Our vegan culinary journey in Italy.
Today, I wanted to share some of the pictures and photographs to describe Italian food journey through my eyes and taste buds. These are my views and do not reflect any judgment on palates of other parts of the world.
My family and I went to Italy in summer June 2005. Apart from sightseeing the culinary journey was remarkable as well. Italians are just as fond of cooking and enjoying a great meal as most Indians do. A lot of staples like wheat, flour, together with bread, pizza dough and fresh ingredients really make a difference in the taste. A lot of care is taken in preparing delicacies that could take minutes or hours. In Florence, behold the beautiful array of pizzas, pasta, fries, fruit salad photographs on top, right.
Most store owners and restaurants would buy their ingredients fresh that same day. For instance, in order to serve for lunch they would get the ingredients early in the morning and start preparing their dishes in a few hours they had, before customers start lining up for lunch. People enjoyed long conversations after lunch and sometimes the restaurants and stores would close in the afternoon so people can take siesta and not wander in the streets during the hot summer afternoons.
We started our journey in Rome and then went to Florence. We took the train to get to Venice and from there boarded the train to get to Milan. We found enough juice stands that carried water as well. We used to carry a water bottle each every day not to get dehydrated, a hat and sun glasses. I had also packed some staple food items when we commenced our journey from Seattle, America that came in handy when we landed there tired from the long flight and did not want to look for a restaurant.
I took a beginner Italian conversation for travelers course before heading to Italy so that I could converse about our vegan food preferences.
The most used phrase that I can remember now (my Italian is a bit rusty after three years, and remember I only took a basic course) is "Vorremo un glassa di agua de rubinetta". (Could we have a glass of water from the faucet please)
At most restaurants I would explain that we wanted food with no meat, no milk , no animals or animal ingredients, no cheese only vegetables or vegetable soups. (non ceso , non leche non animales e animales ingredientes, non formaggio, verduras sopa).
Luckily, we found at least two to three options that were vegan in most places. Sometimes, we went to the local grocery store to buy fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, green veggies and bread. I would make vegan sandwiches in our hotel room in the afternoons.
In Italy we went to Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence and visited Pompeii and Pisa.
In Rome we found these vegan varieties.
Carrots with garlic, carrots with daikon radish, eggplant or aubergine with basil and sundried tomatoes, baked brinjal or eggplant with tomato sauce.
When we went to Pisa we found small bakery shops that carried cakes, pastries and ready made salad.
We enjoyed gondola ride in Venice. My daughter asked for her Grandma's pizza in a store which really meant deep dish pizza with veggies in her language.