Postcard from Abroad: Cibo Napolitano

La mia sorella sono stato in Italia per un mese, e io sono molto geloso di lei. Manchi i cappucini, il gelato, e le pizze Napolitane della bella paese.

OK, I’ll stop. Most of you probably understand all of that because of your experience with Romance languages. But I’m sure half of it is grammatically incorrect, and I don’t want to embarrass myself. Despite three semesters of Italian in college, I can’t seem to rustle up enough to describe my lust for the pizzas in Naples. There’s nothing like them on Earth.

This post is not about me, though. It’s about my younger sister Avery who has been backpacking and farming her way around Italy for the past month. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to sink into any pizzas. She’s been undertaking the whole European endeavor with a limitation most of us cannot dream of having: she can’t eat gluten. No pasta, pizza, bread, cake, crostini, or pie.

But interestingly enough, she seems to be tasting her way through most of the countryside, and the dishes she’s enjoying sound more creative than anything I’d ever tried in Italy. I remember a whole lot of prosciutto and plenty of fresh ingredients, but how they were combined does not necessarily stick out in my memory. Maybe it’s because I was less attuned to cooking at that point in my life.

Or maybe it’s because I didn’t live on a farm near Naples. Avery did the WOOF program for two weeks (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), and stayed in a 100-year-old Italian house on a vineyard. She writes: I have been at this farm for 9 days now and I am having such an incredible time. We work from 8 to 2 in the vineyard pruning and chopping wood, then we have from 2 to 7 to read, write, drink their own organic wine and sit by the fire.

The mother at the farm she was staying at, Antonella, is also an amazing vegetarian chef, and all the dishes listed below are things Avery has eaten during her stay at the farm that are also gluten-free. These include:

  • Chestnut Cake with Broiled Apples
  • Soy/fennel balls with millet and greens
  • Chickpea bread
  • Coconut cookies with unrefined sugar
  • Lots of SOUPS
  • Chickpea crepes
  • Artichokes fried in bean flour and sunflower oil
  • Lemon jelly and Nepal cactus jelly
  • Veggie soup with a little salt and miso

Next time I go to Naples, I will probably have to have at least one of their indescribably delectable pizzas. But if I’m with a gluten-free vegetarian, looks like meals don’t have to be sparse. I’ll have to find this Antonella character…


One comment on “Postcard from Abroad: Cibo Napolitano

  1. Peter says:

    The WWOOF program is a fabulous way to experience farming life and to help support organic agriculture. While it is commonly refereed to as Willing Workers on Organic Farms the acronym means “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”. You can find the web site at

    Great Blog – makes me hungry!

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