The foodie capital of the world. In this series of blog posts I look at my top five foodie experiences in this beautiful city starting with two good old favourites…
Back in England, neither of us are massive pizza lovers. But when you come to Rome, eating pizza is a whole different ball game.
We consumed it at least once each day during our time in the city in – pizzas by the slice from Antico Forno Urbani (Jewish bakery), Forno Roscioli and Forno di Campo de’ Fiori and in huge thin discs at Il Giardino Romano and Pizza Ivo in Trastevere. It was the latter two that topped my list of pizza experiences in Rome and for very different reasons.
Il Giardino Romano might not be well known for its pizza, but the thin crispy, garlic flavoured salty base coupled with the salty bresaola and peppery rocket created a blend of flavours and textures I hadn’t experienced before. And without tomato or cheese in sight.
In total contrast, the Capricciosa I ordered at Pizza Ivo was a gooey pizza with stringy mozzarella and rich tomato loaded with prosciutto, sausage, olives and mushrooms. Less delicate, maybe, but no less delicious.
The atmosphere in both of these places couldn’t have been more different either. Whereas Il Giardino Romano was a more subdued and classier dining experience, walking into Pizza Ivo reminded me of entering the Hacker beer tent at Oktoberfest in Munich last year. Large tables filled with raucous toursists and locals gorging themselves on delicious food and alcohol with waiters sweating and running from kitchen to customer carrying armfuls of giant plates, smiling and winking in the process.
It will perhaps come of no surprise that one of my missions on this foodie trip to Rome was to find delicious fresh pasta. This is exactly what we found at Il Mani in Pasta.
I had no idea what to order, so I just took a punt by selecting gnocchetti with fava beans, tomato and truffles. What came to the table was an exquisitely beautiful plate of small delicate curls of pasta decorated with flecks of green and red from the beans and tomatoes and draped in luxurious fronds of truffle shavings. This was the most incredible pasta dish I have ever eaten: soft pasta and firm fava beans (broad beans) balanced beautifully with the savoury, potent truffles which had a rich almost garlic flavour. Jake remarked that he could smell the truffles from where he was sitting!
I ate this dish as slowly as I could, savouring every last delicious mouthful, knowing I’d be hard pressed to find another pasta of this quality at home.
Stay tuned for the second part of my top five foodie discoveries in Rome.