Our Italian adventure continued by overnight train from Rome to Sicily. Mr D was very excited. We were going the whole way by train because the carriages were going to be loaded onto the ferry from mainland Italy to the island of Sicily. As a veteran of both the Russian Trans-Siberian “Express” and a return from honeymoon on the Orient Express, I also love the relaxation of an overnight train travel. Our 1st class 2 berth compartment also cost us just over €100 it was good value.
After a strong coffee in Milazzo we boarded the hydrofoil bound for the Aoelian Islands, the volcanic outcrop of islands north of Sicily.
Two of the islands, Stromboli and Vulcano are still active. We decided to stay on the island of Salina and stayed at the wonderful Hotel Signum. The hotel had views from the terrace towards Stromboli and we were hoping to see some of her nightly eruptions.
The population of the island of Salina is approximately 4,000. In the pretty town of Malfa, where we stayed, it’s under a 1,000 people. And that’s what makes this gluten free tale so surprising.
A couple of evenings we ate in the hotel’s restaurant and the food was delicious but one night we just wanted something a bit more simple. We wandered up to the Pizzeria U Cucunciu located at 81, via Roma, Malfa. Mr D was in the mood for pizza and I wasn’t fussed as long as it was gluten free. Let’s face it, titchy island chances of getting a gluten free pizza were going to be zero. I was so sure of this, I didn’t even bother perusing the menu for pizza options while we enjoyed a bottle of the local red wine.
The waitress returned and to take our food order and – ever the optimist – I thought I’d ask if they had pizza senza glutine. She gave me a thoughtful look and scurried off to the kitchen. A few moments later she emerged beaming from the kitchen. They couldn’t have, could they? The sure did! Malfa, population under 1,000 a tiny spec of a volcanic island had a gluten free pizza. I love Italy!
So my next problem was choosing a pizza since I’d not even bothered reading the pizza menu and had settled on the usual steak and salad combo.
My pizza arrived.
The pizza base was a pre-packaged Dietary Specials type they’d probably bought in case a random Coeliac came in looking for a gluten free pizza. OK, so the quality of the base didn’t match those I’d eaten elsewhere but I didn’t mind at all. I enjoyed it!
For dessert the waitress kindly went through all their ice creams in their freezer to find a suitable one for me. I went for the lemon sorbet which seemed appropriate given the number of lemons hanging off trees all over the island.
What I learnt was that even though the menu did not list any gluten free items, the restaurant did have them. In Italy, it’s always worth asking if they have pizza and pasta senza glutine.
A few photos of Salina