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Monthly Archives: December 2006

Rome, Tuscany and a dash of Umbria: Week 2

Rome vs. Lazio playersThere is a belief among academics, chefs and generally cultured people that the Europeans are far more civilized than their American counterparts. I find this to be true in many ways— in the elegant dress of women, in the lack of beer bellies on men, in the central role played by wine at the table and in the general acceptance of policies like the Geneva Convention rules and the Kyoto protocols. But if there is one area where all semblance of civilization falls away it is in the football arena. And by football, I mean soccer.

Rome vs. Lazio crowdHoney Roasted Peanut and I were lucky enough to learn this firsthand when we attended the Lazio vs. Rome game. Lazio is the region where Rome resides, making this a rivalry amounting to civil war. We sat on the Lazio side (the northern curve) because H.R. Peanut’s English student is a season subscriber and secured us the tickets. The curves are where all the die-hard fans sit, which we found out as soon as we came in. No one was sitting throughout the entirety of the game. The small bucket seats were used as a platform for seeing over the crowd, for singing, shouting insults and waving one’s colored scarf. They also served as launch pads for smoke bombs and other objects thrown to protest a controversial call.

Lazio was expected to lose, but that was not to be. When the first goal came, the crowd rushed forward, with each fan throwing himself on the person in front of him. H.R. Peanut and I were sure we would be crushed to death but were relieved to find ourselves still in one piece. After that we secretly prayed for no more goals. Lazio ended up winning the game 3-0.

With a bottle of house wine on the table, things gradually began to move back toward civilization when we went out to dinner with H.R. Peanut’s student and another Italian friend of his after the game. We went to La Montecarlo, a typical Roman pizzeria well loved by these fine young men for its large servings of pasta. They ordered pasta, and H.R. Peanut and I stuck to pizza.

Frito MistoAs a starter we had another Roman specialty, frito misto. This consisted of a platter filled with fried things, including my favorite, the deep fried zucchini flower, stuffed with an anchovy fillet. Other deep fried items included mozzarella, olives, potatoes and a tomato rice mixture. These were all good in that bad for you fried kind of way, but I couldn’t help thinking they tasted a little like jalapeño poppers.

Capricciosa PizzaI ordered the capricciosa pizza, which arrived looking positively beautiful with artichoke, mushrooms, sausage and a fried egg in the middle. Many people (including H.R. Peanut) look askance at the thought of egg on a pizza, but when you taste it, nothing seems more natural. The crust soaks up the slightly runny yolk, the flavor balances the tangy artichoke, the earthy mushrooms and the spicy sausage, and the entire combination looks stunning.

Checco GelatoI went to the neighborhood of Trastevere (“tras” or “across” the “Tevere” or “Tiber”) with H.R. Peanut the next day. The quaint, winding streets, hip stores and beautiful old buildings of Trastevere instantly won me over, and they also yielded some of the best pistachio gelato I’ve ever tasted. This delicious treat came from Checco er Carrettiere, a well-known bakery and gelateria in the neighborhood. My other flavor—there are always at least two— was boccio, a chocolate and nut mixture. The word means “kiss” in Italian, but it is also the name of a popular Italian candy bar, which is the inspiration for the flavor. I wasn’t as excited about this one because the chocolate flavor was dominated by a very concentrated nut flavor, probably hazelnut or walnut extract.

Cantina dei Tolomei ExteriorI left Rome early the next morning and took at train and a bus to the Tuscan town of Siena. After settling in at a nearby hotel, I sought out a promising place for a late lunch. I ended up at La Cantina dei Tolomei, a beautiful little gourmet shop, selling typical Tuscan wines and foods. It had a paninni counter with a wide selection of meats and cheeses that made my mouth water. The man behind the counter was very friendly and spoke English well. When I hesitated with my order, he helped me out by suggesting what he considered to be the supremely Tuscan combination.

Cantina dei Tolomei PanniniThis consisted of Tuscan prosciutto, which is drier and less sweet than the more common prosciutto di Parma, and fresh pecorino. I had never known that fresh pecorino existed, let alone tried it before. The cheese was full of flavor without the characteristic palate-coating, salty, dryness that characterizes the aged variety. The sandwich was a great success, as was the pleasant Chianti recommended to me by my friendly advisor behind the counter.

He also let me sample three kinds of panforte, a Tuscan fruitcake, which comes in three different varieties, and a glass of Vin Santo, a delicious dessert wine, also a specialty of the region. I bought a small Margherita panforte and a bottle of Vin Santo to take home and share with Empanada Boy. (I was missing him quite a bit by then and kept thinking how much he would enjoy the foods I tasted.)

Despite the fact that my head and palate were cloudy from a bad sinus infection, I was determined to try a typical Tuscan meal. I asked my friend at La Cantina dei Tolomei for a recommendation. He suggested I try the restaurants in the Piazza del Mercato, just behind the famous sloping, brick-lined Piazza del Campo.

There were two restaurants in that piazza, one nearly empty and one filled with people. Abiding by a tried and true Mango Lassie rule, I picked the one filled with people, including a large Sienese family gathering. I was seated in a heated tent outside the restaurant, called Trattoria Papei.

I was lucky enough again to receive assistance from a helpful, English-speaking waiter who guided my choices toward the most typical Tuscan options. I started with a glass of house wine—priced based on the percentage of the bottle I drank—and some Tuscan bread. Tuscan bread is made without any salt, ostensibly because there was a high tax on salt in the region a few centuries ago. A old New York Times article I read on the subject found that to be something of a myth, preferring the explanation that highly seasoned Tuscan food is better complemented by unsalted bread. My opinion, and that of many Italians from other regions, is that the Tuscans should get over their silly tradition and start adding salt because their bland, yeasty bread suffers terribly. Luckily the waiter brought extra salt and olive oil, which improved things a bit.

RibollitaMy first course was the Tuscan vegetable and bread soup called ribollita. I selected this dish of my own accord, and the waiter applauded my choice. The warm, thick stew was made with white beans, carrots, celery, garlic, escarole, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and that same Tuscan bread. The waiter instructed me to pour a stream of olive oil on top. It was the perfect thing for my aching head and stuffy nose.

TrippaNext I bit the bullet and tried the tripe, prepared in the typical Sienese way. It is blanched and boiled and covered with a sauce made from onion, basil, carrot and celery. Parmesan cheese is traditional sprinkled on top. Empanada Boy is usually the one to order any dishes containing offal because he is very adventurous about such things. But he was not there to order it and give me a bite, so it was up to me. The only other times I had tried tripe were in Vietnamese pho and in Mexican preparations. In both cases it was rubbery to the point of being hard to swallow. In this case, however, it was tender and soft, with a texture coming down somewhere between meat and pasta.

Vin SantoI wasn’t going to have dessert because I felt ready for some NyQuil and bed, but the waiter insisted he had something I needed to try. He brought me a glass of Vin Santo and some of the little almond biscotti called cantucci. The tradition is to dip the cantucci into the Vin Santo and let it soak up some of the sweet, fragrant wine before taking a bite. It was a refreshing and delicious way to end the meal.

Nannini ExteriorMy guidebook called Nannini “a Sienese institution.” And when I looked through the window at the elegant wooden bar and the rows of beautiful pastries. I decided it was the place to go for my morning cappuccino. The place was crowded with locals who had stopped in on their way to work. Most stood at the bar sipping espresso and sampling one of the delicious flaky treats. I ordered a pretty egg bread twist which had raisins in it, and, after discretely photographing it, joined the chatting crowd at the bar.

Nannini Display CaseI loved Nannini so much I decided to return for an aperitivo that evening. The bakery was just as packed as it had been earlier that morning, but this time the crowd included teenagers going out to a party and couples dressed for dinner. I ordered a glass of red wine and snacked on nuts, little egg sandwiches, tuna toasts and crudités. The aperitivo wasn’t the making dinner unnecessary. I met two guys from Austin, Texas there, and we chatted and compared notes about our travels.

Antica PizzicheriaI had another delicious and humongous sandwich at Antica Pizzicheria a salumeria that has been in existence since 1889. It is now run by Miccoli Antonio and guidebooks continue to laud it for its excellent meats and cheeses. The place was beautiful to look at with a huge variety of products in the windows and glass cases, but I found the servers behind the counter to be a little surly and ungracious. There was also an annoying sign inside the shop that said “No photos please.”

After two days and nights in Siena, I took a day trip to the nearby town of San Gimignano. Like Siena, the town is famous for its many towers and its Gothic Cathedral. Unlike Siena, it is the only region in Italy with a D.O.C.G. (higher than the regular government regulated production area) status for growing and producing wine from the vernaccia grape. Unfortunately, the Museo di Vino Vernaccia was closed for the winter, but I did enjoy a nice taste of the simple, herbal white wine at a bar in town. I bought a bottle to bring back to Rome for Honey Roasted Peanut and a bottle to bring to Empanada Boy.

Mari dal 1920 PanniniA raging tourist town in the summertime, San Gimignano’s main drag has a number of little gourmet shops with wine, olive oil and Tuscan products. I stopped in at a salumeria called Mari dal 1920 for a pannini with Tuscan salami and more of that tasty pecorino fresco. It came on a beautiful, but somewhat cardboard-esque round of salt-free Tuscan bread. I sat on the edge of the city wall and looked out over the countryside as I ate.

Wine at Cul-de-SacBack in Rome the next day H.R. Peanut took me to lunch at Cul-de-sac, the city’s oldest or wine bar. The tome of a wine list could be used for weight lifting. I scanned through the menu and consulted H.R. Peanut’s deeper knowledge of Italian wine before ordering a glass of a powerful nero di troia from Puglia.

Pate at Cul-de-SacWe started our meal with a succulent wild boar pate. The edges of the pate loaf were tinged with a barely sweetened chocolate, giving the whole dish addition earthy depth. We ate the pate on little crusty toasts and soft pieces of the regular loaf, which was a beautiful thing after Tuscan bread.

Meat and Cheese at Cul-de-SacWe decided to continue in the antipasto vein for the rest of our lunch, feasting on a rich, brie-like olive-oil soaked cheese with paprika and a hard cheese with red rind from being cured in wine. Alongside the cheeses were two kinds of meat, one a spicy salami and the other a softer smooth sausage. This was one of the most satisfying meals I had in Rome.

Continuing in the theme of wine, H.R. Peanut and I trekked over Enoteca Constantini Piero, a wine store that verges on museum status. The top floor is filled with fancy liquors, and the rooms of basement shelves house wines from every region of Italy and many wines from other parts of the world. It is rare to find anything but Italian wines in stores here, so this was particularly notable.

Giolitti GelatoWe also wound through the streets near Piazza Navona until we found Giolitti, famous bakery and gelateria. This was to be my last gelato in Italy, a fact which I suspected at the time. Luckily, I went out on a limb and ordered date and pine nut flavored gelatos on a cone. H.R. Peanut demanded that I try some whipped fresh cream, despite my protestations. It was good, of course, but I felt it crowded the fresh flavors of the gelato, so I threw some of it away.

My last full day in Italy was spent at the height of gastronomic pleasure. I was lucky enough to get the chance to accompany H.R. Peanut’s sommelier class on a field trip to Castello delle Regine, a vineyard and winery in Umbria.

Vines at Castello delle RegineFirst our large tour bus dropped us off at the vineyard, and one of the men in charge of growing and harvesting the grapes (mostly syrah) spoke to everyone about the process. I picked up on a good deal of what he was saying about the importance of pruning and soil, and H.R. Peanut filled me in on the rest.

Next we toured the winery, viewing the steel fermentation tanks used to make the wine and the French oak barrels used to age it. The winery was freezing cold, and the owner kind of blabbed on and on in muffled voice to no one in particular, so H.R. Peanut and I were itching to taste some wine.

Tasting at Castello delle RegineFinally the bus took us to the winery’s tasting room and restaurant where we sampled three wines of varying quality and explored their current profiles and potential for aging. After the tasting, we were hungry and in need of something to soak up the alcohol. The winery treated us to a lunch of bread, pasta with wild boar sauce (a typical Umbrian ingredient), thin strips of roast beef and roasted vegetables. We were tired and happy as we made our way back to Rome.

Molds at SaidMy final evening in Rome had to be spent it style, and the Said dal 1923: antica fabbrica di cioccolato was just the ticket. A longtime chocolate factory in San Lorenzo, the place has recently become a restaurant and cafe as well. The chocolate is still sold out front, but the back has a bar and tables that can be enclosed in the winter or exposed to the air in summer. All of the chocolate molds hang as decoration on the wall behind the bar, and there are cozy book-lined shelves and comfortable couches.

Aperitivo at SaidH.R. Peanut, Melanzane and I went there for aperitivi and met a few of their Italian friends. I started with a nice glass of prosecco, Italian sparkling wine. For the price of the glass, I got a wonderful plate of food, including polenta, curried chicken, phyllo spinach rolls and much more. After that we ordered a bottle of wine, which held out well until the chocolate delicacies were put out for dessert.

Chocolate at SaidSaid makes a wide variety of its own chocolates and truffles. After stuffing ourselves so full of chocolate aperitivi that we were sure we would burst, one of the owners, something of a dirty old man, offered us free samples of ricotta-filled truffles. Under any other circumstances, I would gladly devour such a treat, but it was all I could do to force it down my throat. H.R. Peanut and I bought fizzy water to settle our chocolate and wine beleaguered stomachs. Still, chocolate and wine are on the short list of my favorite things about life, and it was a great way to finish the trip.

Ciao, Roma! I’ll be back soon.

La Montecarlo
Viccolo Savelli, 13
+39 06 686 1877

Checco er Carrettiere
Via Benedetta, 7
+39 06 58 11413

La Cantina dei Tolomei
Via Banchi di Sopra, 29
+39 0577 221065

Trattoria Papei
Piazza del Mercato, 6
+39 0577 280894

Via Banchi di Sopra, 24
+39 0577 236009

Antica Pizzicheria Chigiana de Miccoli Antonio
Via di Citta,’ 93
+39 0577 289164

Mari dal 1920
Via San Giovanni, 12
San Gimignano

Piazza Pasquino, 73
00100 Rome
+39 06 688 01094

Enoteca Constantini Piero
Piazza Cavour, 16-16B
+39 06 3203575

Via Uffici del Vicario, 40
+39 06 699 1243

Castello delle Regine
Strada di Castelluccio Amerino
Località Le Regine
05022 Amelia
+39 0744 702005

Said dal 1923
Via Tiburtina, 135
00185 Rome
+39 0644 69204

Doing as the Romans do: Week 1

ColiseumHello friends! It’s been a while since my last post. That’s because I’ve spent the past two weeks sampling the fine cuisine of Italy and visiting my dear friend Honey Roasted Peanut who has been living in Rome since September. H.R. Peanut is an excellent judge of food and wine (she is in training to be a sommelier) and an ideal hostess.

Rome is magnificent. It is a city that is both as ancient as they come and swarming with new life as evidenced by the crowded buses and trains and the zipping Vespas, called motorinos in Italian. I was repeatedly stunned to be walking down the street and stumble into the ruins of an ancient building tucked between a café and a flower shop. Romans pass marvels like the Coliseum everyday on their way to work without batting an eyelid, but these sights were enough to take my breath away.

Unlike the common perception of Italian cities in the U.S., Romans are not particularly stylish, nor is their city endowed with a inherently delectable regional cuisine. That is not to say, of course, that there weren’t plenty of revelatory culinary moments during my stay. Indeed, the fact that Rome’s cuisine is more understated than the splendors of Emilia-Romagna or Piedmont makes the moments of bliss all the more enjoyable.

Campo de' FioriAny food lover’s first destination in Rome should be Campo de’ Fiori, the central open-air market. Well attuned to the best places to find high quality Roman food at a good price, H.R. Peanut led me through the winding streets until we reached it. We were too late for the fish market, but it was wonderful to walk by all of the tables filled with beautiful fruits and vegetables and try to guess at the identity of some of the more exotic ones. There were lychee fruit, mini asparagus, fresh chestnuts, oranges and berries of all kinds.

Pizza BiancaThe food made us hungry, so we got some lunch at the Forno Campo de’ Fiori, a somewhat legendary bakery and pizzeria at one end of the piazza. The place was packed and for good reason, it seemed, because the walls were crowded with racks of delicious-looking bread. Most people were in line for the pizza Bianca, Rome’s specialty. This is basically chewy pizza crust with only oil and salt for garnish. Most people order it filled with any number of cheeses, meats and vegetables, but we tried it plain to get the authentic flavor. A savory artichoke pie with flaky, croissant-like crust was our second course.

Dolce at Le PiramideFor dessert we stopped next door at Le Piramidi and had one of the many fine-looking Middle Eastern desserts displayed in the cabinet. One was enough for both of us; these are all very concentrated, filled with nuts and honey. This one happened to be coated with something resembling shredded wheat.

Italy has a wonderful dining tradition called the aperitivo, which reminds me of going out for tapas in Spain. At a designated evening hour many restaurants, bars and enoteca (wine bars) allow diners who order drinks to enjoy buffets of a variety of finger food or complimentary platters of similar treats.

La Barrique InteriorAfter touring the old Jewish ghetto, the Capitoline and the Palatine and Coliseum, I met H.R. Peanut and her friend Melanzane, another American living in Rome, for an aperitivo at a wine bar called La Barrique in a hip area known as Monti. The place is small and cozy with armchairs and couches mixed in amongst the tables and chairs like some of the independent coffee shops of Portland. The differences here include the fact that the walls are lined with wine bottles and the partially sliced loin of prosciutto that sits near the front bar awaiting the next guest.

Aperitivo at La BarriqueWe ordered a bottle of dolcetto, which came with a complimentary plate of some tapas-esque items like tortilla española and bread with tomato in addition to brie with honeyed walnuts on toast. We decided to order more and make a meal of it, so we got the mixed antipasto plate, featuring salami, porchetta, prosciutto and three delicious cheeses. For dessert we shared a sort of spongy almond cake with chocolate sauce.

Anitpasto at La BarriqueMy only caution about the aperitivo concept is that it always makes you too full for dinner even though the idea is something akin to hors d’ oeuvres. I learned this the hard way one night when H.R. Peanut and I shared an aperitivo with Melanzane and her boyfriend Mr. Mozzarella at H.R.’s house in San Lorenzo. We drank a bottle of wine and ate slices of bread with salted tomato, salami, Parmesan and taleggio, a creamy cheese typical of the region. Already bordering on full, H.R. Peanut and I had our hearts set on dining at Marcello, a traditional Roman osteria just up the street from her house, so we went just the same.

Trattoria da Marcella Marcello is a true neighborhood restaurant, and it is so popular that it isn’t even open on the weekends. I didn’t take any photos inside this place because the small, crowded space and intimate casual attitude made it seem out of place. As with many restaurants in Rome, the name of this place doesn’t appear on the exterior. The only sign reads “Osteria.”

In addition to the requisite carafe of house wine (which we got for a mere 2 euros), a meal in Italy usually consists of an antipasto, a primo (first course of pasta or soup) and a secondo (a second meat course). We opted out of the antipasti, but despite my fullness I did the Roman thing and ordered two courses. The first was bucatini all’amatriciana, a long, tubular pasta with a sauce made of tomato, chili, onion and sausage. This was hearty and delicious, and a big enough portion to have fed me for two meals. I could have kept eating, but I opted not to finish it to save room for my secondo.

The next dish, stewed oxtail, arrived in short order. Prepared in a tomato and vegetable broth accented by white wine and bacon and ham, it too was simple and filling, with the tender meat falling off the bone of each of the three pieces. H.R. Peanut says she gets tired of rustic food, but the Romans sure do pull it off well. We rolled home feeling uncomfortably full.

Eggplant AntipastoMelanzane took us to another favorite neighborhood osteria called Rouge. It is also quite popular and well decorated with a vintage sofa and red painted walls. We ordered a bottle of Negramaro and started with an antipasto of eggplant and caramelized onions with slices of fresh ricotta cheese. This was a sweet treat, spread on slices of bread.

Meatballs at RougeWisely forgoing the primo plate this time, I ordered meatballs or “sugo.” They came in a tomato based sauce with a choice of salad or broccoli on the side. I chose salad, but after tasting Melanzane’s broccoli, which turned out to be braised broccoli rabe, I wished I had chosen that instead. We shared the tasty panna cotta, an Italian vanilla pudding, for dessert.

Campo de’ Fiori is far from the only market in Rome. Each neighborhood has its own version, some of which have lower prices or specialize in different products. H.R. Peanut lives in a cool, artsy area called San Lorenzo. The neighborhood has its own somewhat unremarkable market, but it is also close to the large, partially covered market in Esquilino, a neighborhood near the Termini train station.

Spigola at Esquilino MarketIt was very lively when we stopped by the Mercato Esquilino, and the prices were low. This is the neighborhood where many of Rome’s Chinese people live, but the men running the market stands were mostly Bangladeshi. That meant many exotic fruits and even some hallal meat counters. We bought onions, tomatoes, clementines, pears, coconut milk and ginger (for a curry H.R. Peanut hoped to make), lemons, parsley and some fresh spigola (sea bass). We went back to San Lorenzo and cooked the fish in a pan with lemon and parsley for lunch.

Inside San CrispinoOne of my major goals when it came to eating in Italy was to sample some premium gelato. For those unfamiliar with this exquisite delicacy, gelato is an Italian form of ice cream made with whole milk and cream for a total of about 4–8% butterfat depending on the ingredients. The ice cream we Americans enjoy contains between 10% to 18% butterfat because more cream is used. Unlike ice cream, gelato ingredients are not homogenized together, and the result is that the product melts faster than ice cream. The best gelato is made fresh daily from seasonal fruits, chocolate, nuts and candies.

Imagine my excitement then when, as I admired the awesome wonders of the beautifully lit Trevi Fountain in the late afternoon darkness, H.R. Peanut informed me that one of Rome’s best gelaterias was just around the corner.

Gelato from San CrispinoIl Gelato di San Crispino has been extensively lauded by both Gourmet magazine and The New York Times. The inside of the place was very clean and simple. None of the flavors were openly displayed with fresh versions of their primary ingredients to decorate the tops in the way gelato is traditionally displayed in other regions of Italy. Instead, all the gelato was stored in stainless steel containers. The flavors, however, were wonderful. I had banana and chocolate rum in a small cup. It was the perfect treat.

BuchtelnAnother delicious dessert I tried was a filled yeast pastry called buchteln a specialty of the Austrian influenced section of Northern Italy. I assisted Melanzane and Mr. Mozzarella a bit and watched as they prepared the dough and let it rise on the heater. They filled the dough with apple preserves and Nutella from the huge vat that Melanzane had received as a gift.

Perhaps the culinary pinnacle of my first week in Rome was the cooking class that H.R. Peanut and I attended. My grandmother Trader Joanna had offered me a class as a birthday gift, so I did some research and found Gusto al Borgo, a cooking school located in the home of Paola Di Mauro, just outside the medieval village of Casperia about 45 minutes north of Rome. We took a train there and Paola’s husband Franco drove us from the station to their house, a beautiful stone building with a small farm in back and an amazing professional kitchen inside. As we would later find out, Franco is in charge of tending to the garden, which yielded some of the food we ate. He also buys grapes and makes wine, which we drank and turns his own olives into oil.

Pumpkin LasagnaOur menu for the day started with pumpkin lasagna, which we made from leeks and pumpkin grown in Paola and Franco’s garden and pasta we made ourselves. In between the layers of pasta and pumpkin were a béchamel sauce we learned to make and scamorza and Parmesan cheeses. I enjoyed this dish, but thought it could have used more seasoning or a stronger cheese. The pumpkin filling was too soft and bland to stand alone.

Veal RollsNext came stuffed veal rolls. We took thin strips of meat, lined them with thin strips of prosciutto and filled them with a mixture of bread crumbs, parsley, raisins, pine nuts, garlic and pecorino cheese. Then we rolled up the meat, closing each bundle with a toothpick. These were then coated in flour and fried in butter and oil. We added stock and cooked them longer, finishing them off with a dash of vinegar. These were delicious as only stuffed, fried, red meat can be. I might fill them with something stronger next time, possibly even a pungent cheese.

Broccoli TartAlongside the veal rolls, were mini broccoli tarts, made with broccoli rabe and potatoes along with some cream and eggs. We used more cream, some garlic and some anchovies to make a sauce to pour over the tops. These were good, but not really much better than simple braised broccoli rabe. Why go to the trouble of making them into tarts? The presentation is nice, but I probably won’t make these again unless I can find a way to spice them up a little.

Chestnut crepeDessert was crepes made with rosemary, pine nuts, orange zest and chestnut flour. We filled these with ricotta, specked with candied chestnuts and drizzled with brandy. A rich chocolate sauce was the final element. I liked this dessert because of the way it balanced sweet and savory elements. It would make a sophisticated offering at a party.

Leftover FettuccineWe had extra pasta, so Paola made it into fettuccine for us to take home for dinner. We also got extra lasagna, veal rolls and crepes. H.R. Peanut and I brought the our pasta and crepes to dinner with Melanzane and Mr. Mozzarella at the latter’s house that night to augment (as if it needed any augmentation) the pizzas he made.

One week down, and I was already feeling full. But more Roman specialties and Tuscan treats were still to come.

Forno Campo de’ Fiori
Campo de’ Fiori, 22 – Vicolo del Gallo, 14
00186 Rome
+39 06 68806662

Le Piramidi
Vicolo del Gallo, 11
00186 Rome
+39 06 687 9061

La Barrique
Via del Boschetto, 41/b
+39 06 47825953

Via dei Campani, 12
+39 06 446 3311

San Lorenzo

Il Gelato di San Crispino
Via della Panetteria, 42
00187 Rome
+39 06 679 3924

Gusto al Borgo
Via Roma, 93
02041 Casperia
+39 3493422802