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A Gluten Free Meal for the Ages (yes this really happened!).

charcuterie plate with gluten free toast points!
charcuterie plate with gluten free toast points!

If you are a gluten free person, what's the first thing you think when you hear that you are going to a restaurant that has no set menu--they just serve whatever they feel like making that day!!??  In Italy??  Well, I will tell you what I thought--I had visions of a four-course meal of pasta, pasta, and more pasta, followed by an Italian Cream Cake for dessert!!  This would be a no-go!!  BUT, the person who recommended the restaurant understood that gluten was a problem for me and my daughter, and he called the restaurant to ask if they could accommodate our special food needs.  Of course they gave an enthusiastic "yes"!  No problem!  They said they didn't have gluten free pasta, but they would come up with alternatives.  Oh boy!!  This is going to be interesting.

Meringue ice cream with strawberries
photo by randi

I will now tell you briefly about our fantastic gluten free meal at Cane e Gatto in Siena, Italy.  It was the most thrilling culinary experience of my life!

We enter this charming tiny restaurant (about 5 tables), and we are seated at a beautifully set table with tiny bowls of home made dried fruit mix, and beautiful flowers.  Needless to say, I nearly fell over when the waitress brought out baskets of homemade bread, along with a plate full of gluten free bread just for me and my daughter.  I was additionally thrilled when the charcuterie plate was served to my daughter and I, with the pate on gluten free toast points!!  Things were move along quite well.  On to the mushroom risotto, then the beef tenderloin smothered in black truffles.  Then dessert!  This was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted.  It was a meringue ice cream including that great meringue-y crunch.  I don't know how they did it.  Our desserts were served with some other items that were fruity and good.  The non-GF people at the table were served a custard in a pastry crust.  Everyone had a fabulous meal and I have never felt so "taken care" of in any restaurant.  The restaurant staff seemed perfectly at ease with the situation, kind of like they must do this all the time.  What a great experience.  I highly recommend that more restaurants take a cue from Cane e Gatto and learn how to accommodate the GF community with ease.


  • annielicious14 5 years ago

    That actually brought a tear to my eye. I love that they did this. It shows their love for the food they serve. And just listening to you and seeing a piece of what whas offered. This is what eating should be all about no matter what the situation. Thank you for sharing this. Stories like this inspire me to greater things.

  • Amy 5 years ago

    Randi, I would love for you to blog more on your trip to Italy. I am planning a trip for next year and would love some more tips for gluten free traveling!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  • carol Marler 5 years ago

    I agree with Amy. We are planning a trip in September. Any gluten free info would be great!

  • GF Houston 4 years ago

    If you want to experience some great gluten-free desserts at home, that are rather simple to make, there are some great recipes in a book by Michael & Laura Eberhart from SureTalent Books called "Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts". It can be found on the internet at and there are also some free recipes online there too that are quite wonderful. I have had some decent GF desserts at restaurants, but nothing as good as what I have made at home using recipes from this book. It'd be nice to try that Italian dish you wrote about to see if it could compare, but I can not see myself flying to Italy just to try it.

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