Thursday, 27 March 2014

Eat like a Local

Five different ways in which we have enjoyed Roman cuisine.


 
For hands on experience there is nothing better than a cooking class. Chef Andrea Consoli runs Cooking Classes in Rome from his restaurant in Trastevere. Not only do you prepare (and eat!) a four course lunch but Andrea shares his knowledge of local cuisine and ingredients. Andrea works on the '0 kilometre' principal resulting in all the food  in his kitchen coming from the Lazio area.

Be warned - making fresh pasta is addictive! I can guarantee that this is something you will repeat back at home.

 
From this........
 
.........to this!

At the end of the meal Andrea discusses the wines that have been paired with each course. Three out of the four wines we sampled were from the Lazio area - the fourth  from Amalfi.


 
Recipes and wine suggestions are e-mailed after the class. We found pasta paddles in the Campo Fiori market which made a fitting souvenir!
 
 
 
If you are lucky enough to be in Rome from mid June - September, you can enjoy another Roman experience - that of Lungo Il Tevere where cocktail bars and restaurants pop up all along the river.
 
 
The most romantic spot is at the tip of Tiber Island, right underneath the Ponte Rotto.  Bacco al Tevere, the pop up restaurant of Umbrian chef Salvatore Denaro has had prime position there for the past couple of years. Delicious food in a magical setting.
 

 
 
Last year the Michelin starred Rome restaurant Guida Ballerino also 'popped up' on Tiber Island with a choice of a sit down restaurant or take out stand. 
 
 To enjoy lunch like a Roman and learn a lot about wine as part of the experience then I recommend a 'Wine and Cheese Lunch' organised by VinoRoma. These take place on Mondays and Fridays in a tasting room in the Monti area of Rome. As well as generous platters of prosciutto, salami and cheeses you also get to taste four very different Italian wines.
 
 
 If you are lucky you may get a peek in to the cellar.
 
 
 
 
If you would prefer to eat al fresco then why not pick up a picnic and head in to one of Rome's green spaces? Our favourite are the Borghese Gardens and the perfect picnic can be found at GINA Not only do you get a hamper filled with delicious food (and wine if you so choose) but also the use of a picnic rug.
 
 
 
All that is left for you to decide is which picture perfect spot you should choose to enjoy your feast. Maybe by the lake.........
 
 
 ........Some other secluded spot
 
 
Finally, the best way to eat like a local is to have a meal in their own home. Fortunately, thanks to Home Food we can all enjoy this experience with the Cesarine who invite us to share a meal with them.
 
 
 
Our Cesarina, Marissa, created a traditional Roman feast which we enjoyed whilst watching the sunset sky from the balcony of a modern apartment block in the suburbs of Rome.
 

A classic appetizer of hot and crispy vegetables - Misto di Vedure fritte are served first.
 
 
Pasta alla Gricia follows
 
 
 
 
Then Marissa's favourite,  Vitello alla fornara con cicoria - veal with chicory, served with Broccoli all'agro di limone - broccoli and lemon.
 
 


 
The wine served is from the family vineyards in the Castello Romani.
 
 
The meal ends with crema fatta in casa - a chocolate cream and ciambelline all'anice - sweet aniseed biscuits.
Finally a picture of Marissa and her daughter who truly did make sure that we ate like locals!
 
 
 
 

 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Daughters of Rome

On this Festa delle Donne I would like to remember Felice della Rovere. Felice was the illegitimate daughter of Cardinal Della Rovere , the future Pope Julius II. From this inauspicious beginning she went on to become one of the most powerful women of the Italian Renaissance.
She married in to the powerful Orsini family and ran a grain export business that made her one of the wealthiest women in Rome. This reserved and understated woman performed heroic feats for her children to preserve their inheritance.
She would have witnessed Michelangelo and Raphael working in the Vatican. Indeed both of these giants of the Renaissance immortalised Felice in their work.
Raphael depicted Felice in 'The Mass of Bolsena' in the Stanza di Eliodoro.

 
She is seen here in the dark dress, looking lovingly towards her father who is celebrating mass.
Michelangelo based his sculpture of Rachel, on Julius II's tomb in the church of St Pietro in Vincoli, on Felice.

 
If you would like to know more about this remarkable women I can recommend reading 'The Pope's Daughter' by Caroline P Murphy.