How to Pair wine with Carbonara. Boost your recipe

Today is Carbonara day! How to pair this recipe with wine?

Standing ovation for one of the kings of Italian Pasta recipes. Ladies and gentlemen her Majesty: Pasta alla Carbonara.
This is not only one of the most delicious courses of Roman cuisine, is a flag to roman-style food.

Who invented it? Such a mystery?

The city of Rome took this recipe as local and traditional, anyway there is no trace of carbonara in cookbooks before the last Century.
Appreciated and imitated all over the world, one of its origins seems to date back to just after the Second World War. Some connect the dish’s creation with the arrival of American soldiers.
It seems they introduced the Romans to powdered eggs and bacon.
The great Italian restaurateur Luigi Carnacina argued differently. Carbonara was the recipe of the loggers during their breaks.
In other words, there are many versions of this typical dish. The most disparate variations lists: mushrooms, avocado, chicken, shrimp and so on, with bacon or guanciale, using only the yolk or the entire egg.
Some likes to add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, other grana Padano mixed to Pecorino romano.
But do not tell this to a real Roman chef.

Carbonara dish in Rome City.

For roman people Carbonara is just a milestone. Generally variations are not really appreciated, in other words.
The traditional recipe in Rome, to sum up, calls for guanciale (pork cheek), eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese and pepe nero (black pepper).
But the Carbonara is a dish projected to the future, therefore, as taste changes, the recipe is evolving too.
That is why the new generation of chefs is modifying the classic recipe a little. An example is the mixing of pecorino romano with a percentage of parmigiano Reggiano or grana Padano.
This mix makes the salty flavour of the pecorino less aggressive. The recipe results more modern, so, more suitable to new generations taste buds.

Which wine matches perfectly with the carbonara?

Firstly, let’s focus on the organoleptic characteristics of the dish. This is a complex recipe full of taste. There is a strong presence of sweet trend taste, due to pasta, egg and cheese.
The salty and spiced pecorino cheese balances the sweet sensations. Moreover the spicy sensations of the black pepper adds a vibe to the sauce.
In this recipe black pepper plays a fundamental role. A smoked aroma is present vividly in the dish. This is due to the guanciale which is a cured meat very aromatic.
This recipe presents an evident sensation of fat not only for the grease of the meat, but also the egg yolk and the cheese.
For a best wine pairing then, we will look for a wine that will balance the grease, saltiness, and spiciness.

The wine we need is therefore fresh, aromatic, and full bodied.

Better choose a white, rosè or red?
A chromatic pairing will say white or rosè, but if you just drink red wine, you can find a suitable one.
This is our chart for white wines recommended.

  1. Frascati Superiore DOCG by Merumalia this amazing organic wine, produced in a family vineyard obsessed by quality is perfect for the carbonara. The freshness and minerality of this wine will balance the sweetness and fat sensations of the dish. The aromaticity of the Malvasia di Candia (one of the grape varieties used to produce this wine) matches perfectly with the aroma of the meat and the cheese.
  2. Fiano di Avellino DOCG by Passo alle Tortore. The freshness of this wine, produced by a women-runt winery guided by a young French wine doctor will match perfectly with the recipe.
  3. Bellone bianco Capolemole IGT by Marco Carpineti – a family who choose the path of organic farming, which refuses the use of herbicides, chemical fertilizers and / or synthetic products. Fruity and floral flavor for a white wine perfect for the recipe.
  4. Etna Bianco DOC Mofete by Palamento Costanzo -this is small and delightful cellar, almost a boutique, thanks to its refined wines. White Etna is 70% Carricante and 30% Catarratto, with floral aromas of broom, aromatic herbs, citrus notes, and mineral suggestions. Freshness and flavor on the palate, with a finish that returns to floral notes.
    and more whites
  5. Collio DOC Ribolla Gialla by Blazic di Cormons – Fruity, lemon and banana, fine and elegant, complex with a bouquet of simple flowers that blnces perfectly the taste of the dish.
  6. Sauvignon Vulcaia by Inama – reveals intense aromas of elderberry and ripe tropical fruit, bread crust, fresh aromatic herbs, and split stone. On the palate it reveals great correspondence and freshness, with references to vegetal notes in the finish.
  7. Malvasia delle Tre Venezie by Rigonat – ideal for an aperitif and perfect to combine with first courses based on shellfish, the Malvasia di Rigonat, coming from the lands of the Venezie, is an extremely pleasant white, rich in fruit, full of freshness and crossed by those precious sapid and mineral scents.
  8. Rosè Girofle by Severino Garofano – the Negroamaro grape in a different form, a bright coral red mixed with cherry tones. A penetrating, warm and rich aroma,a spice of great character and personality.
  9. Chiaretto Rosa dei Frati by Ca’ de frati – fresh and delicate with a range of hawthorn flowers, green apple and wild cherry, while on the palate it stimulates with its freshness and flavor.
  10. Visone by Feudi di San Gregorio – a rosé wine that comes from Aglianico from irpinia. Fragrant and vinous bouquet reminiscent of wild strawberries, wild flowers, juicy cherries and light marine nuances. The taste is lean and direct, highly drinkable, energized by a satisfying freshness and a light sapid scent.
  11. Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Mysotis by Zaccagnini – The nose is pampered by refreshing sensations, in which it is the small red fruit that opens to deeper tones, which recall iron. On the palate it is medium-bodied, with a sip characterized by a dry taste, with a pleasant fresh component. It closes with a fruity finish with good persistence.
  12. Lago di Caldaro Schiava classico superior by Erste + Neue – The nose is enveloped in aromas reminiscent of fruit, with a slight hint of almond in the background. On the palate it is round, lively, fresh, with excellent drinkability. This red wine matches with carbonara.

Enjoy it!

What & where to eat in Rome: Trastevere

What & where to eat in Rome: best restaurants,pubs and shops in Trastevere.

What to do & where to eat in Trastevere: Save this list for your foodie experience

Having dinner or lunch in Trastevere feels like having dinner at home.
Restaurants are usually open all day long, and prices are really affordable. Certainly, the ones that give an eye to good quality ingredients and amazing recipes.
Try to avoid touristic menù, it’s better to choose roman recipes: bucatini all’amatriciana, spaghetti cacio e pepe, penne all’arrabbiata.

Spaghetti alla carbonara, gnocchi  and other typical recipes are not very “light” recipes but delicious. However, if you come to Italy and you want to try the real Italian cuisine. Better to leave the diet home.

In summer, the area is full of stands and kiosks where you can have an amazing roman recipe. The  grattachecca (which consists of manually shaved ice flavored with sweet sciroppo and fruit), or some fresh fruit.

If you want to have a gelato, try one of the best:Fior di Luna (Via della Lungaretta 96). Here the high quality of the all-natural ingredients will make you try on of the best gelato in Rome.
Trastevere is full of restaurants, osterie, and trattorie.

One of the most “traditional” is La Tana de’ Noantri (Via della Paglia, 1).

While a more creative restaurant is Cave Canem (Piazza San Calisto). One of the best restaurants of Trastevere, where you can taste the real roman pasta (and some other roman recipes) is Sette Oche in Altalena (Via dei Salumi 36). Two other amazing restaurants are Da Teo (Piazza dei Ponziani 7) and Da Augusto (Piazza Dè Renzi 15).
If you’re looking for something different than a restaurant, something more like a pub for instance, this is the perfect district. You’d have both dinners and drink a beer. Since this is the highlight of the nightlife in Rome, both for roman young people than for tourists, it’s full of pubs and bars. Do not miss  Ma Che Sete Venuti a Fà or Bir & Fud (both located on Via di Benedetta). Many others are all around, you can find them everywhere, especially around Piazza Trilussa and Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere.

A little bit of history about Trastevere

Trastevere is the 13th district of Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin trans-Tiberim, meaning literally “beyond the Tiber”.

Indeed, Tiber river was phisically considered the border of the City. In Rome’s Regal period the area across the Tiber belonged to the hostile Etruscans.

To consider trastevere part of Rome we need to wait until the Augustan era. The gerat Emperor Augustus divited Rome in 14 different “regiones”.

The area on the other side of the Tevere was named trans-tiberim= trastevere. The oldest Jewish community in Europe, arrived here in the I Century B.C and settled in Trastevere. The Jewish Community will remain here until the Middle Age.

With the wealth of the Imperial Age, several important figures decided to build their villae in Trastevere. Including Julius Caesar (his garden villa, the Horti Caesaris). The regio included two of the most ancient churches in Rome. Firstly the Titulus Callixti, later called the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. Secondly the Titulus Cecilae, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.

Changing the area

However, Trastevere was for long time considered a secondary area, provided with narrow, winding, irregular streets. Driving horses or carriages was not very easy due to the several obstacles along the alleys.

Only after the restyling of the streets in 15th Century, situation improved a little, but the area remained a maze of narrow streets.

There was a strong contrast between the large, opulent houses of the upper classes and the small, dilapidated houses of the poor.

Until the time of Sixtus IV, streets were not provided by pavment. The POpe paid for the sampietrini (cobblestones), which were more suitable for carriages. Thanks to its partial isolation and its multicultural population, the inhabitants of Trastevere, called Trasteverini, developed a culture of their own. Since the ancient Roman period, in other words, Trastevere had almost a separate life compared to the City.

During Baroque period, meanwhile Rome was beautifully restyled with marble decorations and fountains, Trastevere was mainly connected to the Port of Ripa. Many people of different origins, especially spanish, were living there, beacuse they used to work at the port, since the Borgia’s time.

In 1744 Benedict XIV modified the borders of the districts, giving Trastevere its modern limits.
Nowadays, Trastevere maintains its character thanks to its narrow cobbled streets lined by ancient houses.

A Unique nature

The Trasteverini still consider themselves, a little unique compared to others.  Certainly, living in Trastevere today means to be a priviledge, totally different from the past. Value of Estates, indeed, rised a lot in the last 40 years, making Trastevere one of the most desired quarters to live. Everyone would like to live in Trastevere, Locals, Students, expat and visitors. The unique character of this neighborhood has attracted artists, foreign expats, and many famous people.

At night, natives and tourists alike flock to its many pubs and restaurants, but much of the original character of Trastevere remains. The area is also home to several foreign academic institutions including The American University of Rome and John Cabot University (both of which are private American universities).
Sergio Leone, the director of Spaghetti Westerns, grew up in Viale Glorioso (there is a marble plaque to his memory on the wall of the apartment building), and went to a Catholic private school in the neighborhood. Ennio Morricone, the film music composer, went to the same school, and for one year was in the same class as Sergio Leone.

Alberto Sordi, the unforgettable roman actor, was born in the area likewise Claudio Villa, one of the most famous Italian singer of the 60’s. Lucio Dalla, an ecleptic author and Singer lived in Trastevere.

When to go

This is the perfect area that should be visited in Summer. Firstly, in July (from 15th to 30th), the people who live in Trastevere organize a huge party called Festa de’ Noantri (our party). This folk festival it’s really amazing, if you’re in Rome in that period, you can’t miss it.
Secondly, in Summer (usually from the end of May until September) a cinema festival is organized on the Isola Tiberina (Tiberina Island, the only island of Rome, right between Trastevere and the other side of Rome).

On the island, likewise all along the Tiber left sidebanks takes place the annual “Estate Romana” (Roman Summer). Temporary outdoor Restaurants, pubs, bars and shops of the area open a “stand” on the river, so you can walk right on the river and have dinner or buy something. This is a thing that all the Romans do every summer, so…you can’t miss this one either!

How to reach it

If you are close to a subway station, the quickest way to arrive at Trastevere is to take the B line (the blue one).

Drop off at Termini central station, then from there you can take the bus H (direction Capasso). You will arrive right in the middle of Trastevere (the bus stop’s name is Gallicano, just over the river bridge).
If you are close to the tram (railway), it’s quicker if you take the train number 3 or 8 (it depends on where you are).

Contact us

Would you like to visit this area and eat like a local one?
Book our food tour “Campo de Fiori, Jewish Ghetto, Trastevere” or write an e-mail to Giorgia at
Giorgia is a local foodie and insider, she studied foreign languages and she has a degree in Interpreting and Translation and a Master’s degree in audiovisual translation.