Since our dear friends Hande & Theo left Munich and moved to Rome a couple of years ago we try to focus on the positive aspect of having dear friends in Italy and neglect the fact that we miss them every so often. Naturally, we keep visiting each other as often as possible and when we do, we concentrate on the most important things in life – having a great time and eating our fare share of Italian cuisine. When we returned from our latest trip, it dawned on me that I never actually covered Roman favorites and discoveries on this blog – which will be remedied immediately!
In no particular order, the culinary delights that made our first trip in 2014 an especially fine one (most links lead to The Rome Digest, my favorite knowledge base for culinary events, restaurants and food shopping in Rome, brought to you by these fabulous ladies):
Since Hande introduced me to Mostaccioli from Pasticceria Regoli a few years back, I’ve been hooked. It’s hard to describe them, taste-wise they remind me of German Lebkuchen, but their consistency is completely different. Do try them if you’re in Rome during holiday season!
Ice cream/gelato is a crucial subject to Italians and you sometimes get the feeling that Rome features a gelateria on every corner. But the differences are huge and there is no need to fall for the typical tourist recommendations like Giolitti and the likes. The gelateria of my choice is Fatamorgana, their Nocciola is probably the best I ever ate. Other favorite flavors include: Vanilla & Riso, Bacio del Principe, Torrone, Pistachio de Bronte, Tiramisu. Besides these classics they have a vast amount of crazy flavors, too.
Antico Forno Roscioli
Pizza al taglio (Pizza by the slice) is something else I can have on a daily basis, but it is an absolute must if I come close to Antico Forno Roscioli. While we no longer visit their restaurant due to some let-down experiences, Pizza bianca, Pizza rossa or Pizza carciofi are good as ever. Another long-time favorite: the Panettone with chocolate and candied pear.
Quite off the beaten track, Pizzeria Tonda is nothing a tourist will incidentally stumble into. But the cab or bus detour is well worth it, besides the Neapolitan-style pizza, I especially enjoyed the fried fish, the suppli and very likely the cutest and nicest waitress in Rome. Oh, and the playful wall decoration that showcases their pizza varieties!
Cesare al Casaletto
Cesare is one of the best recommendation you can get for traditional Roman fare, again, if you are willing to spend a little bit of time in a cab or on the tram. The fried appetizers and the Ravioli were the best we had on this trip.
D.O.L – Di Origine Laziale
Since “off the beaten track” was somewhat the theme of this year’s discoveries, we were also introduced to a new highlight for food shopping. D.O.L has a broad variety of locally produced cheeses, cured meats, olive products and wine. A fine selection of fresh pasta or pizza makes it the perfect lunch location.
Hande’s and Theo’s Roman feasts are legendary and this time was no exception. We’ve learned to trust them on new-to-us food, and this time Katie and Chris prepared an old Roman classic, Coratella. Their version contained lamb innards (heart, lung, liver and the likes) as well as artichokes and I went for seconds. ME!? Seriously? Can you believe it??
I fell for Puntarelle, a sort of chicory salad very typical for the Lazio region, some years ago and have been pleasantly surprised to occasionally spot them on Munich markets during winter season. But without this tool, my salads never look as perfectly curled as the one pictured above.
Highlight of our extensive home-cooked Roman dinner were not two, not three, but four desserts – with the most elegant course done by Metamorfosi chef John himself (blue cheese, white chocolate, port).
Last but not least: During this trip we celebrated the day the four of us first met. After reading delicious:days and commenting many times, Hande invited us over for a blind date brunch on January 1st in 2006. Ever since, she took care of our wine education and we cannot thank her and Theo enough for everything. If you’re going to Rome in the future, make sure to book one of her wine tastings or food tours. Another must-do on your list!