Come and read how easy it was for me to be a vegan abroad!
Rome is filled with meat and dairy and with Italy being famous for its ham’s and cheese’s at first, I wondered if I would even be able to survive….
We arrived in Rome around 1pm on the Tuesday afternoon, our Airbnb host picked us up from the station and gave us a special tour of the neighborhood that we would be living in for the next week.
We were staying in Pigneto, a small neighborhood east of Rome where the buildings are covered in tasteful graffiti and quirky art. A very quiet place to be during the day, but at night time the streets are filled with young people relaxing on the roadside outside of bars, children playing in the streets and families spilling out of the local pizzerias. The atmosphere was relaxing and fun.
A short 5 minute walk from our apartment were 2 supermarkets, but we only ventured into the one closest to us during the first half of our trip, the supermarket (Conad City) had a great range of fresh fruits and vegetables, a large variety of different plant milks and even a little meat free section in the chiller where you could find tofu, seitan and bean burgers.
We got a watermelon that weighed about 15kgs for 4 euros!
I was amazed at how cheap fresh fruit and veg was in Rome, much cheaper than back here in England. But the cost of other alternative food items such as plant milks and mock meats is about the same, at least there were no nasty surprises.
However just around the corner to the aisle where the plant milks are kept was the deli section of the supermarket that was set up more like a butchery… So if you are someone who really cannot stand the sight or smell of meat and cheese I would say, maybe head over to the other supermarket across the road as the meat and cheese section in Conad is pretty big and the smell is not pleasant… apart from that, buying groceries in Rome was easy! We bought pasta, passata, fresh veggies and olives for the days where we didn’t eat out and fresh fruit for breakfast.
This was the first meal I had in Rome, a simple tomato pasta with green beans, spinach & mushroom! Delish! Oh and the guy we rented the apartment from left some Peroni in the fridge I was very grateful for that 🙂
FYI – A large bottle of Peroni is 75 cents in local supermarkets in Rome! BARGAIN!
A quick walk from our apartment was a cute quirky outdoor coffee shop / bar called Necci. I wish I had taken more pictures now because it was very nice! They only had one vegan option which was a little strange but oh my did it taste good! It was a black vegan burger, when I say black I mean the bun was black but not burned… just dyed black like the ones you find in Japan! It was filled with roasted vegetables in a delicious garlicky sauce. This burger was so good in fact it made it into my top 5 vegan burgers!
I was already hopeful about Rome being a little more vegan friendly than other foreign cities, as they have my favorite food… PIZZA! and you can veganize a pizza pretty much everywhere by removing the cheese. But I was even more suprised to see that many restaurants already offered a separate vegan menu. So I was doing a little research in the apartment one evening and found this great restaurant called Origano, they offered a lot of different types of pizza and clearly stated what was vegan! Plus if you booked with them online through Trip Advisor they gave you 20% off your food bill. So that kinda sealed the deal!
Here is a link to their site so you can check out their menu
The staff were very friendly and more than accommodating, I just told them I was vegan and they made sure my pizza came without cheese. I got the vegan mushroom pizza but I asked for their ‘Tofu Cheese’ on top which is basically just uncooked tofu, I’ve never tried tofu on pizza before, but it gives it something extra!
Overall our experience at Origano was amazing, we even ended up being sat on a table next to 2 older American ladies who just so happened to be vegan! The staff were friendly, the meal wasn’t pricey it cost about 30 euros for us both, we each had a pizza and shared a side of chips and salad and I had a wine (my boyfriend doesn’t drink). I would say that isn’t bad for a lovely meal in Rome.
For dessert we headed to the Trevi Fountain area as I knew there was cheeky little ice cream shop around there somewhere called Blue Ice, these are a chain of gelato parlous in Rome and offer vegan ice cream and sorbet among their huge variety of other ice creams (shame they weren’t all vegan) after a lot of waling around eventually we found it, the first parlour we went to only offered sorbet as a vegan option but it was delicious! I had a mixture if lemon, wild berry and passion-fruit. A pot of 2 scoops cost 4 euros, this may sound pricey but they are very generous!
During the first few days of our trip to Rome we visited a sandwich restaurant called Universo Vegano, they are a 100% vegan restaurant offering a wide range of sandwiches, soups and salads all made fresh right in front of you. Even though this is a chain restaurant I was very surprised at how low key and no frills it is. They offer sandwiches, burgers and wraps and the cost of each one varies from 5.95 to 8.95 Euros. On our first visit to Universo we each got one sandwich, I had the mushroom burger and my boyfriend got the Vegan Chop, I have to say out of the 2 I preferred the vegan chop but overall both sandwiches were delicious, along with their individual burger they were filled with salad, vegan mayo, vegan cheese and on a delicious freshly baked bread.
In fact we loved this place so much on our second to last night in Rome we decided to head there for dinner (they are open until 11:30pm) this time we went all out and got 3 sandwiches! The lovely girl working there split each one into 2 without us even asking, I think she knew that we wanted to do a big taster of 3 of their tastiest looking sandwiches!
We got the Seitan Tuna, Vebab -Kebab Wrap and the Beach Burger… AH SOO GOOD!! Personal favorite out of these had to be the beach burger! It was big and full of flavour!
Then we finished off the night with a trip to another Blue Ice parlor, this one had ice cream options that were labeled vegan! I cant remember the exact combination I got now, but it was amazing!!! One of them tasted like Ferrero Rocher!
One warning when visiting these Blue Ice Parlors – ALWAYS ask a staff member if the flavour you want contains milk even if it says (made of soy) on the label. When we asked about another flavour that was labeled “soy” the lady said that it also contained milk…
I’m hoping to make this a new series, where I make a post like this every time I travel to show people how wasy it is to find vegan food when going abroad and venturing out of your comfort zone.
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“When humans act with cruelty we characterize them as “animals”, yet the only animal that displays cruelty is humanity.” -Anthony Douglas Williams
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