Cooking is my passion, no doubt about it, but not the only one. I also love travelling, so I decided to combine the two of them. Thus, from time to time I will include on my blog, posts about travelling from a foodie's perspective.
Rome for Foodies Like Me
Usually, instead of going to a place I already visited, I prefer to explore a different destination. But this doesn’t apply to Rome. I have been to the Eternal City many times, and I am sure I will go there again in the future. There are so many things to love about it: the breathtaking views from the hills, the beautiful buildings and the historical sites. I even love the buildings that are a bit run down (and I am not talking about the archaeological sites). Because together with the beautifully dressed people they create the unique atmosphere of the city.
I also love Rome because it is a heaven for foodies. Just seeing the markets (or even supermarkets!) is an incredible experience. With all the colours and variety of produce, you instantly want to taste and enjoy them. There are obviously loads of restaurants there, and we do have a few we always come back to. However, in this post, I want to concentrate on the sweet aspect of Rome for foodies: biscuits and ice-cream.
What to Eat in Rome? – the Best Cookies
We found our favourite cookies in Rome accidentally. While my husband and I were browsing along via Della Scrofa a few years ago, we noticed a small bakery on the corner, called Antico Forno. Since we both have a sweet tooth, we stopped to look at the selection of biscuits. Although they weren’t decorated in a fancy way, they looked terrific: generous and inviting. We bought a few types to sample, and fell in love with them instantly!
The best way to describe them is probably “perfection in simplicity”. They are made with very few ingredients (egg whites, sugar or honey and ground nuts) but of very high-quality ones. As a result, if you bite into a pistachio cookie you taste the pistachios but in a rich, almost condensed form. These cookies don’t pretend to be fancy. But they don’t have to because their taste speaks for them. They are just to die for.
When we went to Rome previously, the bakery didn't operate. We were devasted. So when we came back home, I attempted to bake the pistachio cookies at home. The result was excellent, but of course, they weren’t the same as the ones from the bakery. So when during our latest trip to Rome we discovered the confectionary was open, I even tried to get training with them. Sadly (but understandably), the owners didn’t agree. Thus, I have no choice other than to recreate recipes for other cookies as well. So stay tuned 😉
The Best Gelato in Rome
You cannot go to Italy and not have the famous gelato, everybody knows it. However, there is a massive difference between good gelato and the excellent one.
The ice cream from our favourite place in Rome – Il Gelato di San Crispino – is made from natural and fresh ingredients only, and you can really distinguish it. If you, e.g. chose pear ice cream, you can be sure it will taste of pears. But not because of the artificial flavourings and aromas but because they used the best, ripest and flavoursome pears to make them. They have over 20 different types of ice cream available every day, so it is always a bit of a headache which ones to choose. I always take one that I know and another one that is new to me. That way I can extend the range of my favourite flavours that so far include pistachio, sabayon, San Crispino (honey), caramel meringue.
Ice cream from San Crispino is in our opinion the best Gelato in Rome. It is so good that I must confess, a few times we made our way to the gelateria late in the evening to have the ice cream instead of desserts in restaurants. Isn’t it the best recommendation?
What to See in Rome? – Bernini Sculpture
But man doesn’t live by bread (or cookies and ice cream) alone, so I have to mention an exceptional place that feeds my soul and senses when I am in Rome – Galleria Borghese.
Why is it so unique? Firstly, it is situated in a magnificent building in a tranquillity oasis – Villa Borghese. Secondly, it is the masterpieces that are displayed there. The collection includes beautiful paintings by Titian, Caravaggio and Raphael. But the most special to me are the Bernini sculpture. I could spend hours admiring the precision he carved the marble to show not only the features of the characters but also the emotions on their faces. Looking at Bernini sculpture, I have a feeling that he captured the people while they were in the middle of doing something and after I blink my eyes, they will not be in the same place anymore. Only a pure genius could achieve it.
Galleria Borghese also has another, more prosaic advantage. The museum is not that big so you can really enjoy the artwork there without feeling so overwhelmed that you can’t appreciate another piece of art anymore.
These are just 3 of the very special places I visit each time I am in Rome. But obviously, there are many more of them. And I am sure one day I will share them with you.