Rome: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

My earliest memories of Rome are full of gluten – a smorgasbord of pasta, pizza, arancini, pastries and more. Going gluten free definitely made me fear that this city – a long-standing favourite holiday destination of my family’s – would never be the same again. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Like much of Italy, Rome takes coeliac disease and gluten free eating incredibly seriously and if anything there is now too much choice! I have pulled all my favourites together into one handy guide and I highly recommend you work your way through all of these gems! Buon appetito!

Le Altre Farine del Mulino

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One of the newer additions to the Roman gluten free scene, Le Altre Farine del Mulino is a 100% gluten free bakery near the Vatican. With an epic cake, sweet and pastry selection as well as lactose free options, Le Altre Farine is an ideal spot for breakfast or a snack on a sightseeing day. I loved the calzone here so much I had two – so make sure you grab one to go!

Where?
Via di Porta Cavalleggeri, 151/153
00165 Rome, Italy

Pasticceria Napoleoni Gluten Free

Located next to the Colli Albani metro station, Pasticceria Napoleoni is an impressive bakery with a dedicated gluten free counter and cake fridge. I sampled a selection of pastries when I was last there and they did not disappoint. At lunchtime, fresh sandwiches, pizza and other savoury delights are brought out. Worth stopping here for a coffee and some people watching, especially at breakfast time when some of Rome’s busiest espresso drinkers appear. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Via Appia Nuova, 590
00179 Roma RM, Italy

A Gogo – Gluten Free

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Another regular bakery with impressive gluten free options, A Gogo offers a variety of cakes and savoury snacks, which are displayed in their own separate counter. I had some of the best arancini that Rome has to offer, which I took to go and fuelled me during a busy day of walking. Make sure you check for any daily specials as A Gogo sometimes changes up its gluten free offerings.

Where?
Viale Giulio Cesare 66/68
00192 Rome, Italy

Celiachiamo Lab

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I cannot explain the excitement I felt when I cam across Celiachiamo Lab – a 100% new hot spot which is home to both a supermarket and bakery. I found a huge array of gluten free items I had never seen before and of course couldn’t resist buying them to fill up my suitcase. The pastry selection is outrageous, with Nutella-stuffed croissants, tarts, cakes, freshly baked bread and much much more. Celiachiamo also sells hot pizza by the slice with dairy free options available too. A MUST visit!

Where?
Via della Magliana, 183
00146 Roma, Italy

Pandali

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Pandali is another 100% gluten free bakery situated near to the Pantheon. It is open every day of the week for late breakfast and lunch, and specials change most days, with wholesome vegan salad bowls, arancini, pizza and sandwiches on rotation. Pandali also has a huge array of cookies and cakes, some of which are dairy free. Don’t forget to order a gluten free beer to wash all the treats down with!

Where?
Via di Torre Argentina 3
00186 Roma, Italy

Grom

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Our favourite gluten free gelateria has multiple locations across Rome, which means we can indulge in gelato worry-free! The joys of eating ice cream in a cone will never get old for me, especially as the ones on offer in Grom do not taste gluten free in the slightest. Grom has also added several other sweet treats to its menu including brioche, cookies and fantastic hot chocolate. Check the company website for your nearest branch in Rome.

Voglia di Pizza

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My original favourite in Rome, Voglia di Pizza is home to some of the best pizza I have ever had. The dough is so good, I cried the first time I ate here seven years ago and have been going back ever since. The pasta options are also vast, as well as a number of deep fried starters like supli and arancini. Voglia di Pizza takes dietary requirements incredibly seriously and places a little flag in each and every gluten free dish they serve. Don’t forget to save room for a gluten free tiramisu to finish!

Where?
Via dei Giubbonari, 33
00186 Roma, Italy

Mama Eat Gluten Free

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I’ve eaten a number of fantastic meals at Mama Eat – including some of the best gluten free rigatoni I’ve ever tried and brilliant arancini, deep fried mozzarella and pizza dough. All the gluten free food is prepared in a separate kitchen to avoid cross contamination so it is an entirely worry-free environment. The staff are clued up and the service is perfect and it is no wonder this restaurant is always packed! Open 7 days a week and well worth a visit (or two).

Where?
Via di S. Cosimato, 7/9
00153 Roma RM, Italy

Mama Eat Street Food

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A grab and go branch of the above mentioned Mama Eat restaurant, this 100% gluten free hole-in-the-wall eatery is located close to the Vatican and perfect for lunch. On the menu is a selection of pizzas, arancini, fried seafood, and a monster meatball and fries combo which I feasted on in the street, barely breathing as I was eating it so fast. While the restaurant is advertised as street food and light bites, I strongly advise you go hungry – the portions are incredibly generous.

Where?
Borgo Pio, 28
00193 Roma Italy

La Soffita Renovatio

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Eating here was truly one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. The gluten free menu is mind-blowing and even includes homemade ravioli, which I enjoyed in a classic butter and sage sauce and fantastic pizza. Start your meal with a generous serving of calamari and fried zucchini because why not. It’s easy to not have enough room for dessert after a meal here so I highly recommend you take it to go. Ask your waiter for the daily cake options and prepare to be amazed! Booking in advance to avoid disappointment is recommended.

Where?
Piazza del Risorgimento 46/a
00192 Rome, Italy

Pantha Rei

Another gem tucked behind the Patheon, Pantha Rei offers up a fantastic gluten free menu upon request and does everything it can to ensure there is no cross contamination in its restaurant. I turn into a creature of habit whenever I visit, and usually order gnocchi (who here is surprised?) which never disappoints. Wash it down with gluten free beer or a lovely glass of Italian wine for the ultimate and relaxed lunch or dinner experience.

Where?
Via della Minerva 19
00186 Roma, Italy

Il Viaggio

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If you’re in the mood for some fine dining while in Rome, Il Viaggio offers a delicate twist on many classic Italian dishes and a tasting menu for those with a bit more time on their hands. All the menu can be made gluten free and again, the staff here take dietary requirements incredibly seriously and the restaurant is accredited by the Italian Coeliac Association. The homemade gluten free bread is delicious and a great pre-cursor to a lovely main course. I enjoyed gluten free cannelloni last time I ate at Il Viaggio and hope it’s still on the menu when I next go back!

Where?
Via Isonzo 14
00198 Rome, Italy

McDonald’s

Yes, you read right! McDonald’s in Rome, like the rest of Italy offers a gluten free burger and cheeseburger and safely fried French fries to those of you who are in the mood for something fast! Check the Mcdonald’s company website for your nearest branch in Rome.

Mozzarella Sticks by Asda

Where from? Asda
Available in Asda supermarkets nationwide

The American in me cannot get enough of bar-type snacks. I have incredibly fond memories of chomping on mozzarella sticks dipped in marinara or ranch from my days studying in the US with an ice-cold beer, which I thought were well and truly over when I discovered I couldn’t eat gluten. Imagine my surprise and excitement therefore when I came across these gluten free mozzarella sticks in the refrigerated section at Asda recently. They are ready after a mere 8 minutes in the oven and perfect with aioli for dipping. Available in Asda stores across the UK and online. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Oaties by Nairn’s

Where From? Nairn’s
Available in Waitrose & Partners, Morrison’s and on the Nairn’s Website

I am on a permanent quest for a dunkable gluten free biscuit. Cue Nairn’s, the oatcake masters, who have just brought out a biscuit that is perfect with a cuppa and contains 45% less sugar than the average teatime treat. Oaties come in handy packs of four so they are also perfect for on the go. Totally coeliac safe and delicious, Oaties are also great for use in cheesecakes and homemade cookie bars or millionaire’s shortbread. Give them a whirl and let me know what you think! Oaties are available in Waitrose & Partners, Morrison’s, independent health food stores around the UK and the Nairn’s company website.

This post has been sponsored by Nairn’s.

Gluten Free Mueslis by Delicious Alchemy

Where From? Delicious Alchemy
Available on the company website, Asda and Booths Supermarket

I am a massive breakfast person and am constantly looking for new options. The guys behind the amazing baking mixes, Delicious Alchemy, have turned me into a muesli lover with these delicious, totally vegan and refined sugar free flavours: Berry with a Hint of Cinnamon and Apple, Sultana and Date. I have mine with almond milk and mixed berries for the perfect start to the day. These mueslis are available to buy directly from the company website. The Berry with a Hint of Cinnamon flavour can also be found in Booths Supermarket, while the Apple, Sultana and Date variety can also be sourced from Asda. They’re packed in a resealable pouch so perfect for taking to work or having on the go.

This post has been sponsored by Delicious Alchemy.

Hong Kong: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

This year I took my very first trip to Asia to visit a friend in Hong Kong. A city full to the brim with amazing Dim Sum and other traditionally glutenous treats, I was sceptical about just how well I would eat when I was there. I had heard endless reports of just how hard it is to come across safe gluten free options and so took it upon myself to research every single place I would be eating. What happened? I ended finding some amazing places and never went hungry. From Dim Sum to Venezuelan Empanadas, from crepes to epic toasties – Hong Kong really does have it all! Check out my guide for a number of options within Hong Kong itself and a bonus addition for Macao, which is just an hour’s ferry ride away and well worth a trip.

Sweetpea Cafe

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Officially Hong Kong’s sole 100% spot, Sweetpea Cafe really found a gap in the market. This gorgeous little cafe is hidden away in the hilly streets of Hong Kong Central and has a menu with more options than you would think from the size of the place itself. Get ready to be wowed by the impressive cake counter as soon as you walk into the shop, which offers a selection of vegan and sugar free cakes too. The sandwiches here are all delicious, and individually made to order, including a selection of toasties. However be warned, Sweetpea Cafe works on a cash only basis and prices are high as, unsurprisingly, gluten free products are hard to source in Hong Kong. I thought this was a great shame however as I would have quite happily eaten breakfast here most days had it been more affordable. Definitely a must-visit, if for nothing more than a wonderful slice of cake and a latte with homemade nut mylk! Closed on Mondays.

Where?
4 Shin Hing Street
Hong Kong Central

Fresca

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Another Hong Kong Central find, Fresca offers up healthy breakfast and lunch options which you can either enjoy in-store or to go. Fresca is most known for its amazing salad bar, which boasts many gluten free options that can be mixed and matched for a decent sized lunch. The cafe also offers several gluten free sweet treats however, which are widely advertised. Their steamed muffins come in several flavours and are made using all natural ingredients. I opted for salted caramel, which paired nicely with a coffee. The gluten free crepes are undoubtedly the yummiest thing on the menu at Fresca however, and come stuffed with either banana and nutella or baked apples and summer berries. Closed on Mondays.

Brickhouse

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Everyone headed to Hong Kong must put one night aside to head to Brickhouse where nearly all tacos are gluten free! Even better, if you go on Monday or Tuesday, the restaurant has a great deal on tacos between 6pm and 8pm and always has a delicious taco of the month on offer. Several starters are also gluten free – just be sure to ask a member of staff for guidance on the menu. Brickhouse fills up pretty quickly most nights so get there early to avoid disappointment. We were lucky enough to sit at the bar in front of the chefs and so got to watch all our delicious food being prepared (which is basically my version of being in a toy shop). Don’t forget to wash your food down with several of the house margaritas – they’re fantastic! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
20 D’Aguilar Street
Hong Kong Central

Yardbird

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For the most delicious rice dishes you’ll try during your entire stay, head straight to Yardbird. This chicken-lovers paradise is located in the bustling Sheung Wan area of Hong Kong and pays great attention to dietary requirements. A number of rice dishes – including the unbeatable Chicken Rice – are gluten free and both incredibly filling and good value for money. While the fried chicken on offer at Yardbird is also gluten free, it is not coeliac safe due to cross contamination and the use of a shared fryer. While this was heartbreaking to learn at first, I quickly got over it when I received my main and a delicious steaming bowl of edamame beans. Top marks for both food and the general vibe at this Soho hotspot. Closed on Sundays.

Where?
154-158 Wing Lok Street
Sheung Wan
Hong Kong

Picada

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I did not expect to find so much amazing Latin American food in Hong Kong but I really hit the jackpot with Picada. Not only does this restaurant offer an amazing variety of meat and fish dishes as main courses, but an impressive starter selection too including (lo and behold) gluten free fried chicken AND gluten free empanadas. Of course we had to order both and we were by no means disappointed. It was hard to believe the fried chicken was gluten free and the empanadas were not only beautiful (pink, green and yellow) but each and every one delicious. Picada also has a delicious selection of cocktails and live music on the weekends – what’s not to like? Closed on Saturdays.

Where?
2F & 3F LKF 29 Building
29 Wyndham Street
Hong Kong Central

Madame Fu

I was told that gluten free dim sum was not a thing. Whoever told me this was oh so wrong. Madame Fu – a beautiful eatery tucked away in the brand new Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts – offers a fully gluten free menu to diners upon request which includes a selection of phenomenal dim sum. A little on the pricier side, this restaurant also has a selection of gluten free main dishes and desserts which are all almost too pretty to eat. I highly recommend a trip here for lunch one day when you’re wanting a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where?
Shop 03-101A Blk
3 No.10 Hollywood Rd
Hong Kong Central

Mott 32

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Located in the Standard Chartered Bank Building, Mott 32 has two Michelin stars. The menu is mostly designed for sharing and offers up traditional Cantonese cuisine with a modern flair. Gluten free diners will receive an extensive gluten free menu upon request, which is almost identical to the regular menu with the exception of a handful of dishes. We ordered from the gluten free menu and shared everything, including lobster dim sum which was probably the most delicious thing I had during my entire stay in Hong Kong. While the meal was expensive it was totally worth it and an ideal spot for a special occasion or when you feel tempted to just treat yourself!

Where?
Standard Chartered Bank Building
4-4A Des Voeux Rd Central
Hong Kong Central

Pizza Express

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I was as surprised as you to see that not only does Pizza Express exist in Hong Kong, it offers gluten free bases too! With several branches across the city, rest assured you can give into those pizza cravings pretty easily whilst in Hong Kong. We opted for takeaway gluten free pizzas one evening as a no-fuss dinner and the bases were just as good as in the UK and the attention paid to dietary requirements also on a par. Check the company website for your closest branch.

Shopping

Filling up your suitcase with gluten free bread and other essentials before heading to Hong Kong is something I would highly recommend. However, a chain of supermarkets around the city – Market Place by Jason’s – has an impressive selection of sweet treats and snacks that you can top up with whilst you are there. I noticed a number of gluten free bread, cake and pancake mixes so ideal if you are staying in self-catered accommodation during your stay. Important to note there is no dedicated gluten free section in these stores so be prepared to scour the aisles like I did. Check the company website for your nearest branch.

Gluten Free at the Venetian in Macau

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During my time in Hong Kong, we took a day trip to Macau, via the Turbo Jet Ferry which took just under one hour. Known as Chinese Vegas, Macao is home to multiple famous hotels including the MGM Grand, The Parisian, Mandarin Oriental and more. We opted for a bottomless brunch at The Venetian where we sat for three hours plus indulging in The Portofino restaurant’s endless raw seafood, steak, cheese and salad bars as well as limitless mimosas, Bloody Marys and more. The gluten free options here were fantastic and I was given great guidance by staff on duty as to what was gluten free. I was brought my own basket of gluten free bread but I advise stating your dietary requirements when you book to ensure they have bread for you. Check the hotel website for current prices and table availability.

Warm Kale, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with a Lemon, Tahini and Chive Dressing

To celebrate Coeliac UK Awareness Week this year, I’ve teamed up with Knorr UK to create the ultimate gluten free meal using one of my favourite grains – quinoa. I fell in love with this grain when I lived in South America and was delighted when I realised I wouldn’t have to give it up when I stopped eating gluten. It is delicious when cooked in vegetable stock – for this recipe I used Knorr Organic Vegetable Stock Pot, which gives it great depth and flavour. Try out this veggie recipe for yourselves for a perfect mid-week meal or a summery lunch.

Warm Kale, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with a Lemon, Tahini and Chive Dressing
(Serves 2)

Ingredients

40g x Sweet Potato
2 x Garlic Cloves
1 x Tablespoon Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Pepper
80g x Quinoa
1 x Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot
200g x Kale

For the Dressing:
2 x Tablespoons Tahini
4 x Lemons (juiced)
1 x Garlic Clove (minced)
1 x Teaspoon Gluten Free Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
2. Prepare your sweet potato for roasting by cutting into small cubes and then
arranging on a baking tray with the two garlic cloves. Drizzle the olive oil over the
pan and add cracked black pepper.
3. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa by washing thoroughly before adding to a pan
with 400ml water. Add the Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot and bring to the boil. Cover
the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water has cooked off and the quinoa
is soft.
5. Separately, wash and then steam the kale for six to eight minutes. Drain.
6. Start preparing your dressing by adding the minced garlic clove, tahini, lemon juice
and soy sauce to a bowl. Stir until all mixed together into a dressing consistency.
Add chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Combine the cooked quinoa, kale and sweet potato together before serving and
adding the dressing. Serve with a lemon wedge and extra chives.