Eating my way through Italy on the Roman Food Tour
My trip to Rome last weekend was absolutely phenomenal for many reasons: seeing the Pope in St Peter’s Basilica, visiting the Colosseum at night, meeting up with old friends… but the highlight was most certainly the Prati by Sunset Roman Food Tour. If you’re planning a trip to Rome, I cannot stress this enough: book this tour NOW!
I firmly believe that food is a hugely important part of any culture, and in Italy, this is even more prevalent. The Italians don’t just love their food, they’re incredibly proud of where it comes from, and every area of the country has one or more specialty ingredients. Our knowledgeable and passionate guide Jess explained to us that if an ingredient is not D.O.P (Denominazione Origine Protetta), it will never be the same as the real thing.
Jess took us to 5 different places, each of which enveloped my tastebuds like a warm hug from a polar bear. Her endless bank of knowledge and sunny smile made the hours fly by (despite the pouring rain!), and I couldn’t believe she does this twice a day! Read on to find out more about where she took us…
1. Le Chiccherie
What grows together, goes together. In this case, it was a sweet rose wine and fresh buffalo mozzarella at a small, intimate deli. And when I say fresh, I mean it had been made less than 24 hours prior and had never been refrigerated! It took Jess around three minutes to cut and prepare it, and then we all dove in like dairy-deprived hawks. The other antipasti items included ricotta cheese that collapsed in my mouth, sundried tomatoes, eggplant ‘meatballs’ and Scamorza cheese. And here’s the thing – I don’t usually eat cheese or tomatoes, but I loved the Scamorza and the tomatoes really did taste like last summer!
Supposedly the best pizza in Rome, and most definitely the best pizza I’ve ever had. In fact, it made me feel like I’ve never eaten pizza before!
The slices were overflowing with toppings, charged by weight and cut up with scissors. Jess patiently took our orders and distributed the bite-sized pieces as best she could. The allegedly popular potato pizza was not quite my thing, but just the memory of the burrata/pork neck slice, which melted in my mouth and all over my hands, makes me salivate. It took all my self-control not to rip the rest of it out of other people’s hands…
A ‘crazy-crazy’ guide to all the various meats and cheeses from different parts of Italy, with endless vulgar jokes and sound effects, made my sides hurt from laughter and left me with an enormous smile on my face. The Paciotti brothers are larger than life, with an inappropriate sense of humour and an extraordinary variety of products. Highlights for me were the Parma ham that dissolved on my tongue, the Asiago cheese with a truffle paste on top and the most aged (and probably expensive) balsamic ever (25 years!).
And all the while, our glasses were kept filled to the brim and we were constantly reminded of the Paciotti motto: “No wine, no party!”
Antipasti, pizza, meats, cheeses… what was missing? Of course: Pasta! It was time for the three most typically Roman dishes of cacio e pepe, carbonara and amatriciana. They all had one thing in common: pecorino romano. Again, despite my dislike of tomato, I devoured them all!
We then had a tiramisu, served in a cute espresso cup. Subtly sweet and not too overpowering, it tasted just as good as it looked.
How do you spot real gelato from the fake stuff? It’s very simple. Avoid the fluff.
My belly was so full from everything else we’d eaten, but I had no trouble devouring the best hazelnut gelato I’d ever eaten. It was the perfect ending to an incredible four hours, and not even the steadily pouring rain could get me down!
Have you ever been to Rome? What were your highlights?
This tour was courtesy of the Roman Food Tour. All views are my own.