As a coeliac – and a blogger – every time I travel I make an effort to do some research about the gluten-free options in the area that I’m staying. It’s always fascinating to see how they do gluten-free in another country, and I’d heard so much about gluten-free in Italy that I was desperately excited to gorge myself on treats.
Someone had put me in touch with Gilli Lewin, the owner of Gilli’s Holidays, a travel company specialising in hotels and resorts for coeliacs in Italy. We had arranged to meet for an interview and some lunch, so I travelled to Tignale, a small village about 30 minutes drive from where I was staying in Gardone. It’s a beautiful little village, and as Gilli had described it as a gluten-free paradise, I was raring to go.
We met at the Hotel Gallo, one of the hotels available to book through Gilli’s Holidays. I momentarily confused it with the Gallo people who make the stock cubes before realising that gallo is simply Italian for rooster. This hotel now uses only gluten-free flour, breadcrumbs etc in their kitchens, as well as having a completely separate gluten-free buffet, so there is no risk of cross contamination.
While drinking some absolutely wonderful prosecco, we chatted on the balcony about her business.
Gilli also very kindly took us to the pizzeria across the road, Al Torchio. She had mentioned that they used the DS gluten-free bases, and in my head I imagined the cardboard supermarket pizza bases. But I couldn’t have been more wrong! It turns out DS also supply pizza dough for trade, so this pizza was freshly rolled out and cooked to perfection. It may have been one of the best gluten-free pizzas I’d ever had – the base was very, very close to being a “normal” pizza.
I was very impressed with the amount of hotels and restaurants Gilli works with to create these amazing holidays for coeliacs. I haven’t been keen on any kind of catered accommodation since my diagnosis, but the peace of mind that comes from staying in a hotel that understands coeliac disease is a huge draw, and we were both utterly sold on the beautiful village of Tignale. The views were incredible!
If you are interested in booking with Gilli, you can contact her by e-mail, via her website or on her Facebook page. She was extremely approachable and knowledgeable about coeliac disease, and seems to have a great range of accommodation to choose from!