Many moons ago, in the year of 2013, a tale of passion and tradition was born. Fueled by a deep love for the bounty of our land and a longing to share the beauty of our culture, Gourmetaly food tours is celebrating with you 10 years in food and wine tourism.
A decade has passed since the journey began. What was once a novel concept has now blossomed into a common pursuit. Yet, back then, explaining the magic of a food tour was a challenge. As the idea of combining a walk with culinary delights was very unusual. Breaking the barriers of convention was no easy feat, as the tourism landscape centered on must-see destinations. Therefore, leaving little room for the immersive experiences offered by food and wine tourism. But the passion that ignited Gourmetaly’s quest burned brightly. Inspiring us to continue sharing the wonders of our culture with travelers from around the world.
The dawn of experiential tourism
Previously, tourists were only drawn to the arts when visiting Rome and had limited time. Often only enough to see the Vatican and the Colosseum. Short stays and hit-and-run tourism were the norm for years. However, tourism was evolving rapidly due to online booking freeing travelers from the constraints of traditional operators. With tourists and booking methods changing, there was an opportunity to offer more diverse experiences. These new experiences, such as cooking classes, wine tastings, and winery visits, are now an essential part of the visit program, not just an accessory. This shift aligns with what many tourists, including myself, desire when exploring a new place.
Cuisine as an immersive experience in culture
Feasting on exotic flavors is like traveling without a passport. You’re not just biting into food, you’re biting into the heart of a culture! The rich tapestry of traditions, customs, and centuries-old stories woven into every dish is what makes it truly unique. From the spices to the cooking techniques, it’s like a history lesson on your plate! Skipping out on local cuisine is like skipping out on the most exciting part of the trip. So go ahead and take a bite out of adventure!
Exploring Rome’s Street Food Culture
For centuries, Rome has been known as the street food capital. Tasting local delicacies by moving from one store to another is a longstanding tradition that dates back to ancient times. While street food is popular in many parts of the world, Rome is the ideal place to indulge in this culinary phenomenon. With a plethora of pizzerias, pastry shops, bars, and gelaterie that line the streets, squares of all neighborhoods, Rome is a food lover’s paradise. From history and cooking enthusiasts to wine lovers and Sommeliers, the transition to organizing tastings was effortless. Over the past decade, we have accompanied hundreds of thousands of foodies on their journey of discovering Italy’s rich culinary heritage. It’s not just about enjoying delicious food but also experiencing a sense of home, tradition, and family that is deeply rooted in Italian culture.
The first gastronomic tour in the heart of Rome
Our gastronomic tour began with a focus on the sweet delicacies of the Roman tradition: coffee, coffee granita with cream, tiramisu, and gelato. The tour then evolved into our most popular offering: a journey through Campo de Fiori, the Jewish Ghetto, and Trastevere. Our stops were carefully chosen: places from our childhood, family-run shops and restaurants. Then, newly opened venues with a focus on quality and locally sourced ingredients. The priority was to select passionate local foodies to guide our tours, which may not have been the most cost-effective option, but it was certainly the most in line with our goal: to provide an authentic experience that combines personal family stories with a culturally-rich and historical narrative. Our knowledgeable guides accompany each tasting, providing explanations on the flavors and their origins.
Gourmetaly and the Jewish Ghetto.
Understanding the rich culinary tradition of Ancient Rome is akin to unraveling the intricacies of its urban architecture – it requires a deep dive into the city’s history and culture. A decade ago, Rome’s Jewish Ghetto was relatively unexplored territory with only a few sporadic tours led by few tour guides. Or promoted by the Jewish Culture Center. Our food tour, which focused on Portico d’Ottavia, its cuisine, history and tradition, broke new ground and set the benchmark for the countless tours that followed. Our innovative approach and daring choice to highlight this overlooked area of Rome was a resounding success, and we are proud to have made it a popular destination for tourists.
Ask Riccardo Ruggeri of the century old Salsamenteria in Campo de fiori, or Pierluigi Roscioli of the equally historic bakery on Via dei Chiavari, they will remember the first operational chat. Since that day we have delighted hundreds of thousands of traveling foodies together. Just ask the Tazza d’oro, Raimondo & Carlo Ricci of Sant’Eustachio, the Bleve Family of Casa Bleve. The unstoppable Franca and Sonia of Campo de Fiori, the unforgettable Claudio Zampa. The vanished Portico fry shop of Franco and Cristina, the wonderful Italia Tagliacozzo of the Taverna del Ghetto and to Angelo di Porto who took the reins long ago.
Old and new friends
Some have served tons of cacio e pepe and amatriciana for us. Such as Luca of Sette Oche in Altalena, or Ercoli in Trastevere. Or Fiore’s family of true Neapolitans, who have brought fried pizza masterpieces to Rome. Not forgetting the dulcis in fundo of Gunther‘s gelato. Not to mention Aldo Pasquarella‘s Fiordiluna now by Eugenio Morrone, Otaleg or Maria Grazia Manzotti‘s La Gelateria del Viale. Barbara Agosti‘s Tiramisu from Eggs that won the hearts of all of us. Our precious winemaker friends: Merumalia (a big hug to Luigi who we miss and to the whole Fusco family), Marco Carpineti, Casale Marchese, Villa Simone, Villa Matilde, bastions of quality winemaking. To all our past, present and future suppliers who are and will always be the symbol of an artisan Italy that resists against gastronomic massification. A big thank you for these first ten years together.
A Thank You to all the foodies scattered around the world.
To all the foodies who can now spot burrata from buffalo mozzarella, guanciale from pancetta, we salute you! You’ve grown from cream-in-carbonara newbies into bona fide food connoisseurs, embracing the simple and best for a true taste explosion. You’ve made us your culinary home, and we are forever grateful to you. Keep feeding your curiosity, and come back for more! A special shout-out to our partners and agencies who’ve helped us with team-building, tantalizing treasure hunts, and scrumptious tasting dinners. Without you, we’d not be the same. Cheers to sharing the good life and always being wowed by the small things that have the biggest impact!
Foodies never get bored!