Coffee: the bean that travelled for 5000 years

Italy is famous for coffee but there is not a plant of coffee growing in the Country. How does Italy become one of the top coffee exporters in the world?

It is because of espresso-style coffee, that means a process from selecting varieties, roasting style and especially the art of making.

The bean and the Popes

The first energy drink of the “old world” was probably used by the shepherds in Africa or the middle east. The habit of roast and ground coffee beans was very popular amongst Arabic people for Centuries. Not popular until the XV Century, drinking coffee was often associate to not-Christians behaviour.
Venice was probably one of the first European cities to see the arrival of coffee beans, welcomed by some but also very criticized.  But soon Italians started to love the beverage, included Pope Clemente VII who was so in love with coffee to externalize that be a coffee drinker was not against to be a good Christian.
Anyway, thanks to the introduction of sugar in the food system to become more and more popular than was necessary to open coffee houses.

Politics and Coffee

In England, the first coffee house opened in Oxford in 1637 followed by many others, turned soon into clubs for intellectuals and politicians.
During the 17th Century, European colonials overseas started to cultivate coffee in the new world, now main coffee producers are Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and many other south Americans countries.

Culture and habits

Nowadays is just crazy to think to start a day without a cup of coffee for millions of people worldwide, but in Italy is also a social and cultural need. The first thought in the morning, a very comfort flavour when something goes wrong, the first way to approach a new friend or a business meeting.
Many travellers are really surprised about how different is to enjoy the coffee time in Italy. For instance, in Rome is not a relaxing moment.

Coffee at home

At home, until the laziness (together with Clooney advises) affected all the people that runt to buy the home espresso machine, the most popular coffee at home was done with the “macchinetta”.

The macchinetta or moka machine, is an amazing espresso machine for home, invented by Mr Bialetti in 1933. Is the easiest cheapest and traditional way to make a delicious coffee…if used properly of course.

Espresso coffee rules

At the “bar”, that is not a night club for music and alcohol here, but simply a coffee house that serves coffee, cappuccino, pastries and some sandwiches and snacks, ordering a coffee means just one thing: ordering an espresso coffee.
Espresso can be ordered in many different ways according to the preferred style. Sometimes refers to pour some milk or others inside, or even the choice of the cup shape and material.

Coffee Houses in Italy

Your favourite bar -generally the one “sotto casa” or close to the office, is generally managed by people that know everything about you. The “barista”, the one who prepares your coffee, is not a stranger, is a confessor, a friend, sometimes a “guru” and philosopher.
If this sounds weird to you, just come to experience directly. Be sure no one will forgive a bartender for a not good coffee…is just something that can ruin your day. It’s an art, and there’s no kidding around about the perfect espresso: rich, creamy, perfectly balanced from start to finish, not one coffee ground burned by the scorching hot.

How to order a coffee in Rome

Example a) I need espresso coffee

  1. Access the bar
  2. Look around to find the cashier and reach it (be brave, you could not see people queuing ordinately)
  3. Ask for “un espresso” and pay
  4. Bring the bill to the bartender (probably he will be busy)
  5. Try to get bartender attention (be brave), then ask
  6. Give the bartender the bill (he will probably look and strap a little)
  7. Put the bill on the bar (locals leave a spare coin to hold the paper down and tip the bartender)
  8. Take your coffee

Example b) I need cappuccino and cornetto (traditional Italian breakfast)

  1. Access the bar and have a look at the display to choose what you’d like to buy
  2. Look around to find the cashier and reach it (be brave, you could not see people queuing ordinately)
  3. Tell “cappuccino e cornetto” what you like (you’d need to know before you go) and pay
  4. Bring the bill to the bartender (probably he will be busy)
  5. Put the bill on the bar (locals leave a spare coin to hold the paper down and to tip the bartender)
  6. Ask for what you’d like
  7. Eat your cornetto and drink your cappuccino standing at the bar

Coffee styles

Caffè or Espresso: a straight shot of coffee.
Americano: not exactly coffee as known in the United States, generally is just espresso coffee and hot water in the cappuccino cup (half a mug size, do not complain)
Caffè corretto: espresso “corrected” by a shot of liquor or Sambuca. Style beloved by men after a meal.
Macchiato: espresso “stained” with a dab of steamed milk.
Caffè ristretto: espresso with a tad less water, stronger than regular espresso.
In tazza grande: is espresso in the cappuccino cup.
Caffè marocchino: espresso coffee with milk froth and chocolate powder.
Cappuccio or cappuccino: coffee combined with steamed milk (more so than macchiato) and taken only at breakfast.
No matter what style is, the important is that is done with love, take our Espresso, Gelato and Tiramisu tour of Rome to discover much more!

Best Roman bakeries and the art of making bread

Bakeries in Rome: a little bit of history

Beginning of Roman age

Roman people did not have bread, they used to eat a kind of focaccia named “puls” and made with an ancient variety of spelt flour. Spelt in ancient Latin was named Farrus, so the word “farina” is probably coming from this recipe.
Differently from ancient Romans people, already experts in the art of making bread, Latin people used to eat a recipe named pita.

Greek culture meets Roman culture

When ancient Roman and Greek culture met, ancient Romans felt in love by the Greek art of making bread and started to make similar recipes. In the beginning, bread was home-made, but quickly become very popular. Considered by many a fashion trend and criticized by important people of the time, like Catone (the censor), the bread will instead survive and will become popular amongst rich people soon.

Imperial Rome

When bread starts to be popular amongst rich families too, owners required servants to wear a kind of mask. Likewise they need to use gloves to protect the dough while working. After some years, bread becomes so popular that expert bakers from Greece came to Rome to teach local baker men to make bread.
According to the eating style, Ancient romans named bread in different ways:

  • nauticus (if baked for sailors), gradilis if made as a finger food while assisting shows at the Colosseum or amphitheater.
  • ostiaries if baked to pair with oysters.
  • durus and sordid if baked with not quality flours.

It seems to be that the number of bakeries in Rom during Augustus’ age, were more than 300, all of them managed by greek people.

Archeological memories of those from the excavations in Pompeii, where were found burnt bread and complete bakeries with owens, benches, and displays.

The End of the Empire

After the fall of the Roman Empire, trade of bread disappeared, but people carried on baking at home.

Meanwhile, a new religion was spreading with bread and wine as the focus of the rite: Christianism.
During feudalism, with a completely new social and economic organization, mills for grinding grains become the property of the feudal lord.

Common people could bake their bread in the oven but were forced to pay taxes to the lord.
Around 1000 A.C. with the starting of corporations of the arts and works, the baker comes back to be a profession.
It is more than 1000 years that in Rome people love bread and pastries with dried fruit or aromatic herbs, raisins, pignoli, candy skin.

Today.

Still today one of the most famous pastries, Maritozzo, traditionally baked for wedding parties, is now a must to taste, beloved by Romans.
The most famous bread in Rome is baked in two villages: Genzano and Lariano.

Protected with IGP label in 1997, is done with flour 0, mother yeast for two steps raising time and covered with a particular whole-wheat flour.

Bread comes crunchy and flavored outside and soft and white inside.
Leftovers never are wasted in Rome, when losing freshness are “recycled” for traditional simple recipes.  In other words, bruschetta, bread, and beans soup, are recipes invented to do not waste leftovers.

For hundreds of years, bread and milk was a traditional breakfast dish for kids. When mixed with meat the best base for polpette (meatballs). Cooked with tomatoes for the typical pappa col pomodoro.

Here you are the best bakeries in Rome

  • Panella: Via Merulana 54 (Santa Maria Maggiore/Vittorio)
  • Roscioli: Via dei Chiavari (Campo de Fiori/Argentina)
  • Antico Forno Urbani: Piazza Costaguti (Jewish Ghetto)
  • Roscioli: Piazza Campo de Fiori (Campo de Fiori/Navona)
  • Panificio Mosca: Via Candia 14 (Prati/Vaticano)
  • Gianfornaio: Via dei gracchi 179 (Prati)
  • Antico Forno ai Serpenti: Via dei serpenti 122 (Monti)

 

Here you are some of the tours you can book to visit these bakeries.

 

Click on the one you prefer to book it.

Boast of Italian traditional food: pappa al pomodoro

Pappa al pomodoro: the original recipe

The dish has ancient origins, although it became famous because of Il Giornalino di Gian Burrasca (1911) and the song Viva la pappa col pomodoro.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (about 2 cups) peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 250 g (about 1/2 lb) stale bread (preferably Tuscan bread), cut into smallish pieces
  • 1 liter (about 4 cups) vegetable broth, warmed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • basil, chopped coarsely
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (you can also use seasoned or spicy oil)
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Place the stale bread in a large bowl and pour the warm broth over it, cover and set aside for at least 1 hour.
Over medium heat and in a wide pot, pour the oil and sauté the garlic. Add the tomatoes and a dash of salt and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Go back to your bread, which should have absorbed most of the broth. Add the bread to the pot, squeezing it a bit with your hand as you do so to eliminate any excess broth. Cook for at least 15 minutes, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon.
Serve the pappa al pomodoro warm, adding a bit of fresh-cut basil and a swirl of good olive oil on top. And remember, always cut fresh basil with your hands, not with a knife or scissors!
Buon appetito!

Recommended wine:

Riserva Vernaccia di San Gimignano White wine with intense aroma of white-fleshed fruit and yellow flowers . Light impressions of vanilla, honey and aromatic herbs. Elegant on the palate with good acidity, slightly sapid with a mineral flint finish.

 

 

Wine and Food pairing Tips

The art of matching wine & food is the key

Learn how to make a meal succesful and gain the passport to the most pleasant taste experience. It is the ability to create a connection between food and wine, based on the tasting and the use of the senses.

In this article, you will found a short wine and food pairing guide.

Why should you put any effort into it?

If you are a wine enthusiast and food lover, you are looking for the best culinary experience ever. Properly matching food and wine is an exciting game, exalts the flavours for the most satisfying gourmet experience. This is why you should learn how to do it. I know, it is not easy!
Food and wine can give very different sensations on the taste-olfactory level, related to the individual receptive ability and personal knowledge.
In terms of pairing, there are no absolute rules, however, practising (not boring after all) is necessary.

Let’s start from the main characteristics of the wine

Firstly, you should focus on wine tasting. Take your time to discover the number of sensations our mouth is able to distinguish: sweetness, acidity, salty, bitterness, followed by sparkling sensations, tannic acid, alcohol, smoothness, taste persistency, flavour persistence and body.

And what about the characteristics of the food?

When it comes to food, you should focus on sweetness, acidity, minerality and bitterness, followed by a quantity of fat, greasiness, zestfulness, spicy and persistence of taste and scent. Concerning acidity and bitterness, you should always talk about sour trend flavour and bitter trend flavour.
When it comes to sweetness, you should consider sweet trend flavour food, like pasta, bread, shellfishes, meat and all those ingredients that give a delicate sensation. Only when it comes to sugar like desserts, you should talk about real sweetness.

The goal of the game

Once identified wine and food characteristics, you should find a way to match both and create harmony.
The best way to balance food and wine is looking for a contrast of flavours. Start with specific food and select the wine that can offer the opposite sensations.
For example: if you eat a dish full in sweet trend flavour and fatness, you need a wine that will provoke strong sensations like acidity, sparkling and salinity.
A similar successful match is Parmigiano Reggiano (sweet and greasy) and Prosecco (acidity and sparkling).
When you eat something salty and/or with bitter trend or acidity, you need a wine that will provoke smooth sensations.
As an example: grilled meat (bitterness given from fire cooking) and Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah.
In case of very juicy and greasy sensations, you need dehydrating sensations like alcohol and tannins. As an example: stew meat and Nebbiolo.
Sugar is the only exception: in this case, you should look for similarity, not for contrast. The perfect wine for dessert is a sweet one.

Let’s recap! How to create the perfect wine and food pairing

  1.  Taste properly food and wine focusing on the organoleptic properties of both.
  2.  Identify and count sensations.
  3. Verify harmony between wine and food.
  4. Use your personal taste.

The moment of truth

Taste and enjoy. A good pairing can highlight and often improve the properties of wine and food. If your match is well done, you will probably have the best steak of your lifetime, and the best wine of course.
At this point, you will know why is impossible to order wine before food at the restaurant, as well as choose one bottle for all the guests wishing that wine could perfectly match with all the dishes ordered. To avoid this, each guest can ask for a glass that pairs with his dish. Maybe, this is not the cheapest choice, but for sure it is the best one.

What is the winning strategy at the end? Testing and tasting.

10 sweet wines to try before you leave Italy

Never leave Italy or buy expensive bottle of sweet wine from all over the world, without tasting some of the incredible sweet wines produced in Italy.

Many people believe sweet wine is just a light wine, beloved from women, hard to pair with food.

Go beyond stereotypes and discover the root of wine making.

Sweet wine always was served to heroes coming back from ancient wars. That is to say like hospitality, celebration and tradition.

In other words: never lose the opportunity to surprise friends by pairing cheeses or dessert with the right sweet wine. Certainly, sip it slowly for a multi-sensorial meditation moment.

1) Moscato d’Asti (Piemonte)

Let’s start with a super classic: an aromatic Moscato from Asti in Piedmont region, north-east of Italy. Bright yellow color that turns gold with the age. Above all, intense and complex aromas from tropical fruit to white flowers, fig and peach. In the mouth is sumptuous, almost balsamic.  Try: Moscato d’Asti DOCG La Morandina

2) Alto Adige Gewürztraminer Passito (Trentino Alto Adige)

Alias The Amazing elegance. Great wines coming from this area where nature challenge humans with its climate and mountains. Great aromas, long lasting finish, softness and elegance are amazing. So try:  Alto adige Gewürztraminer Passito Cashmere Elena Walch or Try Alto adige Gewürztraminer Passito Sanct Velentin Comtess’ San Michele Appiano

3) Recioto di Soave  (Veneto)

Hundreds of years of family winemakers. This is always an emotional way to get in touch with the real soul of a place. Thanks to the meeting of characteristics of local grapes, named Garganega, the soil, unique climate and the expertise of passionate winemaker. In other words: paradise in a glass. Try: Recioto di Soave Renobilis Gini or Recioto di Soave Classico Le Colombare Pieropan

4) Fior d’Arancio Passito dei Colli Euganei  (Veneto)

This little piece of land in  Veneto region is full of magic and beauty. The soil is volcanic  and calcareous-rocky. Full of great vegetation, flowers and, most important, vineyards. The grape is the Moscato Giallo. Here named Fior d’Arancio (orange blossom). Tropical fruit, buttery and floral notes will enchant your nose. Meanwhile the freshness will give a breeze to your mouth. Try: Colli Euganei Fior d’Arancio Passito Alpianae Vignalta

 5) Picolit (Veneto) 

If you’d like to try a legendary, rare wine, you’d choose a bottle of Picolit. The preciousness and prestige of this Italian sweet wine is worldwide popular. Surely connected with the small quantity of product available. To explain, a genetic disease of the Picolit grape variety, causes, during vegetation cycle, a natural loss of grapes on the bunch. Is one of the wines to be tasted before to die, for instance. Try: Colli orientali del Friuli Picolit Valentino Bitussi or Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit Marco Sara

6) Albana Passito (Romagna)

Albana wine is a local ancient variety.Well known since the ancient Roman times. Grapes grow perfectly in Southern Bologna province on a limestone and sandstone soil. In short, this wine is famous for a legend listing the daughter of the Emperor Teodosio. Galla Placidia, in 453 A.C. She got shocked by the colour and taste of this wine. She  shout “this wine should be served from gold cups”. That is to say, let’s drink history. Try: Romagna Albana Passito Innamorato by Poderi Morini or Romagna Albana Passito Scaccomatto by Fattoria Zerbina.

7)PASSITO DI NOTO (Sicily) 

Extreme south of Sicily, close to the sea and kissed by the sun, in enclosure of four villages (Noto, Roslini, Pachino, Avola ). The vineyards of Moscato Bianco grows under high temperatures on a mix of sandy, limestone. Clay and marine stones making this wine unique. Be ready for an explosion of aromas. Juicy yellow fruit to bite, balsamic notes and much more. Try: Passito di Noto by Planeta or Passito di Noto by Feudo Ramaddini

8) CINQUE TERRE SCIACCHETRA’ (Liguria)

At the limit with Toscana, western side of the Riviera, the amazing Cinque Terre. This land offers breath-taking panoramic views likewise, amazing food and unforgettable wines. The name of this wine comes from local Liguria dialect. It means “press it “and “save it”. After the harvest, grapes dry under sun then ferment and mature. Certainly prices are high for a wine produced with a very big effort. Above all, this wine is lively in the mouth. A little tannic and salty, fresh and balanced in addition. Try: Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà by Cheo

9) GRECO DI BIANCO (Calabria)

In a secluded corner of fascinating and challenging Locride in southern Calabria, the toe of Italian Peninsula. Few miles outback, runs the final of the mountain chain. It’s called Aspromonte. Along the coastline the amazing Riviera dei Gelsomini. . Here is our place: a small piece of land craving of one of the most precious and unique Sweet wines from Italy: The “ Greco di Bianco”. This amazing wine from Malvasia grapes is almost unknown to the majority of people. Moreover, could be a smart investment for a collector. Try: Greco di Bianco by Cantine Lucà

10)PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA  DOLCE NATURALE (Puglia)

In the amazing Puglia region, facing the Ionian sea, here is Salento area. Certainly famous for amazing seaside holidays, food and wine, between Bari and Taranto. Primitivo grapes are most important red grapes growing here. Primitivo and Zinfandel are brothers. They descend from the same DNA. The sweet version comes from fermentation of dried grapes on the plant. Therefore they make a late harvest. As a result, tasting this wine is the quintessence of the word “Nirvana”. Try: Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale – Giuseppe Attanasio 

Daniela Cassoni, Foodie & Founder @ www.gourmetaly.com, wine & travel expert

10 white wines to try before you leave Italy

Are you coming to Italy? Are you looking forward to tasting Prosecco and Chianti? Be open mind and you will be incredibly surprised!

In this shortlist I want to recommend the best 10 Italian white wines to my foodie friends traveling all over the country. Surely, it does not include the great variety of Italian wines, but it consists of wines in which you can find the soul of Italian regions and traditions.

1. Frascati Superiore (Lazio)

When in Rome you cannot miss tasting the edge of local white wines.

  • Color: straw color, almost brilliant.
  • Taste: Persistent bouquet with a floral scent and exotic fruit.
  • To pair with: tonnarello cacio e pepe, fresh cheeses and shellfish.
  • Category: DOCG.
  • Try: Poggio Verde Principe Pallavicini (wine shop ave. price: € 12,00 bottle).

2. Chardonnay (Piemonte)

If you are looking for a completely different Chardonnay experience, try a luxury Chardonnay made in the Langhe region (in the Barbaresco area).
Here, every vineyard and wine producer will offer you a different kind of wines, due to the variety of soil that changes meter by meter.

  • Taste: superb concentration of perfumes, mature fruits, with a lively acidity and amazing long-lasting persistence. If aged, it becomes more and more harmonic.
  • To pair with: truffle, fish, white meat, soups, and pasta.
  • Try: Chardonnay 2013 Gaya & Rey (wine shop: € 145,00 bottle).

3. Friuli Colli Orientali (Friuli Venezia Giulia)

  • Taste: Scent of hay and stones, very fresh and rich in minerals. in addition with flavor of cedar and exotic fruit.
  • To pair with: soups and risotto.
  • Try: Friuli Colli Orientali Illivio Felluga (wine shop: € 22,00 bottle).

4. Garganega (Veneto)

This lovely Italian white wine, produced with local grapes, is a top expression of its land. The soil of volcanic origin, full of basalt, also makes the grapes rich in minerals, and gives an aromatic flavor to them.

  • Color: typical straw-color.
  • Taste: Full in salinity, the scent of peach, apple, chamomile, and stone. Also Very fresh.
  • To pair with: pies, vegetarian meals, fried fish, chicken curry.
  • Try: Soave Classico DOC Inama 2013 (wine shop: € 10,00 bottle).

5. Vermentino (Liguria)

This variety descends from the Spanish vines that you can find in Tuscany, Sardinia, Corsica, and Liguria. Specifically in this area, it produces incredibly flavored wines.

  • Taste: full body and alcohol, fruity and aromatic herbs scent also lightly almond aftertaste. Delicate notes with the prevalence of thymus, sage and Mediterranean scrub.
  • To pair with: appetizers, fish,and pasta.
  • Try: Fosso di Corsano Vermentino Colli di Luni Terenzuola 2015 (wine shop: € 13,00).

6.Verdicchio (Marche)

This white wine is definitely one of the oldest Italian ones.

  • Color: gold-green.
  • Taste: typical intense almond aftertaste. Fresh and often very saline, it is balanced with good alcohol quantity that makes it smooth. Perfumes of herbs, grass, and fruit.
  • To pair with: appetizers, fried specialties, roasted fish and first courses, turkey and white meat.
  • Try: Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Classsico Villa Bucci Riserva 2013 (wine shop: € 32,00).

7.Ribolla Gialla (Friuli Venezia Giulia)

This is an ancient variety of white wines that grow on hills.

  • Taste: peach, pear, lavender, and herbs. Complex and elegant nose
  • To pair with: fish in any cooking style, appetizers, eggs, quiches and white meat with sauce.
  • Try: Ribolla Gialla Damijan Podversic 2011 (wine shop: € 30,00 bottle).

8.Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene (Veneto)

Prosecco is a status symbol and a must to drink, perfect for the happy hour. When in Italy, you should try the one produced in Cartizze with the Italian method Martinotti/Charmat.

  • Taste: dry wine with lively acidity. In addition, inviting fragrance. Sweet acacia flowers and hazelnuts scent.
  • To pair with: for instance, celebrating something.
  • Try: Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze Dry 2014 Bortomiol (wine shop: € 18,00 bottle).

9. Grillo (Sicilia)

This variety of Italian white wines is cultivated all over the Sicily. In fact, it is important for the production of Marsala. Alone Grillo, is very elegant and generous, amazing if it is refined in wood.

  • Taste: intense nose of candy citrus fruit. If vinified in purity and stainless steel, it becomes amazingly perfumed and tasty. The scent of delicate fruit and herbs. It also has an amazing capacity for aging.
  • To pair with: shellfishes, mussels, risotto with fish.
  • Try: Il Grillo ‘14 Feudo Disisa (wine shop: € 10,00 bottle).

10.Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Toscana)

No Italian wine can boast a history that dates back centuries like Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

  • Color: pale straw yellow with golden highlights that become more evident with age.
  • Taste: perfume fine and delicate. Fruity and floral scents (when the wine is young); the mineral scent of flint (when it matures). It is a dry, harmonious and savory flavored wine. It also has an amazing capacity for aging.
  • To pair with: “ribollita” soup and all variants of this found throughout Tuscany;  also fish dishes; fried food and eggs; in the same way white meats and medium mature cheeses.
  • Try: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Sanice Riserva 2012 (wine shop: € 12,00 bottle).

10 red wines to try before you leave Italy

If you are coming to Italy, and you are looking forward to taste the amazing and affordable Italian red wines, this list is for you.

It is a shortlist of Italian red wines. I like to recommend to my foodie friends who are traveling all over the country. Surely, it does not include the great variety of Italian wines, but it consists of those kinds of wines in which you can find the soul of Italian regions and traditions.
Here you are the top 10 Italian red wines you should try before you leave.

1. Amarone della Valpolicella (Veneto)

With its intense spicy taste, this wine is like a serenade to a lover.
It is produced with a particular process starting from grapes partially dried, then fermented until all sugars turn into alcohol. The result is a full-bodied wine with a high level of alcohol (often over 15°) and elegant tannins, also suitable for long aging.

  • To pair with: herb cheeses, gorgonzola, smoked cheeses, risotto Milanese style.
  • Category: DOCG.
  • Try: classic Campolongo di Torbe 2009 Masi (wine shop ave. price: € 98,00 bottle).

2. Barolo (Piemonte, Langhe e Roero)

This wine is produced with grapes of high hills, and it is very different according to the year of harvest, the location of the vineyard and the age of the plants.

  • Taste: amazing nose with complex and intense sensations of red flowers, black cherries, licorice, and tobacco. As well as spices and balsamic herbs. It is smooth and strong at the same time, with powerful and rounded tannins.
  • To pair with: Brasato al Barolo (meat marinated in wine)and  roasted lamb. Also Grana Padano cheese,Parmigiano Reggiano and grilled beef.
  • TryBarolo Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe Riserva 2009 (wine shop ave. price: € 85,00 bottle).

3. Barbera (Piemonte)

  • Taste: strong acidity able to balance a high content of alcohol. Its flavor is powerful and elegant at the same time. In fact with typical cherry and red fruits flavor turning with age to spicy and cinnamon. Sometimes licorice and mushrooms.
  • To pair with: sheep cheeses, pig’s trotters and  carpaccio. In addition tortellini, boiled meat, taleggio cheese and fontina.
  • TryBarbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza 2012 Olim Bauda (wine shop ave. price: € 25,00).

4.Brunello di Montalcino (Toscana)

  • Taste: soft rounded tannins, salinity and  moderate alcohol. Splendid nose sensation of roses and red fruit followed by mineral notes and licorice.
  • To pair with: pork, roasted meat (duck, chicken), hare. In addition pecorino Romano.
  • Try: Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2010 Fattoria Altesino (wine shop: € 35,00 bottle).

5.Sangiovese (Emilia Romagna)

  • Taste: fruity nose with the sensation of black raspberry, spices, and wood. Nice salinity, full-body, elegant tannins, and spicy aftertaste.
  • To pair with: pasta al ragù, meat, aged cheeses and game meat.
  • Try: Sangiovese AVI riserva 2010 San Patrignano (wine shop ave. price: € 16,00 bottle).

6. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane (Abruzzo)

  • To pair with: smoked beef, Alto Adige speck and  smoked prosciutto. Also with spaghetti al ragù, roasted lamb, pasta amatriciana and  sausages.
  • Try: Colline Teramane Pieluni Riserva 2010 Illuminati (wine shop ave. price: €22,00 bottle).

7. Aglianico del Taburno (Campania)

  • Taste: delicate nose fresh grass and wild flowers.
  • To pair with: fish and meat.
  • Try: Vigna Cataratte Riserva 2008 Fontanavecchia (wine shop: € 25,00 bottle).

8. Frappato (Sicilia)

  • Taste: fresh and delicate wine, lively and persistent with fruity sensations.
  • To pair with: roasted chicken, and pasta with meat sauce.
  • Try: Il Frappato 2013 Occhipinti (wine shop ave. price: € 25,00).

9. Etna Rosso (Sicilia)

This wine comes from the vineyards that grow on volcanic soil, and it is full of minerals.

  • Taste: red fruits, aromatic herbs, and salt.
  • To pair with: pecorino romano, pecorino sardo and  escalopes with marsala. Likewise with tripe.
  • Try: Etna Rosso San Lorenzo 2013 Girolamo Russo (wine shop ave. price: € 38,00).

10.Sagrantino (Umbria)

  • Taste: powerful and intense nose very complex. Moreover fruity and aromatic herbs, cherry, mint, and oregano. Full body and persistent taste. Therefore it needs a long refinement in the bottle.
  • To pair with: roasted meat, red meat, braised, hare and aged cheeses.
  • Try: Montefalco Sagrantino Chiusa di Pannone 2008 Antonelli (wine shop ave. price: € 30,00).

 

Boast of Roman traditional food: mozzarella in carrozza

Mozzarella in carrozza: the original recipe

Like many of Italy’s most delicious recipes, mozzarella in carrozza (“mozzarella in the carriage”) has humble origins too.  The idea comes from the custom among less well-off families, who could not afford to waste food, to use up stale bread and no-longer fresh mozzarella in a new and tasty dish.
Over time the recipe for mozzarella in carrozza conquered Lazio kitchens, to establish itself as a classic too in Roman tradition.
The name “mozzarella in carrozza” refers to the fact that the two slices of bread form the “carriage”, within which the cheese travels.

How to make mozzarella in carrozza

Ingredients

  • 6 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 fist-sized ball mozzarella, cut into approximately 1/4-inch slices, then strips
  • 4 flat anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, for frying

Preparation

Make sandwiches out of the bread and mozzarella, leaving a little margin around the edges unfilled with cheese and the anchovies fillet,  and press the edges together with your fingers to help seal. Pour the milk into 1 soup bowl, the flour into another, and beat the egg with salt and pepper in another. Warm the oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Dunk the sandwiches briefly, 1 by 1, in the milk, then dredge in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg. Fry in hot oil on each side until crisp and golden and remove to a paper towel.

What to do and where to eat in Rome: Giardino degli Aranci

Giardino degli Aranci: The orange garden of Rome

A little bit of history

The orange garden of Rome takes the name from the bitter orange trees growing there. It extends over the area of an ancient fortress built near the Basilica of Santa Sabina. The Church, owned by the Savelli family between 1285 and 1287,  was built over an old castle constructed by the Crescenti in the tenth century. The Savelli castle and other remains of the castle can be still seen along the walls.

 The Dominican Order of Santa Sabina became the owner of the castle. Later transformed it into a monastery, and the small park into a vegetable garden. According to legend, Saint Dominic gave the garden its first orange tree, after transporting a sapling from Spain. Legend also tells that Saint Catherine of Siena picked the oranges from this tree and made candied fruit, which she gave to Pope Urban VI.

Today

The garden has a symmetrical setting, with a central avenue aligned with the viewpoint. Recently named in honor of the actor Nino Manfredi. The central square has the name of another Roman actor, Fiorenzo Fiorentini, who for many years led the ongoing summer Theatre season in the park.
The fountain at the entrance in Piazza Pietro D’Illiria is made up of two separate pieces: a Roman thermal bath and a monumental marble mask. Both originally carved to adorn a fountain built in 1593 by Giacomo della Porta for a cattle market (Campo Vaccino) in the centre of Rome. The mask has a long history. It has been dismantling in 1816 and 1827 used to decorate a fountain erected on the right bank of the Tiber. This fountain was demolished in 1890. Inside the municipal warehouses , the Roman administration recovered the sculptures,until moved them to its present location.

Special Info

On the right of the Giardino there’s the site of the Knights of Malta. The location of the building is front of San Pietro. From the keyhole of the entrance door of the palace you can see the Basilica di San Pietro like if it is just inside the garden. You should definitely try it. It isn’t something everybody knows and it’s a very funny and beautiful experience.

When to go

The perfect period to come and visit the Giardino degli aranci is spring. The trees inside the garden are full of flowers . In addition, in spring this area is really really beautiful and has a very romantic atmosphere. Everything is green, and the sun starts to go down very late. In conclusion, so you can enjoy every single moment here in this amazing park, including a stunning sunset.
This is the second place where you can enjoy the best view of Rome. So you can come here during the day to visit the aventino Hill. Also in the evening to have a very special moment with a different but amazing view.

What and where to eat on the Aventino hill

Up on the Aventino hill, location of  the Giardino degli Aranci, is a residential area. Hard to find restaurant here. So I will give you some advice for good places close to the Circo Massimo (just at the bottom of the Garden).

  • Bar Bistrot Gusto Massimo (Via del Circo Massimo 5): Perfect for a panino or a sandwich or just a coffee .But you can even have lunch sitting at a table and enjoying the view of Rome.
  • 0,75-Zerosettantacinque (Via dei Cerchi 65): if you’re looking for a place to have dinner or lunch, but you’re sick of pasta and pizza (strange but could happen). Here you will taste the best hamburgers of this area. The staff is very friendly and the prices are not too high.
  • Alvaro al Circo Massimo (Via dei Cerchi 53): traditional Roman dishes, try Amatriciana and Lasagne, definitely worth .
  • Farmer’s market: On Saturday and Sundays, at the old fish market of Rome in San Teodoro, is possible to visit the organic farmer’s market, where you can shop local products guaranteed by Coldiretti.

How to reach it

The buses that arrive closest to the Garden are:

  • on Via della Greca 81, 160, 628
  • on Lungotevere Aventino 23, 30, 44, 280, 130,170, 716, 781

Contact us

For an organic gourmet experience , book our Farmer’s market food tour. Two delicious hours tasting cheeses, hams, honey and learning how to make grocery shopping.

Any enquiry about this article? Write to Martina at love@www.gourmetaly.com.
Martina is a local foodie and insider, she has a bachelor in Fine Art for Tour Operators and Cultural Management. Meet Martina and join one of our events.

What and where to eat in Rome: Villa Pamphili

What and where to eat close to Villa Pamphili 

In the area of Monteverde, a popular quarter where many Roman citizens live.

Best Restaurants near Villa Pamphili are:

Vivi Bistrot: This cosy bistrot is located inside the public park ( entrance on Via Vitellia 102). Perfect for a break, coffee, brunch, lunch or tea time, this bistrot offers only organic food selection. If you want to have dinner you can look for other places outside the villa.

La Gatta Mangiona (Via Federico Ozanam 30-32):  the best pizza napoletana in Rome.

La Schiacciata Romana (Via Folco Portinari 36):a very simple place where you can taste the Pinza Romana

Da Cesare (Via del Casaletto 45): one of the best trattoria of Rome

Mò Mò Republic (Piazza Carlo Forlanini 10): they have a really nice garden full of rabbits and a lovely atmosphere. For a nice aperitif or elegant dinner.

If you want to taste pastries or cakes, this area has the best pastry shops are:

Cristalli di Zucchero (Via di Val Tellina, 114) and La Dolce Vita (Via Mezzenile 70).

Looking for a very special experience? book an organic gourmet picnic.
Pic-nic in Rome is the ultimate way to enjoy nature and amazing food with your travel companions.

Villa Pamphili: a little bit of history

“Villa” stands for Countryside residence  

The ‘old villa’ (Villa vecchia), already existed before Pamfilio Pamphili decided to buy the building as Family summer residence.

His famous wife, Olimpia Maidalchini, loved this suburban villa. It was surrounded by vineyards and located on top of a hill blessed by fresh air. Rome, ideed was affected by malaric contagions, so, this residence offered a better staying for the family.

In 1644 Cardinal Giambattista Pamphili became elected to the papacy. He took the name of Innocent X. In accordance with this change in status, the Pamphili aspired to a grander and more expansively sited new villa.  In conclusion, the powerful family paid for the best architects in order to restyle the building.

Casino del Bel Respiro

The Pamphili family was a family of works of art collectors. Their collection listed hundreds of statues and Ancient Roman antiquities such as vases, sarcophagi and mani others. Mostly found in the vineyards property of the Family.

To host their collection they built a Casino, known as the Casino del Bel Respiro. The casino, was designed as a complement to the Pamphili collection of sculptures both ancient and modern. It was completed only in the middle of teh 1600th. But the family and guests resided in the older Vecchia Vigna.

The architecture and the change of the name:

The Casino facades had rhythmically alternating windows and niches . Adorned with sculptures and with busts in hollowed roundels, also panels of bas-reliefs, and reliefs.

Girolamo Pamphili died in 1760 without male heirs. Few years before Prince Giovanni II Doria, married Anna Pamphili, a descendant of the Family. Therefore, Doria’s son Andrea IV claimed the property and the Pope Clement XIII accorded. Since then, the Villa changed its name in Villa Doria Pamphili.

Villa Doria Pamphili

Throughout the 18th century, features were regularly added such as fountains and gateways by Gabriele Valvassori . Moreover ,after the Napoleonic era, the villa and its gardens renewed again.

The villa and the park were also theatre of the battle for the defense of the short-lived Roman Republic in 1849–1850. In addition, the great general Garibaldi hastily fortified three of the villas on the outskirts of Rome.

In conclusion at the turn of the 20th century, Prince Doria Pamphili added Art Nouveau interiors.

Villa Corsini

In the course of the French bombardment, the prominently-sited neighboring Villa Corsini (dei Quattro Venti for its airy perch) got destroyed. In the aftermath,  prince Doria-Pamphili bought the extensive Corsini grounds, almost doubling the Villa Doria Pamphili’s already extensive grounds. So, he erected on the former villa’s site, the monumental commemorative arch, ‘Arch of the Four Winds’. However, the Corsini casina near it, Palazzino Corsini, did not harmed. To clarify, is possible to visit it for temporary art exhibitions.

Today

The Casino del Bel Respiro became property of the Italian State in 1957 and consequently used as the seat of a Ministry.

Today its collection of antiquities and sculptures is open to public as a museum.
Only in 1965–1971 the City of Rome took it over  from the Doria-Pamphilii-Landi family.

The park’s facilities include sites for bird-watching , jogging and playgrounds. The park has an area of 1.8 km².
A road built for the Olympic games of 1960, divides the grounds in two sections. In celebration of the Jubilee Year of 2000, the architect Massimo d’Alessandro built a curved and arching pedestrian bridge to join the two sections more amenably.

When to go

Villa Pamphili is open every day. In short, you can come here whenever you want just to take a walk or have a picnic for example. Likewise do some jogging or join yoga classes in the park. Most important, remember that opening hours are from 7 a.m till 6 p.m in winter and from 7 a.m till 9 p.m in summer, so you can’t visit it at night.

How to reach it

Villa Pamphili has a lot of different entrances. So the addresses are: Via di San Pancrazio, via Aurelia Antica, via Leone XII, largo M. Luther King, via Vitellia, via della Nocetta.

Obviously there are a lot of ways to get here that is to say to take the bus:  710, 870 (via Vitellia, via di Porta S.Pancrazio), 31,33,180,791 via Leone XIII), 984 (via Aurelia Antica e via Leone XIII), 982 (via Vitellia, Via Leone XIII).

Contact us

Any enquiry about this article? Write to Giorgia at love@www.gourmetaly.com.
Giorgia is a local foodie and insider. She studied foreign languages and has a degree in Interpreting,translation . Meet Giorgia and join one of our events.