Monday, 20 July 2015

Rome Rituals

The morning pattern is established - up on to the roof terrace with a hot shot of espresso and a terracotta roof view.

More coffee at our local bar, Er Baretto. This time it is a beautifully decorated cappuccino. One sip and I realise why I miss Rome when at home.
We skip cornetti here - you will see why later - and hop on the metro to Ottaviano. As this is the metro line to St Peters and the Vatican museums it is packed , as you would expect, but I still have an emotional moment when the train emerges in to daylight and crosses over the Tiber river. I can't explain why but this gets me every time.
We walk in the opposite direction to everyone else and head towards our cornetti spot. You don't need a map to find Dolce Maniera - just follow your nose. Cornetti heaven awaits.
Blood sugar levels sorted, we make our way to Trionfale Market. Armed with a shopping list we stake out the stalls that have a queue of Italian Nonne (Grannies) - always a good sign. Top of the list is a visit to the Vino Sfusi stall where we fill a 3 litre bottle with local Cesanese wine.
Laden down with shopping we make our way to Pasticeria Bonci for Pane di Lariano & a little snack.
The words ' little snack' do not do justice to what you see above. The pizza al taglio is by the Michelangelo of pizza dough, Gabriele Bonci (yet another taste I dream of at home) and the pizza Bianca is filled with Bernabei porchetta. Be warned - once you have tasted this porchetta you will want no other. It is sublime.
We return to our air conditioned sanctuary, happy to be out of the heat for a little while. It is 35 degrees outside - this is the hottest summer in Rome for 137 years.
We prepare caponata for our picnic tomorrow and put together proscutto, rocket & pecorino with a lemon & olive oil dressing for lunch today.

Later we pop out to our local alimentary to pick up cheese - shopping isn't a chore when there is a view of the Colosseum at the bottom of the street.

Our passeggiata this evening starts at Piazza Quirinale, then on to the Trevi fountain. This is under restoration and, until recently, had a temporary walk way where you could get up close and personal to the statues. Unfortunately this has been removed but we still get a good view of  Oceana, whose restoration is complete, and are able to throw our coins in to a small pool thoughtfully constructed for this purpose. A 'Rome Ritual' that hopefully ensures a return to the Eternal City

Onwards to the Spanish Steps and another 'Rome Ritual' (we have so many of these, hence the need for a fourteen night  stay!) Feeling the warmth of the marble steps under our feet whilst watching the sun on the terracotta walls around us.

We enjoy our cocktails that we have bought along with us and people watch for a little while before walking down Via Sistina to Piazza Barberini.

Our 'splurge' dinner, another Rome Ritual, usually takes place on our last evening. However, due to opening hours, we have bought it forward on this trip.
Our meal tonight is at Guida Ballerino, located on the top floor of the hotel in the photo, Hotel Bernini.
We are seated on an outside terrace under the sign.

With this view..... is so perfect I could cry, and promptly do. More crying later but of the hysterical laughter nature bought on by the sight of a fish knife......I will explain.
The menu includes several tasting options, including Margana, several courses of 'recent proposals'. Sounds good, we'll go for that - little realising that the chef's 'recent proposals' mainly involved fish. Not my favourite thing.

It started well with champagne & imaginative nibbles including a take on suppli.

An 'amuse bouche' of spinach, ricotta and tomato, creating the Italian flag. I was amused takes very little.

First 'fish knife' - Amberjack & saffron. We had never heard of this fish but it seems to appear on menus everywhere. It wasn't too 'fishy' so I coped.

Second 'fish knife' was salmon with a lime jam. This was my star dish ( I can 'do' salmon) The jam worked perfectly

By the time the third fish knife appeared (tuna) the hysterical laughter had set in, hence no photo of this course, but also the views had become more spectacular.

We regained our composure in time for pre-dessert - fig, ricotta and chocolate
Dessert was stunning - a sweet take on a Caprese salad. Basil sorbet, candied tomato & cheesecake.
 Espresso & imaginative petit four rounded off the meal in style.


Despite the choice of menu this had been an amazing meal served by wonderful staff in a stunning location.
As we began to walk  to the apartment we turned wistfully back for one last look




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