Molten mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and yeast are the aromas that punctuate summer in Rome!
by Chris Livesay for NPR
On a recent day, 7-year-old Filippo Virgo has a hankering for pizza — a classic of the Eternal City. The problem is that Filippo has celiac disease. This means he gets sick from eating gluten — a protein found in wheat and other grains. So, pizza is usually out of bounds. And, for a second-grader, that’s a travesty.
Filippo’s family heads inside Il Tulipano Nero, a classic Italian restaurant — right down to the checkered tablecloth. The menu reads like a gluten minefield: linguine, penne, macaroni. But just when we fear Filippo is doomed to dine on pea soup, dinner is saved. The waiter comes by to tell him the food is gluten-free.
Tulipano Nero is one of nearly 4,000 gluten-free restaurants officially recognized by the Italian Celiac Association (AIC). There’s a great deal of public awareness in Italy about celiac disease. All Italian children are tested for it by the age of six. That’s how Filippo learned he had the disease. (See correction issued August 30, 2015 by the author.)