Being vegan, vegetarian, or gluten intolerant can make travelling a little more complicated
but it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. The trick is to be prepared and know what to expect.
After all, nobody should be held back from the opportunity to travel. Finding the right food to accommodate your dietary needs can be quite challenging, but in Rome, Martina was lucky enough to find plenty of options and indeed did not starve herself. So if you’ve got the travel bug, but are worrying about how to travel vegan, Martina Camilleri has knocked up a guide with some of her discoveries which will help you make the most out of your next vegan travel adventure in Rome.

Ahhh, Rome. The city of many piazzas, beautiful streets, cafès, shops and culture. If you haven’t been, make sure it’s on your bucket list. Many people often mention the delicious pasta and pizza found in Italy, which in my case, being a gluten intolerant vegan (and mostly raw), I wasn’t expecting to eat gourmet meals.

After doing my research, I saw that there was a variety of restaurants which cater for my diet, however, I didn’t want to spend three days running around Rome searching for a restaurant whilst missing out on what Rome really has to offer. This is something that I’ve
experienced in my past travels, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m just so much happier with some fresh fruit and something simple. During my last trip to Madrid, I took up jars of my Spirulina Seed Sprinkles which I added to simple salads or snacked on throughout the day.

I’d normally rather eat simple meals and get to see more of the city than stress and fret over looking for a high-end restaurant which might not even be as good as the trip advisor’s reviews claimed it to be! (something I’ve experienced which is pretty disappointing)! However, if I happen to stumble upon a place that offers raw vegan
food, I won’t complain.

On the first day, I came across a food chain called Ginger e’ Salute. It’s not a fast food chain, but I realised that they had several restaurant joints around Rome. They have a vast menu serving both vegan and non-vegan meals. Their juices, smoothies and breakfast looked very tempting and appetising, even though they were quite pricey. Being dinner time, I opted for a raw vegan salad, which was great.

On my second day in Rome, I went to the most amazing coffee shop. It’s a typical Italian coffee shop where they literally sell coffee, coffee liqueur, and Italian biscotti. They recommend taking the ‘Grand Cafe’, made from their own blend of coffee beans. This is the best Americano you will ever taste.

After my coffee I walked to the Pantheon where I was surrounded by nothing but gelato and pizza. I found a gelateria which had gluten-free and vegan cones, and a variety of traditional gelato which was naturally lactose and dairy free. The dark chocolate, mango, and pineapple was divine!

There were also many restaurants that offer gluten-free pizza and pasta – something which indeed did surprise me!

There is also an incredible organic loose leaf tea shop situated behind the Pantheon. It has a wider variety of all sorts of black and herbal tea, which is all bought by weight. Apart from tea, they had dark chocolate covered nuts (all vegan), raw chocolate bars and a few organic, artisanal foods.

That evening, my friend and I went to a restaurant which specifically serves pizza and pasta – not exactly my sort of food. When I informed the waiter that I’m both vegan and gluten intolerant, his reaction was, “O mio dio… Why you do this?” I laughed it off and ordered a plain salad with cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, radicchio, green peppers, and corn.

The next day we visited Campo De Fiori Market – this is a must. It’s an open-air food market which sells beautiful fruit and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts, truffle, pesto,
sundried tomatoes, herbs, oils, vinegars, and so much more. Every stall allows you to taste everything- it’s a meal in itself!

After lots of nibbling and four hours of walking, I needed my espresso and something sweet. We visited Monti, a cute little village on the outskirts of the Colosseum. It is also the home to the magnificent Grezzo – my sort of heaven. Grezzo is a raw chocolate shop where they specifically serve raw chocolate and ice-cream. This is where I indulged and ordered a mocha ice-cream, one of their chocolates, and an espresso… not to mention the box of chocolates I bought to take back home with me! It’s definitely worth a visit, but be  prepared to splurge as each tiny chocolate is worth three euros and prices go up
to six, or even seven!

Lunch on my last day was definitely a treat! I went to Ecru, a fully raw, vegan restaurant. They have a great menu with lots to choose from, including appetizers, raw burgers, zucchini noodles, and a variety of more for mains to choose from. I opted for the raw vegan sandwich with flaxbread and a sunflower curry paste – it was divine! My last and final purchase just had to be on gelato, which was possibly the best I’ve ever tasted from  Gioletti! I would have never found it if it weren’t for my friend. She insisted that I taste it before I head back to Malta – and I am so glad that I did! WOW, I mean WOW… I’m drooling just thinking about it! I had the chocolate fondente with mango and blackberry.

So thank you Rome for surprising me with all the great vegan food. I honestly didn’t expect it to be so good, and to have so many amazing treats.

 

© 2018 – VIDA Magazine – Martina Camilleri