Ivan, Lil Dave and I met up with the Eating Italy tour on October 14, 2011. Our tour guide was an American man named Danny.
The group consisted of 8 people and 1 monkey. We were given a booklet listing the places we’d be going to on the tour and recommendations for pizzerias, restaurants, pastry shops and gelato shops in Rome. Our first stop was the Testaccio Market.
It’s a cool covered market that has many stalls filled with vegetables, fruits, fish, cheese and meats. Danny took us to La Prosciutteria di Enzo e Lina. Here, we had our first food tasting of mozzarella cheese. It was salty and tasted great.
Danny told us that locals get to know the owners of the stalls. They’re loyal to the owner and keep coming back to their stall for the products. This loyalty will give the customer free stuff or the owner will reserve products just for them.
The next stop at the market was the stall of the Tomato Poet. This man has 45 different varieties of tomatoes. The Tomato Poet asks the customer what dish he or she will make and then he will find the right tomato for the dish. Our second food tasting were a few kinds of tomatoes. Ivan and I don’t like raw tomatoes, so we passed on the tasting. Lil Dave would have been in heaven if there was a Banana Poet who had 45 varieties of bananas. But, we didn’t see any monkeys selling bananas in the market.
The group walked to a gourmet cheese shop called Volpetti. We got cheese for our next food tasting. Ivan and I chose vegetarian, so the rest of the group also got prosciutto. The cheeses were quite tasty. We went inside the shop to check out the cheeses. The store had a variety of cheeses which were all really expensive.
It was on to Barberini. This shop sells desserts and coffee. Ivan and I each ordered an espresso. We enjoyed our coffee with a tiramisu.
The tiramisu wasn’t the best. Bar Pompi’s tiramisu was a lot tastier.
We walked to the Protestant cemetery. This cemetery has 4,000 people buried in it including Percy Shelley and John Keats.
A big pyramid is located right behind the cemetary. It was built for a man, but at completion he didn’t have enough money to pay for it – so they ended up throwing his body in the river.
The group stopped at Flavio al Velavevodetto for lunch.
Cacio e Pepe, Amatriciana and Carbonara pasta was served. Since we got the vegetarian menu, Ivan and I were served a nice portion of cacio e pepe (spaghetti with pecorino cheese and pepper). The pasta was very tasty.
The group walked to 00100PIZZA next. Here, we got a tasting of suppi alla Genovese. It’s a nice fried ball filled with rice and vegetables.
Our last stop was Giolitti. Danny told us that some of the shops serve fake gelato which is made out of powder. Everybody got to choose two flavors of gelato. Lil Dave chose banana for both his flavors. Ivan got chocolate and banana while I decided on mixed berry and chocolate. The gelato was tasty especially the strawberry and mixed berry.
We really enjoyed the Eating Italy tour. The food was great and our guide was very knowledgeable.
We got the bus into the center of Rome. Then, we walked to the Pantheon.
It was lovely inside filled with religious statues and paintings.
Next, we walked to Borghese Park. Segways, bicycles, go-karts and motor assisted bikes are available to rent. Ivan decided to rent a motor assisted bike for an hour. Ivan drove us around the park.
It was such a lovely day out. The park is big and great to explore on a bike. We even biked around in the grass.
We had time to waste before the restaurant we wanted to eat opened. Ivan found a nice bar. Lil Dave had a banana juice. Ivan and I sipped on limonchello.
It was almost opening time for the restaurant – so we started walking.
We got a table at Il Gabriello. Ivan and I shared a good bottle of red wine. Lil Dave got a banana salad and banana fettuccine. Ivan and I shared mussels, risotto with prawn and zucchini and gnocchi with mushrooms. The food was delectable. Pasta in Italy is superb.