I’ve already talked pizza and pasta – here are some more unusual additions to my top five foodie discoveries in Rome…
These strange looking bulb-like vegetables were relatively alien to me until this trip. I’d had one or two from a jar placed on top of a pizza a couple of times, but that’s about it. Whilst planning for my Roman holiday, I read about how spring is artichoke season and since we were staying near the Jewish Ghetto, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try them in their traditional form.
Twice we visited Il Giardino Romano and twice I ordered traditional Jewish style fried globe artichokes known as Carciofo alla giudia. With their buttery soft centre and crispy fried leaves, they were a real treat.
To me, the idea of ordering a glass of wine then getting free access to a buffet of beautiful regional Italian food is like being invited to heaven. So, trying out Italian ‘Aperitivo’ was top of my foodie to do list in Rome. This is a trend that originated in Milan and has exploded in popularity in the capital.
We headed to Fafiuche in the trendy Monti area as it was recommended in our Lonely Planet. This narrow eatery with it’s cheerful bright blue and orange chairs and shelves full of Italian wine for sale was a very pleasant place to sit, whilst cradling a large glass of fruity Montepulciano. For just eight Euros we got a glass of wine each and access to a range of beautiful Italian fare from the buffet – from mortadella and fennel speckled salami, to olive oil sprinkled bread, freshly cut beef tomatoes, couscous and vegetable pasta. I remarked that an aperitivo bar would do well in Britain – but Jake rightly said that it wouldn’t work as well, because how could you possible offer Italian food and wine of this quality and at this low price in England?
I can but dream…
I’ve already written a post about Grom, the little gelataria we visited three times during our week in Rome. (Needless to say I felt a little rounder at the end of this trip!) The flavours of gelato at this place are very special and it tastes so pure and fresh – some ice cream can taste very fake and manufactured. In contrast, my pistaccio ice cream at Grom, tasted as though the only ingredients were blended pistaccio, cream and perhaps a dash of sugar.
We discovered an equally magical gelataria in upmarket Prati near the Vatican City. I’d read about the unusual flavours on offer here so I pushed the boat out and ordered one scoop of red rice and rose buds and another scoop of banana with sesame seed brittle. The red rice gelato reminded me of travelling in Japan back in 2008, where I drank copious amounts of rose bud tea. The sesame brittle in the other gelato was covered in dark chocolate and provided a crunchy and sweet contrast. Had I discovered the perfect gelato pairing?