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Vegetarian in Italy

Pauline Kenny

Steve and I eat mostly vegetarian. I do not eat fish, fowl or meat, but will eat limited amounts of eggs and dairy products when we travel. Steve eats fish and eggs, occasionally has fowl (once a year), and eats limited dairy products when we travel. That means we usually order everything but the secondo. We have soup (many soups are vegetarian) and pasta and side dishes of vegetables. If a secondo is grilled porcini or grilled vegetables, we order that. Steve will order fresh fish if it is on the menu.

When we were in Italy ten years ago, the restaurants were not happy if you didn't order something for every course. But now they are more used to the idea that not everyone wants a complete (and huge) meal. They do not mind if you skip the secondo. Steve has learned how to read the Italian menus in detail (memorizing the names of dishes that are meat) and I have learned how to say that I am a vegetarian (see his Language Lessons to see what you need to say).

Even though we eat mostly vegetarian, we still appreciate good food and good restaurants, but we tend to avoid restaurants with menus that have few vegetarian options. We seem to end up avoiding expensive restaurants that are more "gourmet" oriented. The simple Italian food suits us best. Fortunately for us, it is easy for a vegetarian to eat well in Italy. That is one of the main reasons we enjoy traveling in Italy.

A warning to all you non-vegetarians; "cavallo" on the menu means horse! Yes, horse!

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