Hi friends, I’m celiac since 2010 and this is my gluten free guide to Ovada (Piedmont, Italy)
Being gluten free in Ovada is quite a good experience. Who’d have thought that Italy, the home of pizza and pasta, would be also amazing for gluten free?
Ovada is a small town in southern Piedmont, almost near the border with Liguria. It is surrounded by hills and low mountains, there are numerous vineyards in the surrounding area. It is a good starting point for excursions by foot or bicycle.
In the last two years several foreigners, especially Dutch, French and Germans have finally begun to discover Ovada and its surroundings. Since I am celiac, I’ve asked myself: <will be any celiac among them? If yes, how could I help them?>
So I thought of writing a post in order to help those people who need to eat gluten-free because of celiac disease or gluten intolerance or non-celiac gluten sensitivity or maybe because it’s trendy!
In Italy the foods that are suitable for coeliac people may be labelled with the writing “senza glutine” (it means gluten free) and/or with the crossed grain symbol. If a food is labeled “senza glutine” (gluten free), it must have less than 20 ppm of gluten (EU reg. no. 609/2013, EU reg. no. 828/2014).
GF restaurant card:
You can download an Italian GF restaurant card from this site -> http://www.celiactravel.com/cards/italian/ . Please note that this card doesn’t make clear mention of the cross contamination concerns!
Eating out (breakfast, coffee break, luncheon, snack):
In this small coffee bar you can drink the best Italian Espresso in town.
There are various GF sweet snacks, GF candies, GF chocolates (brand: Novi), GF ice creams (brand: Algida). They are industrial and packaged products, not fresh artisan products. Besides, coffee (espresso, long, double, american style) and cappuccino are safe because barley coffee is made with a separate machine.
Opening times: open from 5am to 7pm (monday/friday), saturday open from 5 am to 2pm, closed on sunday.
Bar Corso | Corso Martiri della Libertà 68, 15076 Ovada, Italy | ph.: +39 346 312 3710 | website/FB: none
There are few GF sweet snacks. Sometimes, there’s also a fresh artisan unpackaged GF cake. The sweet snacks are industrial and packaged products. Besides, coffee (espresso, long, double, american style) and cappuccino are safe because barley coffee is made with a separate machine. The venue is in the square located in front of city hall.
Opening times: open daily from 7am to 10pm, closed on sunday.
Gelato @ Caffè
Here you can enjoy both good artisanal ice creams and sorbets. Some flavours are gluten-free: ask the staff for information. In addition to the cup, it is also possible to have a GF wafer cone. Opening times: /
Gelato @ Caffè | Via G. D. Buffa 15, 15076 Ovada, Italy | ph.: / | website/FB
Eating out tips (lunch & dinner):
Pizzeria Ristorante Napoli (*)
Do you want to taste the real Neapolitan pizza? The one with the high border can only be found at Pizzeria Napoli, both normal and gluten free version. The venue is part of the network of the Italian Coeliac Association.
The most of the menu is also available in a gluten free version: you can enjoy GF pasta, GF meat or fish courses, GF desserts, GF beers. The staff can help you with all information about GF options. The staff is very well-informed of gluten-free and cross-contamination.
The gluten free pizza dough is very tasty and prepared fresh every day by the owner, no frozen or industrial bases are used. GF pizzas are cooked in a separate oven. Look at the two photos below: they refer to two gluten free pizza.
Important: when the waiter gives the GF pizza to you, check that the dish is coloured. It’s a distinctive sign!
Opening times: open daily from 7pm to midnight, closed on monday. Reservation recommended.
Ristorante Pizzeria Napoli | Corso Saracco 183, 15076 Ovada, Italy | ph.: +39 0143 1430466 | website/FB
Pizzeria Ristorante Il Girasole (*)
The venue is part of the network of the Italian Coeliac Association. Some items of the menu are also available in a gluten free version: you can also enjoy GF pasta, GF soups, GF meat or fish courses, GF desserts. Some gluten free beers are available. The staff can help you with all information about GF options. The gluten free pizza dough is quite good and prepared by the owner, no industrial bases are used. GF pizzas are cooked in a separate oven. Here GF pizza is thin and crunchy, look at the underlying photo.
– lunch: open daily from monday to saturday from midday to 2pm, closed on sunday.
– dinner: open daily from thursday to saturday from 7pm to 11pm, closed on monday, thuesday, wednesday, sunday.
Ristorante Pizzeria Il Girasole | Via Molare 75, 15076 Ovada, Italy | ph.: +39 380 1857059 | website/FB
In this small venue it’s possible to eat a very good “farinata”. What is that? It’s a sort of flatbread made with simple ingredients such as chick pea flour, water, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. This is the basic recipe but there are several variations. It’s baked in a very big copper pan, better if in a wood oven, it’s soft in the middle and the surface is crusty. It’s a typical Ligurian street food but you can find also in south Piedmont.
This tavern is not big but rustic and comfortable. There are some tables inside and a small but pretty outdoor summer area. This venue also serves other dishes such as pizza, chopping boards with cheeses and/or cold cuts, desserts, pasta and meat dishes. In any case it is reported that only the “farinata” is gluten free! There’s also a crossed grain symbol on the menù near “farinata”. One GF beer is also available. Take care: no pizza is suitable for coeliacs.
There are four variations of “farinata”:
– classic farinata (as per the above mentioned basic recipe)
– farinata with “stracchino” (a typical fresh and soft Italian cow’s-milk cheese)
– veggie farinata with onions or rosemary or courgettes
– special farinata with gorgonzola (a savory Italian blue cheese) or sausage
Opening times: open daily from 5pm to 11pm
L’antica farinata | Via Gilardini 72, 15076 Ovada, Italy | ph.: +39 346 2204111 | website/FB
This winery in the historical center of Ovada offers a refined cuisine and an excellent choice of wines and champagne. Some cullinary proposals can be adapted to coeliacs but it is necessary to consult with the staff. Nice summer dehor.
Opening times: 6pm-00pm from tuesday to sunday, closed on monday.
Ristorante-champagneria QuartinoDiVino | Via Roma 23, 15076 Ovada, Italy | Ph.: +39 0143 381155 | website/FB
Eating out in the surroundings (lunch and dinner):
Agriturismo La Selva
This holiday farm with restaurant is located not far from Montaldo Bormida, a small nice village approx 16km far from Ovada. Upon request is possible to have GF options. Reservation compulsory.
Agriturismo la Selva | Regione Baretta Selvaggia 66, 15010 Montaldo Bormida, Italy | Ph.: +39 0143 876069 | website/FB
Agriturismo Albachiara (*)
This beautiful holiday farm in located in Carpeneto, approx 10km far from Ovada. The owners come from south Italy (Apulia) so the cuisine is a mix of Piedmontese recipes and typical Apulian cuisine. Their menu offers a wide variety of gluten free choices. The setting is very beautiful, the place is surrounded by greenery, there is also a lot of outdoor space for children and a nice summer dehor.
The venue is part of the network of the Italian Coeliac Association.
Agriturismo Albachiara | Casale Boscogrosso 215, 15071 Carpeneto, Italy | Ph. +39 0143 85176 | website/FB
Where to buy GF foods in Ovada:
It can seems strange but in Italy GF foods may be bought also in pharmacy or similar shops called “parafarmacia”. “Parafarmacia” means a shop where you can buy pharmaceutical products commonly called SOP and OTC for which there’s not obligation to present a specific medical prescription.
In this shop there’s a great choice of GF foods such as bread, pasta, biscuits, crackers, sweets, even frozen. It’s the most well-stocked shop with gluten free products in Ovada.
Opening times: from 8:30am to 12:30pm (monday to saturday) and 3:30pm to 7:30pm (monday to saturday), closed on sunday.
Parafarmacia Farmaigea | Largo Oratorio 20, 15076 Ovada, Italy | ph.: +39 0143 835009 | website/FB
This is a pharmacy. Here you can find a small choice of GF foods such as pasta, bread, biscuits, crackers, sweets, even frozen. The pharmacy is in front of the main church. Opening times: 3:30pm-7:30pm (monday), 8:30am-12:30pm (tuesday/friday), 3:30pm-7:30pm (tuesday/friday), 8:30am-12:30pm (saturday), closed on sunday.
Farmacia Frascara |
This supermarket offers a good range of GF food, even frozen. It’s the most stocked supermarket of GF foods in the city and the prices are good. After the entrance, on the left, there is the food department for various intolerances. Here are also many gluten free products such as bread, pasta, sweets, snacks, flours …. etc. The GF frozen products are in the freezer near normal foods. Sometimes it’s possible to buy some packaged GF fresh cakes (brand: Senza Peccato), they’re stocked in a fridge near the normal packaged fresh cakes.
Moreover many other products in the supermarket (for example cold cuts, chocolates, candies, sauces, ice-creams … etc) can have the writing “senza glutine” or the crossed grain symbol on the package.
Opening times: 08:00am – 08:00pm from (monday/saturday), 08:00am-01:00pm (sunday)
In this supermarket there are few GF products (product line “Free From”) such as flours, bread, crackers, biscuits. Opening times: 08:00am-9:30pm (monday/saturday), 09:00am-09:00pm (sunday)
Lidl | Strada Voltri 27, 15076 Ovada, Italy | website/FB
In this supermarket there are some GF products, they are on the shelf dedicated to food intolerance products. Besides, you can find other GF products on the other shelfes, together the normal products. There are two Bennet supermarket in Ovada: one is in the town and the other is close to the toll booth (it’s inside the big shopping center).
Bennet (Ovada) | Via Duchessa di Galliera 8, 15076 Ovada, Italy | website/FB
Bennet (Shopping Center) | Via Molino 1, 15070 Belforte Monferrato, Italy | website/FB
Il Piacere del Buon Gusto
Artisanal deli shop: some sauces are gluten free. Ask the staff for more info about GF.
Il Piacere del Buon Gusto | Via San Paolo della Croce 46, 15076 Ovada, Italy | Ph.: +39 0143 877347 | website/FB
Here’s the map “GF eating in Ovada” . Clicking on the symbol indicated by the brown arrow, the drop-down menu will open.
Only the venues marked with an asterisk (*) have been instructed by the dieticians of Italian Coeliac Association and/or by the local health inspectors. They have followed a specific training course and they are supervised every year. Besides, they belong to a GF network of Italian Coeliac Association and are listed in the printed guide and in the app “AIC Mobile” of this association.
All the other venues don’t belong to the GF network of Italian Coeliac Association. They are only “coeliac friendly”. It means that some of them could have followed partially the courses or, simply, be self-instructed. The key to eating out safely is to communicate with restaurant staff to explain your dietary requirements.
I advise always paying attention and verifying the truthfulness of the information contained in these links, also because the places indicated may in the meantime have changed management or, in any case, no longer provide meals and foods without gluten!
I also remember that, while advising and providing indications regarding exercises that propose a cuisine for special dietary requirements, I do not assume any responsibility for the safety of the service itself, which remains exclusively under the responsibility of the venue offering gluten free options.
For any further information on the premises and more generally on celiac disease in Italy, I recommend visiting the website of the Italian Coeliac Associations > http://www.celiachia.it/dieta/Dieta.aspx?SS=95&M=1280
Things to do 😉 :
Are you looking for ideas for hiking or biking in Ovada and its surroundings? Check out these articles then!