This gluttonous day of experiencing Italy was provided by Context Travel who are happy to take you on a food tour of Rome anytime so you can spend the day Eating Rome as well! And by HouseTrip who would love to help you rent apartments in Rome. Opinions in this piece remain solely my own.
I always say that one of the best ways to get to know a country, is through its food. Lucky for me, HouseTrip took that into account when planning our “live like a local” experience in Rome. Enlisting the help of Context Travel, they planned for us to shop and cook like Italians in Rome would, as well as experience Cucina Povera.
We began a day of gluttony by meeting our first Context guide Eleonora, at La Fiorentina for coffee and Italian pastries. A better start to a morning in Italy may not be possible.
Tearing ourselves away we crossed the street to Trionfale Market and shopped till our feet almost fell off. Eleonora schooled us on how to determine fresh artichoke from overly ripe artichoke, she explained what real Italian mozzarella does when you cut it open and she inspired us to see the beauty in even the smallest of details in the market. For me, she gave fresh produce and ingredients a lure they had never before possessed. Whereas before I thought eating was my favorite thing, I began to see how shopping for and preparing for a meal could have their own, albeit separate, appeal.In our apartment overlooking the Colosseo, Eleonora prepared a lunch of asparagus with egg, spaghetti with pepper and cheese, cold artichoke salad with cheese and lemon, strawberries, salted flat bread, and homemade gelato. The local white wine she chose to pair the lunch with simply added to the happy delirium we were already floating in. I was nearly speechless when the artichoke tasted more like fresh apple than the vegetable I had previously had no desire to consume unless deep fried. What a meal it was!The smiles on the faces of my fellow bloggers Angie and Heather (seen here posing with Eleonora) definitely represent how we all felt: sated and happy!However, eating never stops in Italy so after a small break we began again. The glow of evening settled on Rome and this time, we joined our Context guide Gina just off the piazza by The Pantheon for a dinner at aptly named: Armando al Pantheon. The restaurant has changed little since it opened in the ’60s and it was that quirkiness of character that I most appreciated during the night. Despite a wealth of Lonely Planet, Zagat and Trip Advisor stickers on the door, Armando did not strike me as a place made for anyone else but friends of the owner. Its dining room seems that like of a friend, the kitchen a welcome home-away-from-home.Cucina Povera can be described as simple fare prepared only with ingredients readily available and currently in season. Our gluttonous menu: prosciutto crudo, spaghetti with bacon and cheese, pasta with tomato sauce and bacon, pan-grilled veal with prosciutto and sage paired with steamed artichoke, grilled lamb with garlic and chicory, berry and lemon tiramisu, espresso. It turns out that fresh or deep friend artichoke is the only preparation which I find palatable but picky eater that I am I still enjoyed the artistry in every course.Only the lure of gelato and romantic Rome at night, sparkling in a light rain, was able to tear us away and get us on our feet again. There isn’t a day in my recent memory when I have eaten more or enjoyed the experience as much. If this is what it is to be Italian, I think I could manage.
Might be too early to say this (it’s 8:40AM my time), but I could eat pretty much everything photographed in this post. Ah, Italy will do that to a person. 😉
Haha! I felt that way while in Italy, I craved simple spaghetti with good cheese sometimes for breakfast 🙂
Good gravy! Thanks for serving up major food porn. That lemon and berry dessert looks incredible. Can’t wait to read about what you are eating in Turkey.
major. food. porn. indeed!! that was all of Italy — so prepare yourself, there are more food posts coming! and yes, Turkey has been great for food as well …. but that lemon and berry tiramisu from the night in this post will stay with me FOREVER.
Oh dear. This post has not only managed to add inches to my thighs, but it’s also convinced me that I will need to up our food budget when Tony and I hit Rome on our big trip. The freshness of the ingredients is outstanding in the photos, so I can only imagine how good it all tasted. Suddenly cereal for lunch is not at all appetizing…
I am sorry for ruining your cereal :-/ But yes, leave lots of money for food in Italy. It is hands down the best part of visiting.
My mouth is watering. I love Italian food, but I haven’t had the opportunity to eat the ‘real’ thing. I can’t wait to visit Italy someday.
Thanks Pamela! I love Italian food too — even more so now that I have eaten Italian food IN Italy 🙂
Oh yes, I think I could manage being Italian for a while, too. Fab photos, Kirsten, all gorgeous. I want to reach into my screen and grab the strawberries.
RIGHT?! 🙂 And yes, those strawberries had our whole group quite well salivating over themselves.
Good God, Kirsten these photos are making me sooo hungry! Italy gets a big #yumgasm from me!
Yeah it does!!!!!!! And sorry if I’ve made you more hungry 😉
You are living one of my dreams at the moment, hunni. One of my big dreams is to spend the summer in Italy doing nothing but learning Italian and eating EVERYTHING.
Darlin, I was only in Rome 2 nights and 3 days so the posts won’t last forever 😉 But yes — being in Italy was like a dream. I cannot recommend visiting highly enough.
Thanks for the comment as always Ceri!!
Ummm… yum. I hope you tried some of those treats in the first photo. The fruit tarts look awesome. I’m curious what the Pralines Artigianali are (craft pralines)? – looks like chocolate-covered cake squares, sprinkled with pecan bits.
I don’t love pecans so I can’t speak to that but yes I ate my way through La Fiorentina that morning and my FAVORITE thing was a Nutella Donut. (Thanks for the comment Don!!)
OMG – nutella donut! I’ve never seen one of those – sounds dangerous.
Oh it was AMAZING!!! And very dangerous. I could have eaten 12. My teeth may have fallen out but it would have been an exquisite way to go 😉
YUM! Just what I needed to encourage me out of bed to make some breakfast!!
Oh gosh, this looks incredible! I want to visit Rome one day!
You should!! Rome is wonderful.
I love the food in Italy! I spent a month travelling through there in 2005 and had such a great time. Meal times have never been the same since!
It is true that eating in Italy sort of spoils it for eating everywhere else. Except Spain. That actually just made it even worse. After those two countries, I appreciate really good food and crave it more than I ever have before.
Great post. Images of food brings water in my mouth. Thanks for sharing this here with us.
Thanks for visiting! I’m glad you enjoyed the post 🙂