So I checked it and found there were generally very good reviews. Booked it and lo and behold I managed to arrive in Rome in time to join the tour in the suburb of Testaccio. Even the hotel concierge and cab driver could not understand why I wanted to visit this suburb. They didn't quite believe me when I mentioned I was attending a food tour.
|Domenico the tour guide|
We started at the Testaccio Covered Market, there is so much history there. This is one of the most popular markets in Rome and has been in existence since 1914. We learn a little about the suburb of Testaccio, met some of the lovely stall keepers of the market, tasted the freshest buffalo mozzarella I have ever experience (made only yesterday evening) and delighted in the most gorgeous range of tomatoes I have ever seen. Carmelo the tomato provider can sell up to 50 varieties of tomatoes. Of those we tried, my favourite was the Baronello. Beautifully sweet and luscious!
|Freshest buffalo mozzarella ever!|
We went to this high end gourmet store which stocked so much food, it looked like it was about to burst. It was called E. Volpetti. There were gourmet delights such as marvellous balsamic vinegar ( a 100 year old bottle costing more than 1400 Euros), beautiful prosciutto, many cheese varieties, pastries, pastas, salami etc., etc. What a delightful store. We had tastings of the pecorino cheese with truffle ( yummy), prosciutto di San Daniele (melt in your mouth and so addictive) and salami el Barolo.
|Pecorino with black truffle|
|Black truffles - look at the price per kg|
|prosciutto and other smallgoods|
We then stopped at Barberini and had a cornetti (Italian version of the French croissant) and a mini tiramisu in a chocolate cup (decadent!). Along the way, we stopped by The Old Cemetery for Non Catholic Foreigners. What a beautiful and peaceful place. The poet Keats is buried here, so is Percy B Shelley and the famous Bulgari family have tombs here too. We saw a pyramid tomb which I found interesting to be located in a Roman cemetery. Even though this stop is not food related, I am pleased to learn about the historical implications of this cemetery. For some reason, I was not uncomfortable being here.
For lunch, we had 3 kinds of typical Roman pasta at Flavio al Velavevodetto. We had the cacao e pepe, amatriciana and the carbonara. This restaurant has been rated to produce the #2 carbonara pasta in Rome. My verdict is I liked the carbonara the best of the 3 dishes. I would like like to mention how al dente the pasta were. I liked it but if served in Australia, it would have been declared as undercooked pasta. The Italians take their pasta seriously, and al dente is a term not to be taken slightly.
|The pasta carbonara that I liked of the 3 dishes|
We then moved on to Il Trappizino and had a taste of Suppli alla genovese. There was beef, carrots, onions, heaps of herbs all cooked beautifully and wrapped in a ball of rice and deep fried. This is seriously good stuff! Everyone enjoyed this.
|Suppli alla genovese|
I don't know where I found the space but we ended the tour with some seriously authentic and very delicious gelato. My choice was the fruits of the forest and pistachio. On top of that, it is very traditional in Rome to be served with some whipped cream when ordering gelato. How could I say no to that? I am not normally a whipped cream fan but this store's cream was light, creamy yet not very sweet. It just went very well with the gelato. Domenico explained the difference between a natural and authentic gelato versus an artificially flavoured gelato. These ones are truly authentic!
What a marvellous way to spend an afternoon enjoying the many foods of Rome but in a suburban location. Domenico, the tour guide was exceptional and I met some really nice people in the group and there were some serious foodies!
I am so exhausted but very happy that I managed to join the tour.