Tuscany

Gluten free Tuscany

Grom: Gluten Free Ice Cream, Italy

No trip to Italy would ever be complete without a cup of something cooling and icy on a hot day.

The good thing is that even the smallest villages usually have a gelateria to get your ice cream fix. The bad news is that it can be a little hit and miss to find one which sells gluten free ice cream. When I know I’m going to a specific town or city, I check the excellent website of the Italian Coeliac Society in advance which helpfully for ice cream lovers like me provides a search facility for gluten free gelateria.

Although I most enjoy trying ice cream in small, independent producers like this one in Bologna, sometimes in a busy city with a big queue of tourists lining up behind you who are all desperate to get their ice cream fix, it can be a little intimidating to question the servers about gluten (and nut) free status of their ice cream. That’s what makes the Grom chain a good option.

 

Grom, Siena, Tuscany

Their website states:

GROM collaborates with the Italian Coeliac Association (AIC) to serve our Coeliac customers in the best possible way. AIC has rated our gelato as “gluten free” and suitable for consumption by coeliac customers.

AIC has also trained our staff in the rules of proper gelato scooping to prevent contamination gluten. All Grom stores joined this project and are constantly followed and monitored by the technical staff of the AIC. You will recognise the dedicated AIC sticker in our window.

All Grom gelato products are suitable for Coeliac customers except those marked with the (wheat) symbol.

Grom has a clear allergy list on their website showing which of their gelato, sorbet and granita contain gluten, milk, eggs, nuts and soy. These are also displayed on a wall inside the Grom store.

 

Grom’s very clear allergy menu

The Grom stores carry a huge range of different flavours in their delicious gelato. It’s a shame Grom don’t offer a gluten free cone which some Italian gelateria do, so I take my gelato in a paper cup. However, I’ll let them off on this since it’s great to be able to find a reliable gluten free gelato on a hot day!

 

Stracchiatella – my favourite

Grom stores can be found all over Italy (check the list here) and they also have a handful of stores overseas.

(More) Gluten Free Shopping in Italy

When most people think about going shopping in Italy their mind conjures images of gorgeous shoes, handbags and designer clothes. Me? It’s all about the gluten free food shopping.

Am I alone in returning home from a holiday with a bag heaving with piadina not Prada, Tuscan focaccia and not Ferragamo?

The trouble is, shopping senza glutine in Italy is really rather good.

If you’re heading for beautiful Italy soon I recommend you search out the nearest branch of the Coop. These stores range in size from tiny village corner shop to cavernous hypermarket and can be found all over Italy.

The Coop have their own excellent and extensive range of own brand gluten free products. In addition their carry products from DS (Dietary Specials), Agluten and many more.

Here is the vast product range found in one Coop supermarket in Poggibonsi, Tuscany.

Breads, foccacia, rice cakes:

Cakes, biscuits, breakfast items:

Various types of pasta and assorted flour mixes:

Frozen section including pizzas, baguettes, cornetto’s…and:

…the holy grail of missing gluten free product in the UK, it’s only puff pastry!:

Gluten free Daura at approximately half the price I pay in Waitrose:

But it’s not just about the processed foods, Italian supermarkets and markets are heaving with local produce which is naturally gluten free:

You can also read an earlier post here on gluten free shopping in Italy.

Gluten Free Italy: Dario DOC, Tuscany

There were many fun aspects to planning a wedding in Italy but a weekend spent viewing potential venues and villas was certainly one of the most enjoyable. On our sunny Spring-time whistle stop tour of Tuscan rolling hills and central Florence we visited a villa near to the village of Panzano. The wedding planner had told us in somewhat revered tones that Dario Cecchini owned a butcher’s shop and restaurant in the village and it might just be possible to persuade him to come with his wonderful meats to the villa to cook for us and our wedding guests. She told us Dario was unique, and a real character (and if you don’t believe it, check out his website…). The villa was beautiful but we found somewhere we loved more which was located further away. Thoughts of Dario and his mighty meats were put on hold.

On our recent visit to Tuscany I was reminded of Dario when I saw how close our villa was situated to Panzano. We decided to visit for lunch. As well as the butcher’s, Dario has several eateries in Panzano.

DOC Dario (aka MacDario’s) operates at lunchtimes offering two set meals. For a bargain EUR 10 you get all of the following:

half pound burger in a crisp crumb crust
garlic and sage roasted potatoes
vegetables and sliced onions
our sauces
Tuscan bread (NB not gluten free!)
water with or without bubbles

For EUR 20 the Accoglienza menu is all of the following:

raw garden vegetables to dip in olive oil
Chianti sushi (steak tartar)
Chianti tuna (a pork dish)
pork roasted with herbs and garlic
meatloaf with sweet bell pepper sauce
Tuscan bread (NB not gluten free!)
water with or without bubbles

Having settled at the communal table, we went for the simple EUR 10 menu. The burger is cooked to a choice of only rare, medium or well done (no medium rare here!).

The meal is served with a choice of three sauces; Chianti ketchup (my favourite), sweet spiced pepper jelly a mustard dressing.

For meat eaters, this meal was fantastic; soft beef patty expertly cooked and exceptional value, all the while sitting under a huge parasol protecting us from the scorching Tuscan sun. Vegetarians would find slim pickings here; the menu didn’t list any vegetarian options and I didn’t ask (perhaps there are some).

The menu states that all dishes are lactose free but I’d checked beforehand and the meal is also gluten free (excluding the Tuscan bread, served separately) but including the delicious sauces.

In the evenings DOCDario transforms into Officina della Bistecca. Also in the village is Dario’s Solo Ciccia restaurant offering a six course meat extravaganza chosen by Dario and served at a communal table. Click on the links to see what meaty treats these restaurants offer.

As we walked back to the car park, we wandered into Dario’s butcher shop where he was standing behind the counter, big band jazz music blaring out of the macelleria. Truly, one of a kind.

Details

Address and opening times below. These vary for each restaurant so please double check on Dario’s website here to avoid disappointment.

ANTICA MACELLERIA CECCHINI
Via XX Luglio, 11 Panzano in Chianti Firenze
tel. +39 055 852020 fax +39 055 852700

Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday /
Thursday /Sunday 9 – 14
Friday /Saturday 9 – 18

SOLOCICCIA
tel: +39 055852727
Monday / Tuesday /Wednesday : CLOSED
Thursday / Friday /Saturday : 19.00 o 21.00
Sunday 13.00
RESERVATION ADVISED

OFFICINA DELLA BISTECCA
Monday / Wednesday / Sunday : only upon reservation
Tuesday / Thursday / Friday /Saturday : 20.00
Sunday 13.00
RESERVATION ADVISED

DARIO DOC
Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday /
Thursday /Friday /Saturday: 12 – 15
Sunday : CLOSED
NO RESERVATION