Before anyone gets mad at me, I have no issues with people who are vegan. My argument here are reasons why you SHOULDN'T be a vegan in Italy. I'm also not here to say it isn't impossible...I know a few people who only eat fish, and I know one singular vegetarian, and one almost vegan- but that's for health reasons.
When I first moved over here, I was a self proclaimed pescetarian, meaning I would only eat fish. That lasted about 2 days, and then I couldn't take it anymore. This is not because I am a weak-willed person, this is because the cultural pressure and savory treats around me were too good to resist. From prosciutto, to salami and bresaola, and not to mention all the Italian sausage- I literally could not stay away.
I have *rather fortunately* ruined a few vegetarian friends as well from time to time with peer pressure, and I've never heard any regrets. The meat in Italy is just that amazing. Just have a few glasses of wine, and you might not even notice
So here are my reasons why you shouldn't be a vegan, or vegetarian, or any non-red meat eater in Italy.
Almost every single appetizer and meal has meat in it.
Seriously, prosciutto with melon, prosciutto with stracchino and coccoli, prosciutto with almost anything. Not to mention many crostini have meat on them. Or you know they just bring you out a plate of meat and cheese. I'm not complaining.
If it doesn't have meat, then it definitely has cheese.
Seriously. I don't know how you can travel in Italy (or France), and not be able to eat cheese! If you are lactose intolerant, I am so so so sorry for you, because the cheese here is the BOMB. If someone told me I had to either give up alcohol forever or cheese forever, after little debate I would choose cheese because I have a serious problem.
Usually it has both, or some blend of both.
Can you say pizza? Meat and cheese heaven! Most pastas also have either meat or cheese, and if they're the best kind they also probably have both. Antipasti? Sausage and cheese blended onto bread? YES! Also just go ahead and bring that meat and cheese plate out again... #CHOOSECHEESE
The best fresh pasta? That's made with eggs.
Carbonara, Tagliatelle, Ravioli, Tortellini- all made with eggs. If you're vegan say goodbye to the best pastas there are because sadly you will not be able to partake in this joyous occasion. There are, of course, other pastas you can eat...but no RAVIOLI?! I shed a tear at the thought.
Have you seen the open air meat markets?
It's like Christmas for meat eaters. Slightly sickening, but also an absolute treat for my refrigerator later on. Being able to walk up to the counter and ask for 2 kilos of salami (I won't say I haven't done it...) is a glorious moment in any person's life.
You're missing out on the whole experience of being in Italy.
Eating meat is as part of the Italian culture as drinking coffee in the morning and before bed. Not only that, but they're good at it too. If it's possible to be good at meat, Italy knows how to do it, the food culture in this country is very important, and it's almost insulting if you visit and don't partake. If you are a vegan, consider breaking your diet just a few times for the sake of a country who knows how to do it right. If you don't want to admit to anyone you broke fast, you don't have to...just allow you soul to revel in the joys of cheese and meat. You won't regret it.