Food Lover’s Guide To Rome :: Eating Italy Tour

One of the things we were most looking forward to on our Italian vacation was the Rome food tour. We booked it prior to traveling and it was rated one of the best things to do in Rome. And since we’re both foodies and love to try new things, this was right up our alley!

We booked the Twilight Trastevere Food Tour. This 4-hour tour took us to a neighborhood in Rome called Trastevere. It’s a hip and happening area that comes alive at night and locals compare it to being like Greenwich Village or Paris’s Left Bank. Although it’s a trendy area, this old neighborhood features some of the BEST and most historic food in Rome including locally owned places run by families that have been around for generations.

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On the way to our tour where walked over the oldest bridge in all of Italy!

Our tour began in Isola Tiberina and after learning a bit more about the island, we headed to our first stop, Da Enzo Al 29. All Romans begin their dinner with an aperitif (aka appetizer) and here we tried their famous fried artichoke. This was just to die for. I love to eat artichokes on my pizza and this was fried and salty goodness.

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Next, we walked down the road to Spirito Di Vino. This restaurant is an old synagogue that has a wine cellar that is 160 years older than the Colosseum. It was so interesting to sit in the wine cellar and hear about the history of that room. Here we sampled wine and had some more appetizers, and I learned that I actually like red wine! I’ve always been a sweet, white wine kind of girl, but the Italian in me learned what I had been missing out on!

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Stop number 3 took us to Biscottificio Innocenti, aka the cookie factory! Biscotti is obviously the Italian form of cookies, which they always had a plethora available during breakfast at our hotel..cookies for breakfast? Heck yeah! This family-owned shop bakes all of their goodies in a massive oven that is more than 60 years old! The result is delectable cookies with all different flavors from sugar to chocolate to lemon.

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Walking off some of the calories we’ve already eaten, our next venture took us to Antica Caciara. Basically, this is the local meat and cheese shop. There were TONS of meats to choose from and here we sampled what has become my new favorite cheese, pecorino. Once we were back in the states, I scoured local grocery stores until I found some. Granted, the Italians make it better but it’s still just as good to eat. The owner of the store works everyday and his family has owned it since 1900..what hard work and dedication that is!

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Stop number 5 was right down the street at I Suppli, which is a street food snack shop. I’d equate this to being similar to a fast food restaurant. There was LOTS of pizza to go around here, but we didn’t sample pizza here. Instead we got a taste of suppli, which is a fried ball filled with risotto, tomato sauce and cheese. It’s similar to a mozzarella stick, but let’s face it, it tastes WAY better than that! I’ve already scoured Pinterest to find a recipe for it so I can try to recreate it (but let’s face it, I have A LOT of Pinterest fails-fingers crossed this one goes well!)

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Enough with the snacking already, time to get down to some bigger meals! Next we walked over to La Renella, a local bakery and pizzeria. They have an oven that dates back to 1860, and they bake 2900 loaves of bread EVERYDAY! Oddly enough, the night we were there, the owner came out of the back filled in soot from head to toe. He’s 83 years old and had just gotten back from his holiday to discover the oven wasn’t working and he just climbed in the oven to try to fix it. WOW! These Italians have some AMAZING work ethic! While we didn’t taste bread here, we had some margherita pizza, my fav! The Italians like their pizza to have thin crust so it’s much different eating it there than in America. Want to know how to know if you’re eating real pizza in Italy? Real pizzerias will have their pizza laid out in long rectangles and you pay but the pound of pizza. Non-authentic pizzerias will already have the pizza sliced for you in their display case.

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Our second to last stop took us for dinner at Enoteca Ferrara. What I found most interesting about the local restaurants in Rome is how all of them look the same from the front. Each one is tiny, seating only 2 dozen people at the most and there’s nothing special from the front. Enter inside one though and you’ll get some serious family cooking and a long, relaxing meal with no worries of a waiter trying to rush you out the door for their next patron. And, Italians eat LATE. Many places are open for lunch and then close until dinner and re-open at 7:30pm. Many nights we didn’t eat dinner until at least 9:30 pm.

At this stop we sampled gnocchi, spinach and ricotta ravioli and black pepper spaghetti. Eating homemade fresh pasta is just freaking delicious. I love to eat pasta and I know eating my frozen Costco ravioli just won’t be the same now that I’m back home!

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And no dinner would be complete without gelato! Our last stop took us to Fatamorgana, a local gourmet gleataria. My favorite ice cream is a Dairy Queen dipped cone, but this came in a close second. This place had some crazy flavors, including rose buds and basil, but I stuck to the typical chocolate and vanilla. Here we learned how to tell the different between real and fake gelato. Fake gelato will be shown as HUGE mounds in the display case which means it has too much air in it. Another way to tell it’s fake? If it’s bright or neon colors.

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And that was the end of our first night in Rome! I think this was a great way to start out our vacation because we learned a lot about where to eat and what to look for in authentic local food. This tour group has locations all over Europe, so I would highly suggest checking out one of their tours if you’re in one of the local areas!

QUESTION // What’s your favorite pasta dish to eat?

Comments

  1. Ahhhh…this all looks so delicious and makes me want to go back!

    Annica
    http://www.lifemodifier.com

  2. YUM… Italy and a foodie tour.. two of my favorite things!!

    xo

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