Chef Nicola Territo: Merry Christmas, gluten free!

Chef Nicola Territo: Merry Christmas, gluten free!

How can Christmas be merry at that table if you suffer from celiachia (coeliac disease)?

«No problem» answers unhesitatingly Nicola Territo, the young chef of Trana (in Turin).

«Just buy the ingredients without gluten in your local pharmacy or at the supermarket, read the labels carefully, and then let your fantasy be your guide,» explains Nicola, who has been an expert on gluten-free cuisine for years, after his wife discovered she was a coeliac.

«It wasn’t easy at the beginning – the chef admits – but my wife and I found fell into synch and now even I eat the food I prepare for her. The secret is to use natural ingredients that can enhance every flavour and dish.»

Nicola Territo does not think of himself as a professional chef. For years he has edited the gluten-free section of the Italian cooking blog called ‘Giallozafferano’, then later decided to create a blog of his very own called ‘Cucinandosenzaglutine’ – or Cooking without gluten’. He has also created a support group made of people with coeliacs in their families or who suffer from this particular intolerance that often becomes more difficult during the Christmas or Easter holiday seasons.

Here are some gluten-free recipes recommended by Nicola Territo for Christmas, which is just around the corner:


Finger food with San Carlo Rustiche crisps and Philadelphia Cream Cheese, aromatized with dips made of anchovies, capers, mint, and balsamic vinegar.


Nests of prawn tails in a sauce made of cherry tomatoes, creamed broad beans, and soft cheese (preferably crescenza) aromatized with lemon and white wine. Make a basket from gluten-free flat bread to serve the mixture.

primo piattoFirst course

Timbale of gluten-free pasta with smoked salmon and white sauce. Aromatize with chives and freshly ground black pepper.

salmone in crostaEntrée

Salmon disk in crust alternated with a second disk of dentex in gluten-free breading with oven-baked potatoes aromatized with white wine and caramelized marrow.


Tiramisù with gluten-free savoiardi (a type of lady finger) biscuits dipped in coffee with a dash of liqueur, with Italian meringue prepared with beer.

Italian meringue is generally used as a base for other sweets, like mousses or other creamy desserts. It is unlike the French one because the doses change, because the sugar is added after being dissolved in water and brought to a high temperature of (121 °C). By using beer, it is possible to lower the temperature to 68 °C. The sugar is poured into the whites while they are still being beaten. The rest of the ingredients and procedure are those of classic tiramisù. As an alternative or addition, Territo also proposes a cup of ricotta with caramelized almonds alternated with a puff-pastry wafer crumbled and prepared with chestnut honey.

Those who suffer from coeliac disease will certainly be satisfied and may even decide to cook this gluten free menu for friends and relatives without having to compromise on flavour and flair.


Daniela Spalanca