italian food rome special days

The traditional food of Rome: what to eat in special days

The traditional food of Rome calls special food on special days.

Did you know we like to eat special food on special days here in the Capital?

Are food and culture connected? definitely yes!

Italy and Rome’s food has changed through ages and eras of cultural, social historycal and politica changes. Local products and traditions melted together with dominations and different cultures.

Ancient Roman food culture, evolved a lot an was highly influenced by other cultures. More the Roman Empire terriotires enlarged , more new products, food styles and recipes were popular. In other words the influence of the Greek one, firstly changing the wine making process and cooking techniques.

What we know today as Italian food, is the result of a millennial process.

Firstly the fall of Roman Empire, secondly the invasions from the northern gents and the arabs. Just imagine how many different  food styles mixed together leading to different traditions all over the Italian Peninsula.

In other words, territories dominated by northern cultures, basically hunters and sheperds, developed in cheeses and meat food tradition. Southern areas, likewise Sicily or Puglia, for example, developed a food style more mediterranean, fish, vegetables and spice art.

Christianism played a big part in selecion of foods and recipes connected to religious feasts. Economical situation influenced cooking styles and food as well.

At the end of the middle age with the discovering of new lands, everything changed. New exotic products coming from Americas decorating tables will play a part in the cration of  Italian new cooking style. Still today we are taking advantage of the tomatoes arriving from “the new world”.

Would you ever think Italy without tomatoes?

In the Renaissance period, Rome become a center of development, not only from the art and culture point of view. Also the cuisine raised as an art, in terms of chefs popularity and hospitality tradition. Bets chefs, as well as best artists used to cook for the Popes and their guests.

In those days an important cookbook by Bartolomeo Scappi, become the milestone of the modern cooking. Bartolomeo Scappi was the “bottigliere del Papa” (Pope’s Sommelier). The Opera dell’arte del cucinare (The art of cooking, 1570), listed more than 1000 different recipes.

From a writer of 1907, we know that this list was really popular already. Discover which recipes are most popular and traditional in Rome, according to our grandmother’s teachings.

Special days and recipes:

1st January =Capodanno. Lentils (zampone e lenticchie) and grapes
Carnival/Shrove Tuesday. Flat fried pastries (chiacchiere or frappe) 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 (yes! snails if you’re brave – Monti area).
2nd November (commemoration of the death). Dead bones cookies (fave dei morti).
11th November (San Martino). First wine tasting of the year (novello wine) with roasted chestnuts.
25th December (Christmas). Pasta with anchovies, eel, mullet, salmon, broccoli, nougat, Pangiallo.