Gianni's restaurant - Gluten free Reggio Emilia
One of Mrs NMFS's dreams was to visit the famed Reggio Emilio pre-schools so I decided one day to make the 2,000 mile round trip across France, Switzerland to take Mrs NMFS to visit the pre-schools that she read so much about in her academic research.
The challenge when journeying through continental Europe is readily finding food that we could eat without compromising our intolerances. When visiting places where wheat is king and one has to resist the temptations of crusty French baguettes, delightful pastries and open fire pizzas. The local knowledge that those with a freefrom diet build up to source freefrom staples in their local shops just does not exist when country-hopping. Even internet access does not always make up for the shortfall in knowledge.
Much of the time you just make do with rice cakes and fruit which has a place in warmer climes but not when it is colder and you yearn for something different. We ended up having to make do most of the time with less than enjoyable meals although we did chance upon a gem just as we were about to leave Reggio Emilia.
Gianni is about a 20 minutes drive from Reggio Emilia and it is well worth it. Located at Via del Bosco, 14, 42013 Casalgrande, Italy it is somewhat hard to find on the internet but it is one of those rarities - an Italian restaurant which serves up homemade gluten-free pizza and pasta with a passion.
Set in the middle of a residential area, Gianni's has built up a strong local following with its tasty servings of good Italian cuisine. Gianni has been serving up gluten free food for over 15 years now and in that time they have perfected their pizza and fresh pasta. They are able to offer most of their dishes gluten-free and they do not charge much extra for the privilege. Gianni's son was very accommodating spending time between the kitchen and running through what we could have from the menu whilst patiently answering our excited questions.
Their pasta was the best gluten-free pasta we have had in Italy or anywhere else for that matter. The gloppy alternatives that we sometimes experience was no comparison to the homemade pasta that was served up to us. The secret apparently was in not working on the pasta dough too much and keeping everything cold to avoid it breaking up. We would not have known that it was not 'normal' pasta!
If only we had found Gianni's before but hopefully anyone visiting the area will now know about this delight. We also tried the pizza as after so long without great home cooked food we felt like some comfort food. The pizza was great as well with its thin crust meaning it was satisfyingly crispy.
It was a great end to our stay in Reggio Emilia to enjoy local ingredients in dishes made with so much years of knowledge in a family restaurant with a relaxed ambiance. Gianni's have managed to make fresh Italian food accessible to those with a freefrom diet without compromising on taste or quality and without charging a premium!
So, fellow readers, can you recommend a great gluten-free restaurant?