Pasta, Pizza, e Pane: Low-Carb Italy?
It begins in the morning at the corner cafe’ with a capuccino and cornetto. The coffee’s milk is frothed to perfection, often with decorative swirls across the top, reminiscent of a bookbinder’s carta marmorizzata, or marbleized paper. Combined with the caffeine, the cornetto croissant gives me the first carb crescendo of the day.
Misha and Grisha share in the moment, tails wagging wildly as a saucer of warm, white milk is placed before their tank-like black bodies. The Scotties could not love this morning snack any more than a self-respecting cat, but then they don’t care about any kind of diet plan.
No matter where I go for lunch or dinner, pasta, pizza, or pane will be found somewhere on the menu. But even the pizza in Italy is well beyond pedestrian, whether thin potato slices on dough drizzled with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and sprinkled with rosemary, or a cheese pizza with shavings of truffles and mushrooms… ahh… tartufi e funghi.
Che buona! Who can think of Atkins at a time such as this? Take three bites and call it a day. Everyone knows that walking on cobblestones burns twice as many calories as normal.
Make no mistake about it, I’ve been numbered among pazza (crazy) people counting carbs in Italia: eggs for la prima colazione, salad for il pranzo:Â how many carbs are there in la mozzarella di bufala, anyway?, and sole, veal, or bistecca alla Fiorentina for la cena. Problem is:Â the ubiquitous bread basket beckons.
Whether sliced Italian rustic bread, or the hard and crusty white rolls, or the long and snappy Grissini breadsticks, one form or another would be sure to be lying in wait on the table.
Most of my life is spent on the run, wherever we are. And what does everyone gobble on the Italian autostrada? Panini (sandwiches) usually made from focaccia bread, and grilled in a flat iron. Unless I bought a salame and stuck it in my Prada purse, fascinating and fragrant an idea as that may be, there’s no hope to dodge the carbs.
Arrivederci, Dr. Atkins. The perils of Italian pane fresh from the oven have proven too strong to resist.
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