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Exploring Rome is also discovering its cuisine. Simple and tasty, fresh and colorful, Italian food is a way of life. As you admire
art in the Eternal City, take your time to savor Italian dishes and linger at the table. To taste this “Arte di mangiar” (the art of eating), discover my culinary experience in Rome. “L’appetito vien magiando, Buon Appetito!” (The appetite comes while you are eating, Bon Appetit!)
Pinch of History
- The traditional Italian cuisine varies from ancient Rome as many ingredients like tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, etc. were introduced later.
- Origins of pasta are uncertain. Probably, this Mediterranean product was introduced in Sicily by the Arabs. Today, there are more than 350 shapes of pasta.
- The 1st pizzeria opened in 1830 in Naples.
- Expresso is an Italian word meaning “forced out.” It refers to hot water expressed to compacted coffee.
My perfect combo to start a touristic marathon is a breakfast composed of an Italian coffee and pastries. I loved the hot chocolate cornetto and the fagottino, the Italian version of croissant and the chocolate croissant. As for the coffee, size doesn’t matter! Indeed, I love French expresso but the Italian coffee will wake up a dead and will make you sprint the day!
Lunch – Pizza
Lunchtime: step in a convivial and noisy local restaurant. For a quick meal in between two visits, select the traditional pizza. Styles, shapes, and varieties are numerous according to Italian regions and traditions. Pizza ai quattro formagi, pizza capricciosa and pizza Margherita are probably among the most popular.
Did you know? The Margherita pizza was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy (Queen of Italy from 1878 to 1900). In 1889, Raffaele Esposito created a pizza during her visit to Naples. As a symbol, he included the three colors of the Italian flag: tomatoes (red), mozzarella (white) and basil (green).
Tea time? No, Gelato interlude!
The gelato interlude was my Italian version of the “Tea Time.” Mama mia molto bene!
Ice cream boutiques are located at each corner of the city and provide – for a lot of them – fresh and natural ingredients for homemade products. Look for seasonal ice cream made with local fruits to discover new aromas like peaches in the summer.
One, two or more scoop of gelato? The choice of flavors is endless and types vary from crema to Frutta (fruit). Don’t forget the cherry on the cake: the topping ranging from the Chantilly to frozen chocolate.
This gelato tasting went beyond my expectations as I ate some of my best ice creams during my trip. My favorite flavors were dark chocolate and mint.
Did you know? A lot of schools and universities propose classes to learn the art of authentic gelato making.
Aperitivo – Sip a drink
El aperitivo rings the bell of social connection and conviviality as the day ends. Among beverages, I selected the spritz (Martini Prosecco and sparkle water) along with bruschetta (toasted bread with different toppings like garlic, tomatoes…) and olives. It was a perfect appetizer combination to bring my appetite to the next level, the diner.
Dinner – Back to basics: Cheese and Pasta
I can neither end my day nor an Italian food discussion without referring to pasta and cheese. The perfect combo for a no-carb diet (arg more burpees are waiting for me after all of it!).
With more than 600 varieties, pasta remains the iconic Italian food. Every restaurant in Rome offers a large assortment of shapes and sauces. I tried some of the classic ones – fresh pesto and fresh tomatoes – and it was fresh, simple and delicious.
As a cheese lover, I was eager to taste the well-known mozzarella. I appreciate particularly the burrata (a creamy mozzarella) with only a pinch of oil olive and sea salt. Simple foodie pleasure.
What is your favorite Italian food? Leave a comment to join the discussion.
- Pasticcerie is a local pastry shop.
- Gelateria is an ice cream boutique.
- European food portions are smaller than in the USA.
- You need yo pay for tap water and bread.