Vegan Toothpaste in Italy

Vegan Toothpaste in Italy

Ciao a tutti! One usually doesn’t think of toothpaste (dentifricio) as being the top of the list…until there isn’t any left. It is a sometimes forgotten, but very important item. Anything we use 3 times a day (once after every meal!) is important!

For vegans it can sometimes be challenging finding toothpaste that is cruelty-free and vegan. If you do find it, it may still have fluoride in it which has been linked to several health problems.

If you are looking in local pharmacies (farmacie) or supermarkets (supermercati), you are going to have a difficult time. Most of the time the health products they carry are from big industrial giants. So to begin, we have to look at the health food stores or the herbal shops (erboristerie).

You will be able to find most of what you need at some health food stores. Stores like NaturaSi carry several health and toiletry items. One popular brand that can be found pretty internationally is Weleda. In fact, they make several items that are holistic, natural, Eco and vegan friendly.

The toothpaste is usually carried at stores in Italy. But every store is different. Sometimes you will have to do an online search and order it directly from the Weleda website. You may find the toothpaste in one store, but not another. The toothpaste you would look for is:

  • Gel dentifricio vegetale – Weleda

Bjobj Toothpaste can be found at most stores. The name you would look for is: Dentifricio Gel Eucalipto e Malva: Toothpaste Gel with Eucalyptus and Mallow and it costs around 6 Euros.

veganOK symbolArgital is another brand that is cruelty-free and does not add fluoride in their toothpaste. To make sure they are vegan friendly look for the “vegan OK” certification. Some of their toothpaste is not vegan. The toothpaste listed below is not certified vegan since they are made with bee products/byproducts:

  • Dentifricio Dentie e Propoli (Toothpaste with propolis)

Another brand you can try is called Kingfisher Fennel. They have versions with fluoride and versions without fluoride and are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. You can purchase it online. It is made in the UK and they will ship to Italy.

If you don’t mind about the fluoride and want a more economical toothpaste, you can go with vegan-friendly LaVera. They make 2 toothpastes that are vegan:

  • Lavera Basis Sensitiv – Dentifricio alla Menta
  • Lavera Basis Sensitiv Dentifricio

You can find it on their websites, which is also in English or you may try searching the words directly in Italian.

If all else fails, you can always make your own! It is actually pretty easy and ingredients are readily available in the local supermarket. Thousands of recipes can be found all over the internet. This would also be the most cost effective option! After all, before the invention of toothpaste and toothbrushes, did you know that the Roman Gladiators used only a sage leaf to clean their mouths??

VegItalyGuide.com

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Pizza Robusta con Seitan

Pizza Robusta con Seitan

Ciao a tutti! We made a pizza today and didn’t have a particular name for it, so we invented one: Pizza Robusta con Seitan, which literally would be “robust pizza with Seitan”! We put everything onto this pizza, so it seemed appropriate.

Here is what we did for the ingredients:

300 grams or 2-2 1/2 cups wheat/rye flour mix (for one pizza in pan size 9X11)
100 grams (about 5 ounces) tomato paste
1 tablespoon capers
1-2 cloves garlic
1 onion (small-medium)
2 potatoes
2 carrots
1 zucchini
2 broccoli stems (on pizza they work nice, otherwise they are too hard to eat steamed)
6-7 black olives, pitted and sliced
50 grams or 1 cup frozen peas
1/4 head of cauliflower or 1 cup
spinach
130 grams/4-5 ounces Seitan
oregano
olive oil
salt (as needed)

We started by making the crust. We used 100 grams rye flour and 200 grams whole wheat flour. We added a teaspoon of salt, olive oil and warm water. The consistency with this flour will be more dense and take more kneading power. Also, it does not roll out as easily as white flour. The taste is a more hearty taste, though and is better for the health than processed white flour.

veganpizzacrust

Add a bit of olive oil before adding the sauce. That way the dough will remain a bit softer. For the sauce we used tomato paste. Add equal amounts of water with the paste into a bowl and thoroughly mix. Then spread onto the pizza crust.

veganpizzasauce

We also added capers and garlic for extra taste. Then begin by adding a bit of oregano, salt if you want salt and then the vegetables. For this pizza we added the sliced onions first, then potatoes, carrots, zucchini and cauliflower.

pizzarobustaconseitan2

We put this into the pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F (about 180 degrees C). When it was just about cooked, about 5-8 minutes before being done, we took it out and added the peas and the spinach. Then we put a bit more olive oil on top.

pizzarobustaconseitan

Buon Appetito!

VegItalyGuide.com

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Broccoli and Veggie Burger Panino

Broccoli and Veggie Burger Panino

Ciao a tutti! Looking to add a bit of spice to your panini? There are plenty of other ingredients to add besides the traditional faux cheese, lettuce and tomato!

In this one we added our lentil burgers that we made and froze from a few days ago. We took out a burger and heated it up a couple minutes in a non-stick ceramic pan.

We toasted the bread, too, so it is nice and crunchy! Here is a really quick recipe for a really fresh panino!

2 Toasted Slices Rye and Whole Wheat mix bread
3 Big Broccoli
1 Homemade Veggie Burger in Pieces/Strips
Sun dried Tomatoes
Shredded Cabbage (lightly sauteed)
Faux Vegan Cheese (we used mozzarella)
olive oil
oregano

Since the bread and burger were already warm, we drizzled Italian olive oil onto the bread then added the faux mozarella cheese right away to melt it a bit. On top of the cheese we added the freshly sauteed cabbage. The broccoli were raw, however can also be steamed if one wants them softened a bit.

Let us know how you liked it!! Ciao!!

Panino Broccoli e Veg Burger 11

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Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and hot peppers

Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and hot peppers

Ciao a tutti!

In the region of Campania we find a traditional vegan dish such as this one that is really easy to make: Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino (Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and hot peppers).

spaghetti aglio e olio -

There are many regions that would like to make claim to this dish. In fact, it is famous in all of Italy. It did get it’s roots in Campania in the city of Naples. It is usually considered a poor persons dish. In fact many students like this dish because it is quick to make, economical, but very tasty!

Garlic and olive oil are 2 condiments that are extremely simple to use, but full of taste. In this recipe long pasta is used: spaghetti, vermicelli or linguine.

The ingredients call for 200 grams of pasta. (About 100 grams per person). Let the pasta boil for about 10 minutes until it reaches al dente. In the meantime sautee’ together the garlic, olive oil and a bit of hot peppers. After the pasta is ready it can be directly mixed with the oil, garlic and peppers.

The quality of olive oil is important for the taste and also for mixing the pasta together. If not enough oil is added or the quality is not so good, the pasta will become dry.

Variations are used throughout Italy. Some recipes like to add parsley (prezzemolo) for a nice green garnish. Other recipes may call for bread crumbs. Bread crumbs being used were sometimes called the “poormans” variation. Breadcrumbs, also, will not alter the taste as in other variations.

One other variation not vegan, and not traditional of this dish, is that some restaurants may add grated parmesan cheese. Watch out for that if dining in restaurants.

Spaghetti_agroncint

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Vegan Flatbread from Sardinia

Vegan Flatbread from Sardinia

Ciao a tutti!

Pane carasau is a traditional flatbread of Sardinia: and it is 100% vegan.

The flatbread is actually a quite ancient recipe and can keep for months. Ingredients are water, salt, flour and yeast: exactly what bread ingredients should be!

Pane-Carasau_large

It can be similar to the flatbread found in the middle east and many other parts of the world. Many times this flatbread is used as a base for other recipes, such as lasagna.

It can be found all throughout Sardinia and has the nickname “music sheet” because of its crunchy consistency. The sardinian word carasare means to cook twice.

After the dough is made, it should be rolled out into very thin sheets and then ideally cooked in a wood oven at a very high temperature (450°-500° Celcius). It usually inflates like a balloon.

pane_carasau

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Typical Festive Bread from Sardinia

Typical Festive Bread from Sardinia

Ciao a tutti!

Typical Festive Bread from Sardinia

Unfortunately you are not going to find many traditional plates that are vegan. Even the traditional salad here is “Insalata di Mare” (seafood salad). But here is one bread you will not have to worry about if you are attending a wedding meal.

Funny name, maybe, but 100% vegan. “Sa fruttera” di nozze is the name of this typical festive bread from Sardinia.

“Sa fruttera” di nozze

The ingredients are simply flour, salt and yeast. This bread takes about 2 hours to prepare, 1 hour to rise and about one hour to cook. Most of the preparation time is going to be used making the flower-like decorations. After the bread has risen you can start to model the bread with your hands by making flowers, fruits, hearts, leaves etc. The bottom part will be made in a form similar to twisted bread.

The difficult part comes when you have to take it out of the oven. After removal it is dipped into boiling water for a couple seconds and then immediately removed. This will make the bread become “shiny” or more luminous.

Put it back into the oven for another 5 minutes until it has a golden crust to it. It can then be served.

It is used most often for wedding dinners and is a bread used to decorate the wedding table, but is also eaten. This bread can be conserved and will last months.

VegItalyGuide.com

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Horse meat is eaten in Italy

Horse meat is eaten in Italy

ZioGio_01When we think of horses we think of wild, free and sensitive animals; most people would not consider killing horses for food. But in Italy horse meat is eaten. It can even be found in baby food. This is something that most tourists going to Italy do not know about. And in fact something that vegans and animal activists in Italy are very concerned about.

Horse in Italian is cavallo. It comes under the name carne di cavallo, which literally means horse meat. Bresaola, a popular type of sliced meat in Italy, is often made from horse meat. It will usually be marked bresaola di cavallo, but sometimes is also made from cow.

cavalli-maltrattati-big-beta-2Horses are exploited in other arenas such as polo games, horse racing and other sports. In Europe, horses will fall into 2 categories: sport horses specifically raised to be slaughtered and sport horses that are only sport horses that should not be eaten. The sport horses that are sent to slaughter after their careers amounts to about 40%. Their meat is deemed “healthy”. The other 60% are not. These horses may have been given steoroids, antibiotics, injections and pharmaceuticals for racing and their meat is not deemed safe. It is deemed unsafe even for cat and dog food. However, it ends up in the food supply anyways, sometimes mixed with beef or other animal byproducts. So what happens?

It is illegal to use these horses for meat that were used specifically for sport. In Italy alone, about 300-800 thousand sport horses every year should be “retired” and living out the rest of their days, however they are unaccounted for. These horses have been sent to slaughter. Horse owners will sell them on the black market to avoid keeping them, since the costs of keeping a retired race horse can be costly. Horses that can normally live for up to 30 years will be used for food sometimes after only 2 or 3 years.

Thanks to vegans, activists and agencies such as the Italian Horse Protection Agency of Italy and Horse Angels, more is being done to spread the word and to tell people Stop! Horses, as all animals, are not our property and they are not for exploitation.

VegItalyGuide.com

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