- Mole Sauce
- Bombay Sapphire
- Tikki Masala- thickened with nut pastes
- Gluten free products (bread)
- Veggie Burgers
- Vegan cheese
Marzipan, used throughout the world, is a sweet that can be molded into shapes or used as a fondant type coating. Made with sugar, honey, and almond meal, this treat is to be avoided if one has nut allergies. Although each recipe varies by country, almonds, in the form of an extract or as a whole, are never omitted. Similarly, soy essence can be used to bind and preserve creations, and pureed fruit can also be used. Basically, if you have a fruit, nut, or soy allergy- stay away from marzipan.
The German equivalent of gingerbread, Lebkuchen, is a treat commonly found in Christmas markets around the country, and throughout Europe since the 1400s. The basic lebkuchen is made up of flour, sugar, eggs, honey, and a variety of spices, but newer recipes call for nuts (especially almonds), candied fruits, and marzipan (almond based confection). Looking to re-create a German staple in your home, without the allergens? Try the recipe below:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/3 cup diced candied orange peel (for those with fruit allergies, add extracts)
- 1/3 cup diced candied lemon peel
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Pulse the candied fruits in a food processor. Add jam, and pulse. Add eggs and brown sugar, and pulse. Add flour mixture, and pulse. Transfer dough to an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop(1/4 cup), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 3 inches apart. Place 3 almonds close together on top of each cookie. Bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Let cool.
Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and milk, and brush over cooled cookies. Let stand until set.
(recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart)
Lupin is essentially peanut flour, food in many foods in the Mediterranean, especially countries like Spain and Portugal. Good chances are, that if you have a peanut allergy, you will have a lupin allergy.
Be careful with pastry items, pastas, and breads. European “gluten free products” contain lupin/lupine. Best thing to do when you’re in Europe: read the labels and be careful what you eat.
Flavors to avoid if you have nut allergies:
- mandorla- almond
- nocciola- hazelnut
- castagna- chestnut
- bacio- named for the famous chocolate candies that come from Perugia, this is a chocolate hazelnut combination
- amaretto- almond alcohol
Flavors to avoid if you have fruit allergies:
- fragola– strawberry
- lampone- raspberry
- limone- lemon
- mandarino– mandarin orange
- melone- melon
- albicocca- apricot
- fico- fig
- mela – apple
- pera- pear
- pesca- peach
Flavors to avoid with egg allergies:
crema- eggs and cream
zabalone- eggs and Marsala
any cake/cookie flavors
One of the most frustrating aspects of traveling to Italy with allergies is the inability to pick up gelato at every street corner. Not only do you have to watch out for cross contamination, but for those who do not know the flavors, navigating ingredients is difficult. Stay clear of locations that use one spoon for every flavor. Ask “Lava il cucchiaio per piacere,” and make sure to highlight each allergen. Here are some safe locations throughout Italy:
Suso – San Marco 5453
Boutique del Gelato – Salizzada S. Lio 5727
Gelateria I Caruso – Via Collina, 13-15 00187
Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè (il gelato bistro) – Viale Aventino 59
Fatamorgana – Via Lago di Lesina 9/11, Via Bettolo 7, Piazza degli Zingari 5, Piazza San Cosimato (via Roma Libera 11), Via Laurina 10, Via Aosta 3
Ciampini – P.zza S. L. in Lucina, 29
Gelateria dei Gracchi – Via dei Gracchi, 272
Gelateria dei Neri – Via dei Neri 26
Perche No – Via dei Tavolini, 19
Carapina – Piazza Oberdan 2 rosso
Vivoli – Via dell’Isola delle Stinche 7r
Carabe – Via Ricasoli, 60
Otranto – P.zza Cosimo Fanzago (ex P.zza Bernini), 118
There is also a shop throughout Italy, Grom Gelato, that has safe and delicious gelato.
The most frustrating part about food allergies rests in the fact that you cannot eat “whatever you want.” Navigating a menu is essentially a science, but navigating a menu, in a foreign language, in another country is rocket science. I believe that the most well rounded traveler is one who has food allergies because it takes skill to actually eat anything. I would know. As a frequent flyer with food allergies (not limited to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, kiwis, etc.), eating in other countries is a hassle and sometimes a disappointment. What is Italy without gelato? Or Spain without tapas? Or sushi in Japan? If you don’t try the food, you’re missing out, but the good news is that navigating a menu doesn’t have to be hard. The purpose of this blog is to guide the traveling, foodie who just happens to have some serious restrictions. Bienvenue, benvenuti, and bienvenidos!