My culinary adventure in Italy began in Bergamo! Bergamo is a small and beautiful town not far from Milan, which many Brits are only familiar with because Ryanair fly there from the UK. It’s quite fast to go directly from Bergamo airport to Milan, but I think it’s definitely worth spending a little time in Bergamo itself too, so we stayed there for one night when we arrived in Italy in July.
It’s not exactly a vegan haven, but there are some solid options. We were staying just down the road from Universo Vegano, a vegan fast food chain which we spotted in most cities we visited in Italy. It’s a nice, bright place with quick and cheerful service. The menu is quite extensive, though it’s all bread-based: various kinds of wraps, sandwiches, burger, focaccia, etc. And the menu is in both English and Italian, to make things easier for us tourists. The staff also spoke English on our visit, and were very friendly. There were quite a few seats inside (and a dog bowl too, so your canine companions are welcome), but it’s also possible to get takeaway.
Dr HH tried the vegan chop, which is a little difficult to spot amongst all that salad. It was good though – the soy cutlet was really nice, but was a little overwhelmed by all the mayo and cheese. The bread was excellent, really seedy and crisp.
My dish was the clear winner: this mushroom burger was so full of flavour, it was really beautiful. Again, the bread was good and crisp. This was a fine start to the holiday, if not particularly Italian – it took us a few days to get anything Italian (besides gelato – more on that to come!). There were also some elegant-looking desserts, but we just didn’t have room and were keen to get exploring.
From Universo Vegano it’s a short walk uphill to the old town, lording it over the rest of the city. It’s pleasant to wander along the main street of the old town, peering in the little shops and eateries. The main square is very photogenic, and leads to two huge churches. Very fancy!