Oh, Bologna. You had me at gelato.
And then you delivered a gluten free pizza of epically fabulous proportions.
Prior to dining at Pizzeria Ristorante Pepperoni in Bologna, the winner in my quest for the best pizza senza glutine was this one in Milan. In fact it was the first I’d tried and all subsequent gluten free pizzas have been measured against the wonderful taste of this pizza where I’d watched the chef slice off prosciutto crudo directly onto my pizza as it had emerged steaming hot from the wood fired oven.
As usual, before visiting Bologna I’d researched our options and had discovered there were no gluten free pizza restaurants in the centre of town. There were reports of one pizzeria slightly out of town making several diners unwell so I knew which one to avoid. The nearest seemed to be La Pantera Rosa who have several locations just outside the centre of Bologna and which have good reports on TripAdvisor from diners who’ve eaten gluten free pizza there. But just like in Milan where the hotel concierge had found a pizzeria my research hadn’t, some local knowledge from our hotel receptionists got us to Pizzeria Pepperoni. I’d asked the hotel to check La Pantera Rosa was serving gluten free pizza and asked to book a table. The receptionist frowned, “I have another recommendation for you – Pepperoni’s, it’s very good and the normal pizzas are fantastic”. I remembered I’d seen this restaurant recommended on the Italian Coeliac Society website (a guide I always use and trust when in Italy) but had discounted Pepperoni’s as being too far away. It was in fact 10 minutes in a taxi and cost about €12 which, it turned out, was a very small price to pay.
Pepperoni’s is located on one of the lush green hills overlooking Bologna that I’d climbed earlier that day in order to
work up an appetite for pizza get a great view of the city. The restaurant was light and, unlike many pizzeria, decorated in a modern style. We were greeted warmly by the friendly owners and shown to our table in a room with sides which would peel back in the warmer months. The restaurant was packed with locals. How nice, we decided, to be somewhere without any tourists whatsoever, not that Bologna was exactly mobbed with tourists during our stay, thankfully.
The menu arrived and I was overjoyed to see the long list of gluten free pizzas. Yep, TWO pages of gluten free pizza menu.
I went for Pizza Rosso Blu (tomato, mozzarella, Parma ham, rocket and shaved Parmesan). My pizza arrived and I really struggled to see much difference between mine and the regular pizza. You can just see in the bottom left of the photo there’s a small piece of the pizza crust missing. I tore this off for Mr D to try and make sure it really was my gluten free pizza. Reassured, I tucked in to a pizza with a wonderfully crisp and light base. The pizza toppings were deliciously simple and flavoursome. I wondered how something which tastes this good could really be gluten free.
For dessert, I’d wanted the lemon sorbet which I’d seen many of the other diners eating. However when our friendly waiter, Antonio, brought out a tray of no less than 5 gluten free and almond free desserts made in house to show me what they could offer, I felt I had to try the pannacotta which came with a choice of chocolate or fruits of the forest sauce.
For those of you dreaming about the best gluten free pizza in Italy, you’ll be pleased to know Bologna and Milan are connected by a high speed rail line taking just over an hour to speed between the two cities.
Pizzeria Ristorante Pepperoni
Address: via Santo Stefano 172/B, 40125 Bologna, Italy
Cost: EUR 57 for 2 pizzas, a mixed salad, 2 desserts, numerous GF and non-GF beers and water
Rating: 9.5/10 – Simply fantastico