Ciao from Northern Italy!
This is the beginning of a lengthy journey around the world the next few months for work, travel and inspiration, and I am going to be sharing the adventure with you weekly! There is a movie shooting, another one that I’m working on the press tour for, and lots of writing and other meetings and adventures all along the way. Please also be sure to check out the weekly Youtube travelogue that I’ll be posting, so you can see a video version of all the beautiful sights and foods!
But for now I want to take you through these photos… please sit back and enjoy!!!
I’m currently in the Valle D’Aosta of Northern Italy, which is a few hours north of Milano. It is absolutely stunning- surrounded by snow-capped mountains and ancient castles, which are scattered throughout the countryside nearly as numerous as Walmarts back home.
It is pretty small and artisanal, and no one really speaks any English at all, unlike other large cities in Italy I’ve been to! Which I LOVE. I feel like I’m really traveling. I’ve learned a few key words, including the word “funghi” for mushrooms and other vegetable words.
We were situated in a town square of a small town yesterday for the whole day, and I happened to wander a few blocks around town by myself, and found these 2000 year old ruins! An ancient theater and walls all around… Surprises are everywhere.
There are so many of the winding, charming streets and alleys to explore that categorize Italy and other parts of Europe here.
This picture is from the early morning of my hotel room. The sky isn’t blue yet, but you can see the mountains from every window of the hotel, and you can even see one of the famous castles if you really stick your head out and look to the left.
I have to say that I was a little worried about the food situation over here before I left. While it’s never a problem for me to eat in Asia or Africa, Italy is classically known as the land of pizza, meat dishes, cheese varieties and gluten-filled pasta dishes! But it’s been actually super easy, and I’ve eaten so well and it’s all been delicious.
First of all, I’ve been eating large salads. I like how they put the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the table and let you mix it yourself. I’ve been having more balsamic vinegar that I’ve had in a long time. I usually request olives in the salad if they don’t already put them, which I mix in instead of olive oil.
I’ve been getting a lot of vegetable plates. They have beautiful greens (like mache, which is grown locally), spinach, mushrooms, potatoes, zucchini (corguettes) , raddicio, cabbage, carrots, etc.
I just tell them to make me a big veggie plate with whatever they have. No one has ever once been weird to me at all about it or said no or acted like it was a strange request. Not once, nothing snobby at all!
I’ve also been getting huge veggie soups made with water or veggie broth, and without barley or any pasta (both of which have gluten). I may have indulged in just a little cheese-less, veggie and sauce-filled pizza (hey, I am in Italy after all!), but for the most part I’ve been able to easily avoid gluten.
But I DO like to be really flexible when I travel, because being rigid about choices and getting upset if things aren’t “perfect” affects digestion negatively as well. I’ve been having a lot more oil than I usually have, because with the cooked veggies comes a lot of oil (I haven’t been able to explain to use less), but I haven’t eaten any avocado since I’ve been here either so I don’t feel too overloaded with fat.
I do miss my GGS! I will be able to have it later on in the journey, but not now. For breakfast, I’ve been eating lots of fruit.
Then when I get hungry a little big later, I’ve been eating a big salad with olives and sundried tomatoes (they don’t have oatmeal or anything like that here), which tides me over to lunch. I can pretty much order it and get it easily anywhere I am. Then the veggies/soups/mushrooms/more salads begins at lunch!
I also have some almonds, and nuts are abundant here, so that helps if I run into a bind and need some to chomp on!
I found an amazing “Atelier de Chocolat” and tried all their different dark chocolates. Admittedly, I’ve been on an Italian chocolate splurge, which I don’t feel guilty about at all. The Italian shopgirl and I didn’t speak each others’ languages, but we spoke chocolate! I was in there for a while as she showed me her dark faves, sans “lai____” or milk.
Look at these tools that are all made out of chocolate! So life-like, right!?
Mushrooms seem to be a big specialty in this region, and I sure eat them a lot. Check out these bella mushroom platter plates!
This isn’t real snow, it was made for the set. But there is real snow up in the mountains, which looks so gorgeous!
Italian is one of the happiest sounding, most beautiful languages, and I love the passion with which people talk and express with their hands, even in the street when they are on their cell phone, and the person they are talking to can’t see them!
There are so many ancient castles to explore and it has been a dream to get to be here and be able to visit so much ancient history.
Gratzia malto for sharing this amazing adventure with me! I am very grateful to be here, and even more grateful to be sharing with you!