What a wonderful day we spent with Tavole Romane - the folks who share the secrets of the best of food in Rome with their happy clients.
The website first caught my eye:
Are you a real food and drink enthusiast? Do you want to know Rome from an unusual point of view? Then this is the right place for you!
Join us and we will let you discover the tastes and artistic and cultural facets of a genuine Rome.
This is a site for people living in Rome and for those who want to spend a few hours doing as the Romans do.
Hmmm - this sounds like a happy Jerry experience! As soon as the calendar was posted for December I signed the four of us up. We gave the tour to Palma as part of her Christmas gift.
We were promised a guide who was 'an expert Foodie who genuinely shares our passion for Rome and its unique cuisine, extremely knowledgeable when it comes to answering the most specific questions related to recipes, preparation tricks, and ingredients seasonality. Furthermore she will provide you with plenty of information that you will find very helpful to experience Rome in a non- touristic way, over the time of your stay.'
We started out at the Trionfale Food Market, arguably one of the biggest in Italy featuring more than 270 shops, is referred to as the first Rome-district market. Our guide lead us through the shops while offering us tastings and an explanation about the different fruit and vegetables displayed and how Romans would cook with them.
We then wandered throughout the Prati area of Rome. This former middle class area of Rome has moved decidedly upscale (gentrification made complete when our friend Sandra took up residence nearby) and is home to many new restaurants and food destinations.
The first stop was at Panificio Bonci. Gabriele Bonci has been called the Michaelangelo of bread. He has a well known 'slab pizza' spot nearby but he received so many special orders for the bread that he opened up a bread bakery in Prati where he continues to serve some traditional slab pizzas as well as other baked goods. We tasted a pizza bianca there and a pizza with tomato. Both were Buooooono!
Next we stopped by a new spot opened by Michelin stared chef Christina Bowerman, her partner Fabio Spada, and the famous Roscioli brothers. This was an amazing spot! We were given a glass of prosecco, platters of mortadella, and various breads to nibble. Everything was amazing.
We had reservations at Flavio al Velavevodetto which is one of the best trattorias in Rome. This restaurant made all three lists when the recent top 10 lists for the best carbonara, amatriciana, and cacio e pepe in Rome was recently released. We started off with a appetizer of a fried eggplant ball . . . sounds horrid but it was anything but!
We had two pasta dishes - carbonara and amatriciana. Both were supposed to be half portions but each could have been a full meal. It was easy to tell why they were rated the top pasta in Rome! We loved both.
There was still a meat course - a large polpette made from bollito misto with some added mortadella and cheese for flavour. There were roasted potatoes on the side. By now we could barely eat anything.
Dessert was a 'taste'. Finally. Mind you it was a taste of the most amazing tiramisu I have ever eaten. Even though I was beyond full by this point I would have considered finishing off someone else's . . . but no one was offering!
4 hours after the tour begun we shoved ourselves into a cab and headed back to the apartment where we all promptly fell into a food coma . . .
We finished eating at 2:30. It is now 19 hours later and I am STILL full!