Extra Virgin Olive Oil: the taste of the Mediterranean

The experience of tasting extra virgin olive oil

A splash of olive oil on your dish, a fragrant touch, an ancestral gesture connected to family history.
The golden thread that links the history of each Italian family with a thousand-year tradition, a cultural, gastronomic and emotional heritage that we want to preserve and recover.

Is oil dressing or food? Quality oil plays a decisive role in the success of a dish, no matter if at home or at a restaurant.

Within the Mediterranean diet model, scientifically considered one of the best nutritional system choices, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage, olive oil occupies a position of excellence.

The choice to replace other fats is absolutely personal and also resides in the taste and in the territorial tradition of the kitchen, as long as you speak in both cases of quality.

How should we consider oil quality?

The mix of variety, territory, maturation, climate and harvesting and extraction technique.

Is oil quality measurable? There are measurable chemical parameters and quality assessment methods. Chemical analysis is defined by the components of acidity, polyphenols, and peroxides. The control of genuineness is based on detecting the presence of compounds that are atypical in the production of extra virgin, ie chemical products used for example for extraction.

Read the label: extra-virgin olive oil is extracted, it is not produced.

To extract the oil it is necessary to use mechanical and artisanal machinery. It is important to focus on the origin of olives and the time gap between the harvest and the squeezing. It is evident that shorter is this time better is the result, so we love to choose producers that take care of this.

Big companies, multinationals, that market the product with massive advertising campaigns, are basic bottling companies, not producers or farmers, often buying olives in different countries of the Mediterranean basin, blending them with an order to obtain a homogeneous product for distribution.

The artisan mills are required by law to certify all stages of production of their oil, from the methods of raisins, extraction, bottling, then an artisan product offers more guarantees of protection for the consumer.

Pairing olive oil and food

Maybe we do not consider the opportunity to match food and olive oil, generally, we have just one kind at home and we use it for all food preparation. Choosing the right one can really make a difference in the final taste of your dish. Extra virgin olive oil can offer several different taste sensation, a good match can exalt the recipe.

Write to us or take a tasting. Enjoy your quality food.

How to reach Rome from the airport and vice versa

Many foodies ask us how to reach Rome from the airport and vice versa. No stress! There are may ways: the best choice depends on the location of your hotel, and on how many you are, and of course on the airport you land.
Take note that Rome is served by two different airports: Fiumicino (located west side) and Ciampino (east side).
Fiumicino (FCO) is the biggest Roman airport and it is called Leonardo da Vinci. Terminal is organized in 4 different docks: T1, T2, T3 and T5.  T5 is reserved to air companies from and to USA, and from and to Israel.
National and international flights from Rome vary according to final destination of air companies. There are info points managed directly by air companies in the main hall of the airport. Be sure about your airport name when leaving before planning your departure transfer.

For both airports

By Taxi

There are several Taxi Company available. Biggest and reliable Company is 3570 Tel. number +39 063570, operators english speaking, many taxi drivers speak English.

From the airport to Rome by taxi

There are always taxi cabs available outside the building of the Airport, waiting for passengers in line. Taxis licensed by Rome City Council are white and have a sign bearing the word “TAXI” on their roofs. The symbol of Rome City Council is clearly visible on the front doors and the license inside the back left. Other vehicles may well be driven by unauthorized persons and the fare could therefore be a great deal higher.
Tourist fishing is illegal. If someone stops you inside the building (even if wearing a kind of badge) asking if you’d need a taxi, simply ignore them and make your way to the exit. Taxi cabs are waiting at the taxi stand.
Taxi fare from both airports to Rome City centre is fixed. According to the address of your Hotel in Rome final fare may vary. Rome is a large city, fixed fares refers to an area that correspond to the ancient city limit (Aurelian Walls). Hotels outside this area will be reached with the meter fare.
Check if taxi driver is applying fixed fare
Fixed fares are inclusive of all extra charges from/to both Airports (prices are per journey and not per passenger).

  • From Fiumicino Airport to within the Aurelian Walls and vice versa: € 48.00
  • From Fiumicino Airport to Castello della Magliana – Parco dei Medici and vice versa: € 30.00
  • From Fiumicino Airport to Nuova Fiera di Roma Exhibition Centre and vice versa: € 25.00
  • From Fiumicino Airport to Ciampino Airport and vice versa: € 50.00
  • From Fiumicino Airport to Tiburtina Station and vice versa: € 55.00
  • From Fiumicino Airport to Ostiense Station and vice versa: € 45.00
  • From Fiumicino Airport to Port of Civitavecchia and vice versa: € 120.00
  • From Ciampino Airport to within the Aurelian Walls and vice versa: € 30.00
  • From Ciampino Airport to Tiburtina Station and vice versa: € 35.00
  • From Ciampino Airport to Ostiense Station and vice versa: € 30.00

From Rome to the airport

Booking a taxi cab pick up. You can call radiotaxi number and book a transfer for next day, or you’d call number from your Hotel. When you call a taxi please take a note of the code of taxi cab (provided by the radiotaxi) and be sure to jump in to the right taxi cab (taxi code is displayed on  the side back doors of the cab). We recommend you to leave the hotel 3 hours before departure of your flight. If you’d like to pay by credit card advise the radiotaxi when making the booking.
You can book a taxi directly from the app https://www.ittaxi.it/ and pay by credit card. App is useful to call taxi in other Italian cities too. Very useful in case of very crowded days as per example, in case of bad weather, strikes and stuck of public transportation.
Booking a private limo transfer – you’d call one of the private companies that provides transfer to/from airport. Prices may vary according to Company. Usually more expensive then public taxi.
Airport shuttle service– shuttle shared service is available from centra located Hotels. Is a shared private vehicle with stops to pick up/drop off others at their hotels. Prices about € 40,00 per  journey.

Train (to Fiumicino only)

  • Leonardo express train connects Roma Termini with Fiumicino, flight takes 30 minutes approx. Fare is about € 14,00 per person
  • Line Fiumicino – Fara Sabina (FM1): with stops at Tiburtina, Tuscolana, Ostiense, Trastevere – From Monday to Saturday every 15 minutes and Sundays or public holidays every 30 minutes. Fare: € 8 euros

Bus

From Rome termini station you can take Terravision buses to Fiumicino (every 30 minutes) and Ciampino (every 40 minutes) – € 4,00 fare per ticket

Our recommendation

If you are min 2 people travelling with luggage and your hotel is not located close to one of the main stations and within Aurelian Walls, taxi is the best way. Taxi will pick up you directly at the Hotel without being forced to manage a transfer from the hotel to the train station and then to the airport. Compared to the price for transport from the hotel to the train station and train ticket, taxi is more convenient and comfortable.

 If you’d need any further recommendation about how to move in Rome, contact us by email, we’ll be glad to help you.
Enjoy your Roman holiday!

What to do and where to eat in Rome: Circo Massimo

 

Circus Maximus: a little bit of history

The Circus Maximus (Latin for greatest or largest circus, in Italian Circo Massimo) is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue located in Rome. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome and its later Empire. It measured 621 m (2,037 ft) in length and 118 m (387 ft) in width and could accommodate over 150,000 spectators. In its fully developed form, it became the model for circuses throughout the Roman Empire.
The southeastern turn of the track ran between two shrines which may have predated the Circus’ formal development. One, located at the outer southeast perimeter, was dedicated to the valley’s eponymous goddess Murcia, an obscure deity associated with Venus, the myrtle shrub, a sacred spring, the stream that divided the valley, and the lesser peak of the Aventine Hill. The other was at the southeastern turning-post; where there was an underground shrine to Consus, a minor god of grain-stores, connected to the grain-goddess Ceres and to the underworld. According to Roman tradition, Romulus discovered this shrine shortly after the founding of Rome. He invented the Consualia festival, as a way of gathering his Sabine neighbours at a celebration that included horse-races and drinking. During these distractions, Romulus’s men then abducted the Sabine daughters as brides. Thus the famous Roman myth of the Rape of the Sabine women had as its setting the Circus and the Consualia.
After the 6th century, the Circus fell into disuse and decay, and was quarried for building materials. The lower levels, ever prone to flooding, were gradually buried under waterlogged alluvial soil and accumulated debris, so that the original track is now buried 6m beneath the modern surface. Many of the Circus’ standing structures survived these changes; in 1587, two obelisks were removed from the central barrier by Pope Sixtus V, and one of these was re-sited at the Piazza del Popolo. Mid 19th century workings at the circus site uncovered the lower parts of a seating tier and outer portico. Since then, a series of excavations has exposed further sections of the seating, curved turn and central barrier but further exploration has been limited by the scale, depth and waterlogging of the site.
The circus site is now a public park and it often hosts concerts and meetings.

When to go

The perfect periods to come and see the Circo Massimo are two: one in winter, especially during Christmas holidays, because here usually are organized concerts, meetings and parades, mainly for New Year’s Eve; the second one is May/June, for more or less the same reasons: concerts, demonstrations, meetings and so on…plus, in summer or spring this area is really really beautiful and has a very romantic atmosphere, with all the trees with flowers and the first summer fruits, everything is green, and the sun starts to go down very late so you can enjoy every single moment here in this amazing park, included a stunning sunset.

What and where to eat: the restaurants near Circus Maximus

This area and this park are very beautiful if you want to go for a walk or to stay in the park with a book all day long, so of course there are a lot of bars and paninerie all around, in my opinion, one of the best bar here is Bar Bistrot Gusto Massimo (Via del Circo Massimo 5), here you can have 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; if you’re looking for a place to have dinner or lunch, but you’re sick of pasta and pizza (strange but could happen), you can go to 0,75-Zerosettantacinque (Via dei Cerchi 65) where you can enjoy the best hamburgers of this area, the staff is very friendly and the prices are not too high, even if we are in the city center; another very good restaurant, a little bit fancier and with traditional Roman dishes, is Alvaro al Circo Massimo (Via dei Cerchi 53), their best recipe is the Amatriciana and the Lasagne, definitely worth everything.

How to reach it

Circo Massimo is very very easy to reach, because here arrives the subway, more precisely, the B line (the blue one), so if you are close to a subway station, you can’t get lost.
There are even some buses you can take, like for example number 75 from Termini, or the tram number 3.

Contact us

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.

Eating in Italy: do as the locals do

One of the main reasons that comes out when you decide to visit Italy is to finally enjoy real Italian food, doing your best both to skip tourist traps and to step into the first place you find.
Locals are really demanding when it’s time to choose restaurants or even a snack bar, being “eat well” quite a serious thing for us.
It says that Italians live to eat instead of eat to live, there is a big truth in this as you need always to bear in mind that the heart our social life is always connected with sharing food.
Eating is not just a matter of filling your stomach, has also a lot to deal with the great pleasure to appreciate the good, tasty things that the world offers and, moreover, to share these with people you like and care for.
 
In Italy you will learn why Italians are shocked by tourists drinking a cappuccino at the end of a meal, dressing pasta with cream, or twirling spaghetti with the little help of a spoon.
But, to best experience the Italian food, the most important info you need to know before your visit in Italy starts is that Italian food means Regional food.
You will never truly enjoy eating in Italy if you will try to have the best pizza  in Trentino Region or the best Amatriciana in Milan, or the perfect Florentine steak in Palermo.
Each region will provide you with the real authentic food to be tasted in the right place but, pay attention, not all restaurants or trattorias are able to provide you with the top of the experience.
What is the “top”? For us, more than the now super popular stellar chefs the touchstone is our granma style.
Locals love their family cooking style.
And there will always be discussions about which granma recipe is the best for the Sauce Bolognese.
That’s why eating in Italy led by food tours in Rome is one of the nicest way to both approach the local food style and also get in touch with local people in an authentic way.
Gourmetaly food tours provides people the best food tour of Rome, led by local enthusiastic foodies in the very heart of three of the best areas of Rome: Campo de Fiori, Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere.
Join an event at the beginning of your staying and be able to distinguish touristy places from the ones beloved by local people.
Moreover, get involved with the tradition of the place and the local customs that are not the result of habits and fortuity, but a sign of history.

Food tips: the tradition of rice balls in Rome

The tradition of rice balls (supplì) in Rome

If you are looking for an unforgettable risotto in Rome, you will not have an easy life. The Romans, as the Neapolitans and the southerners, were used to use rice in case of disturbances gastric and intestinal. In fact, even the ancient Romans considered rice like medicine.
Rice was long linked to the role of medicine even when the Aragonese dynasty introduced the cultivation in Salerno in the fifteenth century. For long-time Salerno had the reputation for best rice production until the cultivation passed in Lombardy due to the favorable environmental conditions.
Italy then split into two, the Northern regions related to the use of rice and the Southern ones related to the pasta. In Rome we call the famous rice balls “supplì, in Naples “sartù, in Puglia “tiella”, in Sicily Arancini.

The supplì is one of the symbols of the Roman fried food: it can be an appetizer, a side dish, a finger food, a snack or lunch standing. What matters most is that it is well done.
A well-made rice supplì in Rome must comply with certain rules.

  1. Size and shape. Not too small, nor too big, with the shape of an egg able to be eaten in two bites.
  2. Mozzarella. A cube of mozzarella must be placed at the center of the rice balls.
  3. Dry frying. The outside of the rice balls, covered with grounded dry bread, should be like a dry scab.

At the first or at the second bite, you will taste the melted mozzarella that will leave a long wire. Because of that, the Roman rice balls are called “supplì style phone” (in memory of the telephone wires).
The name supplì comes from the French word “surprise” and it is related to the effect of mozzarella.
In Rome many pizzerie, trattorie, restaurants or street market sell supplì.
Some important historians and intellectuals, when in Rome, were delighted by the quality of supplì. It also seems that James Joyce talked about it 20 years after his trip to Italy. So, you can not leave Rome without tasting supplì.

The traditional food to eat on special days in Rome

Special food on special days: the recipes of tradition

Did you know that in Rome we like to eat special food on special days? From a writer of 1907, we know that this list was really popular already. Discover which recipes are most popular in Rome, according to our grandmother’s teachings.
1st January. Lentils and grapes
Carnival/Shrove Tuesday. Flat fried pastries and ravioli.
Lent (40 days before Easter). Chickpeas, codfish, maritozzo (typical roman pastry filled up with whip cream).
San Giuseppe (19th March). Pancakes, zeppole, bignè
Easter. Lamb, consommè, eggs, salami, pizza.
25th April. Cherries (that is not more like this, nowadays cherries comes on June).
24th May. Giuncata (a traditional homemade cheese with sheep milk and fragrant herbs).
26th Maggio (San Filippo Neri). Strawberries at lunch.
24th June (San Giovanni). Snails.
2nd November (commemoration of the death). Fava bean and dead bones (cookies).
11th November (San Martino). First wine tasting of the year.
25th December (Christmas). Pasta with anchovies, eel, mullet, salmon, broccoli, nougat, Pangallo.

Vegan Tiramisu recipe

Try to make a vegan tiramisu that do not involves eggs, mascarpone or animal ingredients for your ethical friends.
 
Ingredients for the cream:
-400 Grams of velvety tofu
-300 Ml vegetable cream
-3 Tablespoons rum
-Espresso coffee
-dark cocoa or cinnamon
For the biscuits:
-350 Grams of flour
-20 Grams of potato starch
-80 G frumina
-100 Grams of margarine without hydrogenated fats
-160 Grams of brown sugar
-150 Gr soy milk
-2 Tablespoons rice syrup
-1 Teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
-2 Teaspoons of baking powder
first prepare the biscuits, in a bowl sift the dry compounds excluded sugar.
Mix in a bowl milk, add 20g of water and rice syrup, add the softened margarine and add all the dry ingredients. stir until mixture is smooth and sticky.
Rest in refrigerator for at least an hour.
Heat the oven to 190 ° and create small strips of dough smoothing the surface. inform for 10-15 minutes. Once lightly browned divide them in half lengthwise.
Whip the cream with a whisk vegetable, sugar coat if not already sweet, when it will be mounted, add the tofu and the rum and reassemble.
soak the biscuits in coffee and producing a layer on the bottom of a vessel.
Add a layer of cream, a layer of biscuits,  cream again up to the desired height. lultio cover the layer of cream with cocoa

Discovering how to order a Coffee in Rome

 

Rome is crazy about coffee. For about one euro, you can get a teeny cup of pure ecstasy. It’s probably the easiest thing to do in Italy, but not so easy if you don’t know some tricks.

 

Gourmetaly gives you a panoramic shot of ways to order a coffee in Italy. It seems to be very complicated explaining this ritual, but in ordinary life is something people do without paying so much attention to, except if something is not make as they expect.

 

Head right into any bar and ask for “un caffè” (please can be omitted if you smile:).

 

Some bars have you pay first, then go  to the counter while others do the opposite. It is a courtesy to leave a small coin to ‘hold the paper down’ for the server.

 

Elegant bars offers you a little chocolate together with the teeny cup, may be a little chocolate ball or square, or a delicious roasted coffee seed covered by chocolate (bitter and sweet at the same time).

 

From northern to southern Italy there is no need to specify that you’re ordering an espresso: if you just say “caffè” at the cashier you’re definitely ordering an espresso. Any other variation has to be specified.

 

If you are in a tourist area there may be tables and chairs for people to sit and drink coffee, but probably there will be table service with waither and often bars post two sets of prices for those who want to drink standing at the bar (bancone) or sitting at a table (al tavolo). Expect to pay more if you’d decide to sit down, but the cost can be well worth it if you’ve found a cozy little spot for people watching.

 

Want to learn more? Enjoy our Espresso and Gelato tour of Rome. 

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Boast of roman food: Ciambelline al vino (crunchy donuts with wine)

ciambelline-al-vino-rosso

Le Ciambelline di nonna (Grandmother’s ciambelline): the original Roman recipe

This simple but tasty cookie is  typical of the Roman hills, where they are called “ubriachelle” (drunk).
Ciambelline do not contain yeast and ingredients are only of plant origin, so no butter, milk and eggs.
Despite this, the wine donuts maintain a nice crispness.

Ingredients

  • 200 milliliters of white table wine
  • 200 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil (EVO)
  • 200 grams of sugar
  • 1 seed of anise, crushed
  • 1 flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200 grams of sugar cane

Preparation

To make the donuts to the wine must first dispense into a bowl, add the anise seeds, sugar and salt.
Sift the flour and pour in the slurry until a soft consistency of a pastry. (Probably will serve more flour than indicated in the ingredients). At this point you make a ball, place it in a bowl and let it rest for at least two hours in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.
When they passed the two hours, cut into small pieces of dough and make it little rolls, like when you make the dumplings.
Joined together the ends, wetting them slightly so that sticking. Give them a round shape with a hole in the middle.
Put the sugar in a dish where you will pass the donuts, making adhere well sugar from one side only. Bake at 190°C for about 20 minutes.
Serve those at the end of a meal together with sweet wine, vin santo or grappa.

How to cook Spaghetti alla Carbonara (Roman style)

carbonara
If you ask a Roman guy which are the first three traditional roman style dishes, he will answer: Bucatini all’Amatriciana (or Amatriciana), Tonnarelli cacio e pepe and Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

Origin of Spaghetti alla Carbonara

The origin of this famous and delicious dish is unknown. According to the legend, a Carbonaro (coal dealer) who was tired of his work opened a restaurant called “Trattoria del Carbonaro”.
Others claim that the recipe is so called because it was a dish prepared by typical lumberjacks during work breaks.
Every chef and also every grandmothers make a different carbonara: there are those who only use the egg yolk, those who use the whole egg, those who pour the eggs into the pan of pasta, others pour the eggs in the bowl.
Some prepare it with the bacon, but in Rome you only use the “guanciale” (pork cheeks)!
Definitely Spaghetti alla Carbonara is one of the most difficult dish to prepare, even if it is realized with a few ingredients.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara Roman style: the recipe

Ingredients

  • 500 g. of spaghetti
  • 100 g. of bacon (pork cheek meat)
  • 4 eggs (must be fresh)
  • grated pecorino and grated parmesan
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper (quantity at will)

Preparation
While boiling water for the pasta (I recommend the amount of water must be at least three times the weight of the dough). Fry the bacon, cut into strips, with the oil in a frying pan until the bacon is crisp and “camel” colored.
In a plastic bowl mix the grated cheese and egg yolk salt and pepper.
Once the pasta is al dente, drain it without with the colander, transfer it from the boiling water to the pan with the bacon flavor making it on the fire for a few seconds (stirring quickly).
Add the pasta straight from the frying pan into the bowl, flip it over quickly and continuously.
Eggs melt creating a cream. Serve immediately.
You fail if the egg looks like an omelet crumbled, so is really important that everything is made at the same time.