Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Eating Around Rome in 4 Days

Rome - After spending a week in Italy, I am back in Istanbul trying to recover from my overindulgences.

Here's a peak at some of the tasty nibbles we enjoyed on our trip.

1. Breakfast Pastries with Cappuccino – It’s probably no surprise that I have a sweet tooth. So starting off every morning in Rome with a flaky, custard-filled (or warm dark chocolate-filled) artisanal pastry was my idea of heaven!

The pastry dough reminded me a bit of either a brioche or Danish dough – rich, egg-y and slightly sweet. I must learn how to make these Italian pastries back home again.
Don’t get me wrong as I love my Turkish breakfast spread on the weekends. However, on weekdays, I normally have a bowl of Nesfit cereal and a banana with my filter coffee. My routine gets boring.

Antica Pasticceria Bernasconi, Piazza B. Cairoli No. 16, Rome

Forno Roscioli, Via dei Chiavari 34, Rome

2.  Hot Paninis – I can’t tell you where to get the best panini in Rome, but I can tell you this delicious Italian sandwich is available nearly EVERYWHERE, even in small corner shops.

One day we took the metro to Circo Massimo, found a nearby café, ordered two prosciutto and cheese paninis and beers to go and walked over to the park. We sat on the grass, enjoyed our picnic in the park and admired the ancient ruins surrounding us.

The long circus, once used for chariot races attended by up to 250,000 Romans, lies in a valley behind the Palatine Hill. The last games were held here in AD 549, and the once-grand marble was reused elsewhere in Rome.
It was starting to drizzle in the park, so I just took this photo with my phone.
3.  Cannolis – I’ve eaten many cannolis in NYC, but I think I sampled the best ones I’ve ever eaten in my life, so far, in Rome. For an afternoon pick-me-up, we ordered espresso and four mini cannolis at a small Sicilian pastry shop near our apartment in Campo de’ Fiori. Our Airbnb.com apartment owner had recommended this shop on our first day and we were not disappointed.  
Our flaky, crisp-fried cannoli shells were filled with dark chocolate custard, pistachio paste cream, a citrus cream and a traditional sweetened ricotta cream. My mother-in-law would be jealous!

I dolci di Nonna Vincenza, Via Arco del Monte 98a/98b, Rome (Read Parla Food's blog post about this quaint shop.)

4.  Italian Cheeses with Sparkling Red Wine – While I do enjoy drinking Turkish wines, I miss the wide variety of wines available in say, France or Italy. During our trip to Bologna last year, we both fell in love with the bubbly, deep burgundy-colored Lambrusco wine.

In Rome, we popped into a cute wine bar near our apartment and asked our server if he had a similar wine. Marco, our sommlier, recommended a sparkling red wine from the Napoli region called Gragnano to go with our massive-sized Italian cheese plate. Perfection! Give me wine and cheese, and I’m a happy gal!
Six different cheeses served with a fig jam and balsamic vinegar reduction.
Verso Sera Enoteca, Piazza del Biscione, 84, Campo de Fiori, Rome

5.  Pork – roasted, braised and cured meats. Pork, in all its glorious forms, can be found in Italy. For my regular readers, you know when I travel outside of Turkey, I go on a pork binge.

On our first night in Rome, I indulged in a wild boar cured meat antipasti followed by a dish of spezzatino di capocollo con carcifoi e radici di liquirizia – roasted pork with artichokes and licorice - at L'Asino d'Oro. This plate was full of slowly-roasted pork with a meaty and slightly sweet sauce, which I sopped up with as much bread as possible. 
Wild boar antipasti
My dish of spezzatino di capocollo con carcifoi e radici di liquirizia  at L'Asino d'Oro in Rome.
My husband ordered the cinghiale in dolceforte - wild boar in a chocolate and vinegar sauce. It was equally delicious! We couldn't bring ourselves to order the donkey on the menu though.

Our restaurant recommendation came from food blogger Katie Parla – a blog I thoroughly enjoy reading as she eats around Italy and Turkey. She also has a new Rome for Foodies app available for your eating pleasure around Rome.

L’Asino d’Oro, Via del Boschetto, 73/75, Rome, near the Cavour metro stop

6.  Pasta – When in Rome, of course, you must eat some pasta. So we did! For my first meal in Rome, I ate pasta carbonara, a Roman speciality, but this one was served with D.O.P. bacon at Casa & Bottega near our apartment. I practically licked the pasta bowl clean!
Casa & Bottega, Via di Tor Millina 34/a, Rome

But one of my favorite pasta places was a random restaurant we walked by on our way to visit the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Our lunch was cheap and delicious! Our bill with 1 antipasti, 2 pastas and a bottle of red wine was under 30 euros.

Relazioni Culinarie, Via Panisperna, 75, Rome
Simple, al dente pastas at Relazioni Culinarie in Rome.
7.  Pizza – We tried to go to the infamous Pizzarium after our Vatican City tour, but it was packed. We found a nearby restaurant with nice outdoor seating and ordered a decent margherita pizza and a spicy salami panini. Rome is full of pizzerias so do your research and figure out where you want to go. And go early!
8.  Negroni – My husband’s grandfather, with Sicilian roots, loves this classic Italian drink – equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. I dislike all those liquors, but my hubby loves gin.  We visited one of Anthony Bourdain’s recommended haunts (The Layover: Rome) for this drink across the Tiber River in the hipster neighborhood of Trastevere. Be sure to wear your skinny jeans!
Lining up the Negronis at Freni e Frizioni in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome.
Freni e Frizioni, Via del Politeama 4, Trastevere, Rome (But look around the neighborhood as we found a nearby dive bar that was serving Negronis for only 3 euros compared to 7 here.)

Happy eating!

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BacktoBodrum said...

After all that, not sure you'll still need your skinny jeans! Italian food in Italy - I miss it so much.

Karen said...

I haven't eaten any pork in nine months! That dish has such an unusual combination of flavors and it looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

this makes me want to jump on a plane and head to italy. glad you stuffed yourself with pork! were you able to take any back with you? donkey? that is just wrong!

Ozlem's Turkish Table said...

What fantastic food and photos, my heart goes to Italy and my feet would like to follow, now!:)
many thanks for sharing

Joy said...

@BacktoBodrum, Definitely need to do a bit of dieting now! ;-) At least it's summer now and I can wear long dresses.

@Karen, I always stock up on our pork supply and slowly pull it out of the freezer to use as needed. Luckily, there's a few sarkuterie shops that sell Italian deli salami here when I need a fix.

Joy said...

@Joyce, We brought about 2 kilos worth back and some Parmesan cheese. I was surprised to see donkey, but I've seen horse on the menu in Paris too.

@Ozlem, thank you! Italy was an amazing foodie adventure and I hope to return again. Would love to plan a trip around truffle season next time!

Julia said...

Wow, we both put a lot of weight on while in Itlay. Lke you, we had a full on pork fest! Bliss!!! :) We smuggled a bit of cheese and salami back here with us. Naughty. ;)

Sara Louise said...

I took my mother to Rome for a long weekend a few years ago and OMG... the food, oh the food! I had a ravioli that I still dream about!

Sara Louise said...

I took my mother to Rome for a long weekend a few years ago and OMG... the food, oh the food! I had a ravioli that I still dream about!

Joy said...

I can totally relate! We recently went to Bergamo, Italy, where we had some of the most amazing cured meats I've ever had! :-)