Gastronomy in Rome
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How can we begin to talk about Italian gastronomy; great food, wine, desserts, found in Italy and Rome except to say that Rome, as it is full of world history, is also one of the best cities, if not the best in the world, for wining and dining.
All regions in Italy, of course, have their own specialities to boast and savour by locals and guests alike, but Rome goes beyond its traditional cuisine to offer all those who visit a wide array of regional and local dishes.
Let us begin by talking about Wine.
When in Rome do as the Romans do. Numerous wine bars line the streets with local wines with DOC (quality controlled) labels coming from the immediate area of the Colli Albani just south of Rome, an area that produces a wide range of both red and white and red wines that include 'Colli Lanuvini', 'Colli Albani', 'Castelli Romani', 'Velletri', 'Frascati' and 'Marino'.
The 'Colli Lanuvini', is a light yellow with a subtle aroma of golden delicious apples and a slight 'amarognola' flavor and crisp taste. Ideal with any type of pasta, as well as vegetable purées and lake fish. The 'Colli Albani' is yet more pale yellow than the 'Colli Lanuvini' and a touch more bitter but with no after taste. Apparently the wine does not age and is ideal with snails and fried 'fiori di zucca', as well as an antipasti of cheese and salumi.
Frascati and Marino are probably the two most familiar names to the casual wine drinker.
Frascati Bianco is a bright straw color with a strong flowery smell and dry sapid flavor. It is best served chilled in crystal goblets and a choice wine to accompany a baked spring lamb or oxtail 'vaccinara', both classic Roman dishes. When the alcohol level of the wine reaches 12° it can be classed as 'Superior' or 'Superiore'.
Marino Bianco ranges from a straw yellow to deep gold colour and is typical of a Malvasia, with a perfume golden apples and aniseed. Sharp and full bodied it is excellent with shell fish, fresh broad beans and any type of Roman pasta.
While sipping on your wine have a taste of Cheese.
The harder aged cheese of the area include Pecorino Romano, Speziari, Caciotta Romano, while the softer chesses include Mozzarella di Buffalo, and Ricotta
Let's have a look at some other tasty Appetizers.
Let us begin with the most simple but yet tasty and most popular starter, "Bruschetta" pronounced "brewsketta". It could be prepared simply with toasted bread, olive oil and a rub of garlic, but many other versions are offered , the most popular being that of a chopped fresh tomato and parsley topping. A great healthy midday snack, eaten and enjoyed not only by adults but children as well.
Other tasty starters might include a Mozzarella Caprese; fresh mozzarella cheese with sliced tomatoes and basil or a Capriccio di Manzo; thinly sliced raw beef with arugula and parmesan cheese. If you're up for something a little cooler a Prosciutto and fresh melon plate is sure to hit the right spot.
Two very popular Roman appetizers are the Trippa alla Romana; roman style tripe cooked in tomato sauce and the very tasty Carciofi alla Romana; roman style sautéed artichokes hearts with olive oil, garlic, red pepper and mint. All of these hearty appetizers can be eaten also as a light lunch entrée.
Speaking of lunch, what shall we have.
Well, the most common dish for lunch in Italy is certainly pasta. The meat and fish dishes are primarily for dinner and maybe that's why the Italians tend to be a slimmer population, not loading themselves with carbs late in the day.
Some of the Roman favourites are:
Amatriciana with bucatini; pasta similar to spaghetti but thicker and hollow inside, with bits of fresh bacon and pecorino cheese.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara; spaghetti with bits of bacon, not too crisp, and beaten eggs and Romano Pecorino cheese crumblings.
Roman style gnocchi; a type of tiny potato dumpling normally served with tomato sauce.
Tips: When eating a pasta dish learn to twirl it with your fork and not to cut it and NEVER put cheese on any pasta containing seafood!
Dinner time already!...
Pasta, meat, fish and vegetables galore are awaiting for you around every angle in every trattoria and restaurant one comes upon.
From the most famous, elegant and expensive to the quaint and less expensive, but just as good family style restaurants and pizzerias. Here in Rome, people don't rush when dining but they make an evening out of it. so enjoy and don't forget dessert and your espresso coffee afterwards (in that order).
P.S. A bit on sweets.
Almost needless to say, one cannot come to Rome without trying the famous Italian gelato! Hard to choose from the overwhelming array of flavours of this exquisite homemade ice-cream, made with real cream and not milk. You might want to try a "granite", crushed ice made fresh fruit, also an Italian delight.
We mustn't forget to mention the fabulous ancient Roman cheesecake, made with plain flour, ricotta and clear honey. So many desserts to choose from not enough room to mention them all ..Buon apetit!!