Indulge yourself on a food and wine tour: Rome teems with gastronomic delights for the foodie

An embarassment of riches awaits the traveller to Rome, the ancient city built on seven hills. Centuries upon centuries of architecture are layered on each other and every corner hides a new sight to be seen and discovered: churches, monuments, bridges, ruins, catacombs.

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There’s far too much to see in one single visit. What better way to take a break from the sightseeing than to indulge yourself on a food and wine tour.

Rome teems with gastronomic delights. Every street, it seems, is lined with trattorias, pizzerias, fine-dining restaurants and artisan gelatarias. Although creative cuisine has taken off in the last few years, and the city is peppered with trendy eateries, traditional Roman fare still holds sway and the back streets are full of small family-run restaurants where you can discover that Italian food is not only about pizza and pasta. Of course, there is plenty of pasta on the menu too, with Roman favourites bucatini all’amatriciana (thick spaghetti with tomato and guanciale sauce), spaghetti alla carbonara and spaghetti alla gricia (with pancetta and pecorino).  Spaghetti cacio e pepe (spaghetti with sheep’s cheese and pepper) is another speciality you should try on any Rome food and wine tour.

The Testaccio district is the traditional trade and slaughterhouse area where the squeamish should perhaps not venture. Meat features high on Testaccio’s menu, with plenty of offal, lamb and goat. Coda all vaccinara (oxtail stew) and abbacchio alla cacciatora (fried lamb chops with garlic, sage, anchovies and rosemary) are two treats not to be missed on a food and wine tour. The crisp, local white wines from the Castelli Romani make the ideal partner for these hearty foods, with the acidity cutting through the fat.

Rome’s Monti district near the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is perhaps the most Roman of central Rome’s district, not yet overrun by tourists and still one of the city’s best kept secrets. Try some street food here, one of Rome’s latest trends. Pizza and gelato feature high on the list, but you can also try supplì (fried rice balls with different fillings) and various fried foods with a modern twist.

The city’s squares boast a succession of bright fruit and veg markets, such as that in Campo dei Fiori. Don’t miss strolling nearby Piazza Farnese and Piazza Navona while in the area, before heading to the Jewish district to sample some Jewish food. There is significant Jewish influence in the city and the traditional meals of the ghetto date back more than 400 years. A must to try here are the courgettes and the artichokes, carciofi alla giudia. Artichokes and fava beans are among the most popular vegetables consumed in the city. Fior di zucca (fried courgette flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies) is a good choice for a starter.

Wherever you stroll in Rome, whether in the former working-class district of Trastevere with its many trattorias across the Tiber or around Trevi, one of the city’s oldest and most atmospheric neighbourhoods, taking in that most famous of fountains, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Colonna and the Spanish steps, you are sure to encounter numerous local vendors and fine foods. Stop off at a world-class coffee roaster or simply a bar, or enjoy a gelato from the many gelatarias.

If you are lucky, you many also happen upon one of the few kiosks serving grattachecca, manually shaved ice with some sweet syrup, just the thing to cool you off on a hot day. To round off your food and wine tour, Rome boasts many enoteche, wine bars, where you can sample some of the local wines while nibbling on a bar snack.

At Wine Paths, our team of local experts can help you discover the culinary treasures of the Eternal City on a Rome food and wine tour.

 

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