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!
That pizza looks incredible, I NEED to go to Lake Garda!
The Happy Coeliac says
You won’t regret it – it’s a gluten-free paradise!
Andy Gardner says
We first found Gilli when I booked to take my family away to celebrate my wifes 40th. I felt guilt that every year on holiday we had to go self catering or be poisoned, Gilli phoned and organised everything and nothing was to much hassle. Just to add another problem into the equasion all four of us are also vegaterians, so if Gilli can sort us out she can sort anyone out.
We love Tignal and have been back every year since 2007, infact twice in 2008, if that not a recomendation I don’t know what is. The people in the hotels and town are amongst the friendliest on the face of the planet and we now think of them more as friends. As we enter the hotel, the pizzeria, the pharmacy in fact all of the shops we are always greeted with a smile and a warm welcome.
We have already booked 2015, we sat with Gilli on our terrace in the sunshine, a glass of wine in hand and organised it while we were still there.
Ps the pizza is incredible, usually have at least 6 over two weeks, the first a few minuets after the car gets unloaded.
The Happy Coeliac says
That’s great that you have had such positive experiences year after year! I can imagine eating nothing but pizza for a week if I stayed in Tignale! 😉
Andy Gardner says
We drive out every year mainly to do a good deal of our years gluten free shopping. The pasta is a bit cheaper, the risotto rice is practically being given away and dried wild mushrooms are dirt cheap, also the selection of cakes and biscuits is enormous, and readily available in the supermarkets. This year we spent nearly 400 euro in Tignals pharmacy alone and probably another 200 euro else where.