For Easter, we get a week off uni classes, known widely as Spring Break. This is the time where all the kids pack their bags with skimpy bikinis and nothing else, and head off to Cancun, the Bahamas, Ibiza, Mykonos, etc. to party, consume nothing but pseudo-legal alcohols mixed in with all kinds of sugary fruit syrups, and wake up the next day with nothing but a head-ache and no recollection of the previous night. I headed off to Croatia for 5 days of wild–no lol juuuust kidding. Clearly that’s not really my style. In attempts to save some money and get shit done, I planned to stay home, kill the gym daily, cook lots of food, blog, start my driving lessons, file my taxes… like Spring Break watch out I’m about to slay it. Ain’t no one gon have Spring Break-ed as hard as me. Well, it all started off well til I was vacuuming one evening and I sort of stopped myself and was like ARE YOU F-ING KIDDING ME. Vic you are not spending your Spring Break vacuuming. On top of it I live in some small Swiss city where the new format of National stamps is the talk of the town. AKA there is so little do here, I actually don’t really have a choice but spend all my time at the gym. In any case, my epiphany came whilst vacuuming, and the epiphany was: bro GFTO of this place… So I turned off the vacuum and literally Googled: “cheapest flights to anywhere for tomorrow”. No joke. 2 days later, Schuss Switzerland, ciao Roma!
When I told people I was gonna go to Rome, one of the first reactions was “well…what are you gonna eat?”. Clearly my spontaneous decision to take the first and cheapest flight I could find did not really include a day-by-day scheme of how I was going to adapt classic Italian cooking to fit my complicated vegan-ass, buuuut here’s what I concluded:
For once, I would go on a vacation that does not entirely revolve around food.
I know. Big words. This was step for me. I would not go on happycow.com and make a list of all the vegan restaurants in the city to try, I would not make “city exploring” really just the walk from one restaurant to the other, and I would not have like 12 meals a day, to make sure I get through that list of 37 restaurants in 3 days. Again, I know, big words. I guess you could say I’m growing, maturing, becoming reasonable, one could maybe even use the word: adult.
Soooo the vacation began. Plan was to walk around the entire city, visit absolutely everything, spend the whole day outside, walking around with my map, taking a trillion pictures of everything, being a massive yet shameless tourist. Day 1 went well, met up with a friend for lunch, had some vegan mushroom pasta (which wasn’t that great tbh, probably cuz we were in a super touristy area where all the restaurants are known to be kinda mediocre), the hostel dude made us all pasta for dinner as well, and then day 2 came. And I did something that kind of threw my this-vacation-isn’t-gonna-revolve-around-food plan completely off course. I ate… a pizza. And oh man. Words cannot express. I am now going to say the most cliche combination words and I don’t even care: pizza is amazing in Italy.
And this is where the vacation changed because I suddenly became obsessed with pizza. Now the whole “how can you eat vegan in Italy” question comes in. Answer? It’s actually super easy.
Eating vegan in Italian restaurants
Although you may think all Italian food is doused in cheese (which it is), it’s actually surprisingly easy to eat vegan in Rome. Most menus will include green salads or bruschetta on toast as entrees. And as main meal you can easily find a vegetarian pizza or pasta, and then simply ask for no cheese. With pasta it’s a little more tricky since there is sometimes egg in the batter, but you’re usually safe with pizza (plus pizza’s always the better option anyway).
When visiting Rome I seriously recommend having a good pair of kicks on cuz you’ll be walking literally all freaking day. I traced where I walked on my map and oh man I circled the city like 4 times in all directions. When walking n stuff obviously you’ll get hungry, so good thing there are little pizzerias pretty much everywhere. They often have vegan choices, where the dough is simply topped with tomato sauce or tomato sauce and veggies. For real even in a little mini crappy-looking place, the pizza will blow your mind. Guaranteed. Another good option is gelato because the answer to “gelato?” will forever and always be “DUUUH”. You’re guaranteed to have vegan fruit & dark chocolate options as they’re always dairy-free, but I also saw quite a few places with alternate flavours made with soy milk.
So in conclusion, the answer to “you’re going to Rome…what are you gonna eat?!” is: “PIZZA, GELATO, MORE PIZZA, A LITTLE MORE GELATO IN THERE AND SOME EXTRA PIZZA ON TOP.”