seasoning, lunch featured incredibly delicious and fresh cherry tomatoes, and dinner almost always included some variety of tomato-based sauce. We were eating tomatoes and melon and apples and lettuces like raddichio, endive, arugala, that burst with flavor (like when we were kids). The food was so fresh and so lovingly prepared and gushing with taste explosions, compared to the same items that here in the States would just be ordinary.
Why is food so good in Italy? They don't have 'organic' there because EVERYTHING IS ORGANIC. They don't have Monsanto based agriculture, where food is genetically modified and highly industrialized. They do fresh and organic the way we do pre-packaged and microwaveable. The reason I am writing this series is to display some of the differences between what they do and what we do, in hopes that we can learn a lesson or two from our Italian friends. Next in the series will be a post about how Italians view 'time."