October 2nd 2018
As I sit down to write this blog, I have just said goodbye to Rome. Autumn has arrived and brings with it mild days and lovely light, much appreciated for outdoor walks and adventures in the capital.
Rome isn’t just about the Colosseum, Trevi Fountains and the Vatican, but its people, its produce and its weather all together make this city unique, as the locals say: la culla dell’umanità, the cradle of humankind.
Overwhelmed by choices, I decided to avoid the tourist crowds (almost impossible) and visit less chaotic spots, like Campo dei Fiori and Trastevere. Walking is the best way for me to experience a town and increase the appetite… I ended up wandering for over 15 kms.
In Rome there are so many places where you can eat and most of them offer good menus at a very reasonable price. But there is place you must visit when you are in Rome: Roscioli. Not only have I been struck by the quality, care and research behind this family run establishment, but also the Number 1 Chef in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Massimo Bottura, always visits their restaurant, deli, bakery, bar & patisserie when he is in Rome.
Everything is taken care of in a impeccable way by the professional and talented staff.
Having not booked at the restaurant I was lucky to find a spot at the bar next door. With space for just 10 guests this elegant back room has a perfectly casual ambience and guests are seated around the stylish and spacious rectangular bar.
The basket of home-made bread is a memorable treat, I usually skip bread because it makes me too full, but this bread is a pleasure for your senses and your tummy. It doesn’t fill you up even if you try all the types: olive, schiacciata (Tuscan flat bread), wholegrain, fig and dried fruits are all in the basket (and believe me I did try them all!)
For my starter I ordered the incredibly delicate Buffalo Mozzarella millefeuille. The sensation of Parma ham melting in my mouth left me wanting more. Quite simply the best I have ever tasted. The millefeuille competed with a succulent Caponata of sweet aubergines, capers, taggiasche olives and tomatoes bursting with flavour.
Wine is also a main focus for this family boasting a cellar of more than 2000 labels from around the world. I picked a wine by the glass from the volcanic soils of Etna, Pietradolce Etna Rosso 2017. The great acidity balanced well with the soft tannins and pure red fruits.
Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara are classic Roman pasta dishes and both of them are worth a try. I went for Cacio e Pepe, irresistible at first sight!
But make sure you have a room for dessert, the tiramisu is unmissable! The fresh desserts and patisserie are made throughout the day, and the tempting proof leaves the kitchen at regular intervals throughout my meal.
This was a multi-sensory and intimate experience of Italian artisanal produce that make you feel happy and incredibly light.
Coffee ends every Italian meal and here like at Restaurant Quadri in Venice they serve the supreme coffee beans of Giamaica caffè. A final touch that makes the visit even more remarkable.
Other places in Rome for wine lovers:
Cul de Sac: just less than a minute away from Piazza Navona, a casual place where you can grab local cheese and cured meats along with a wonderful glass or bottle of wine. 1500 wines can be found in their extensive wine list, covering each Italian region and its leading producers. Their collection also include some of the greatest and finest Italian wines, my favourite Barolo: Monfortino Giacomo Conterno, Ornellaia and Masseto to name a few.
Hosteria Grappolo d’Oro: one of the slow food restaurants in Italy where they only use local ingredients, making it a sustainable dining experience. The wine list is thought of in the same way prevailing Lazio region’s grape varieties over the rest of Italy and Europe. However you can uncork some Italian gems like Gaja, and fine Burgundies such as J-M Boillot and Ramonet.