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Vegetarian off to Tuscany! Will I be okay?

Vegetarian off to Tuscany! Will I be okay?

Oct 17th, 2002, 05:44 AM
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Vegetarian off to Tuscany! Will I be okay?

Tomorrow my husband and I head to Tuscany for eight days. The kicker (and much to the dismay of my Italian family), I'm a vegetarian. I'm wondering how tough it will be for me to eat out while there. Knowing a bit about hte food in that region, it shouldn't be tough. Any opinions are appreciated. Thank you.
Oct 17th, 2002, 05:57 AM
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Oct 17th, 2002, 05:58 AM
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My vegetarian friends all maintain that Italy is the best country in continental Europe for vegetarian food. You may miss out on some of the more lavish meals at upscale restaurants, but of course there's a plethora of risottos, pastas, antipasti, pizza, great cheese etc. True Tuscan food, however, as opposed to generic italian, is quite peasant/rustic and is quite meat based.

So basically, you won't starve, will always be able to find something appetizing in virtually any restaurant, but may be a little more restricted in terms of sampling most true Tuscan cuisine.
Oct 17th, 2002, 06:03 AM
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You shouldn't have a problem as the risotto is plentiful, the pasta is amazing and Tuscan vegetable soup is probably on most menus. (You might like Ripolletta or twice cooked vegetable soup.) However, if you are a vegan, you might want to skip the risotto as chicken stock is typically used as a base ingredient.
Oct 17th, 2002, 06:08 AM
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Thanks - that's my concern. As a vegetarian, meat or fish based stocks are off my dining list. I am lacto ovo, which means I eat dairy products so that's fine. I need to brush up on my Italian as I will need to inquire about stocks in the dishes - thank you.
Oct 17th, 2002, 06:49 AM
Alice Twain
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If you are s strict vegetarian, though, you will not be able to eat risotto too, since it is made of meat stock (usually beef and chicken).
Oct 17th, 2002, 07:15 AM
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I just got back from a week in Tuscany. While I'm not a vegetarian, I don't eat red meat or pork. Although proscuitto (sp?) is heavily prevalent on the menus, you will not have much problem finding things to eat. In bars/cafes, your only option may be panini with pomodoro (tomatoes) and mozzarella, or pizza, although I did enjoy a nice vegetarian lasagna at one cafe.

At restaurants, you will find loads of options, especially since you eat cheese. The white beans are excellent, and there is always plenty of pasta options. The only thing you might find difficult is the second course which seems to be meat/protein based. Most of the time we opted for an appetizer, something from the first or second course and a veggie side. We didn't get any attitude from the wait staff not ordering all the courses.

FYI... carne is the word for meat, so frequently I would ask, in very mangled Italian mind you, "No, carne or "senza (without) carne?" Luckily I was always understood.
Oct 17th, 2002, 08:42 AM
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My wife and I leave for Italy in two weeks and we are accompanied by my son and his wife ( the vegetarian ). My question is what about cheese, she does not eat animal rennet and most cheese has it. There is one famous, can't remember the name, that uses a plant in Tuscany but do soft cheeses like ricotta have animal rennet or how about fresh mozzarella. Any other vegetarians have this problem?
Oct 18th, 2002, 04:07 PM
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If God didn't want us to eat animals why did he make them out of meat?
Oct 20th, 2002, 11:38 AM
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Duh -

That was very witty. Great contribution.
Oct 20th, 2002, 12:20 PM
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Its Ribollita R-i-b-o-l-l-i-t-a!!!
Oct 21st, 2002, 07:26 AM
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How does one say "meat stock" in Italian? Just to make sure I know to ask in Italian when I order a vegetable soup!
Oct 21st, 2002, 07:45 AM
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Just eat pizza! It's worth the trip there just for that. I ate it all over Europe, from Prauge, to Vienna, around Italy and France and would do anything to go back and get it now. It is unlike anything in the US.
Oct 21st, 2002, 10:13 AM
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As a fellow vegetarian I had very little trouble finding (and greatly enjoying)good food throughout Italy. Be sure to check out the antipasto misto (spelling?) bars available - they always have many lovely vegetarian choices made from the freshest veggies available at the market that day. Enjoy!
Oct 21st, 2002, 10:34 AM
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If your travels include Florence, you can eat at Ruth's, a kosher restaurant next to the synagogue that also serves vegetarian fare.
Oct 21st, 2002, 10:48 AM
Alice Twain
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Often enough pancetta (bacon) or similar stuff is not perceived by Italians as being meat., You might have eaten it more often than you suspect for the simle reason that we just do not think of it as meat.


yes, fresh cheeses and ricotta (which is not a cheese) do have animal rennet. The main difference is not in the way these cheeses are coagulated, it is in the way the milk is treated and how the result is aged.


Brodo di carne e di pollo. Also chicken (pollo, and it actually is a sorry kind of meat) is not perceived as being meat by the Italians.


Beware of preserved pizza, sometimes it is made with lard.

By the way: i eat little meat, but I want it RED! My favorite is horsemeat.
Oct 21st, 2002, 01:35 PM
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Never had a problem finding vegetarian food in Italy. It was awesome. I have the same question about Spain. We are traveling in dec and I am wondering if anyone has had problems getting veggie food there.

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