returning recently from a fun family wedding and blissful, relaxing vacation in greece with its own share of delicious food, andy and i made a two day stopover in rome. our flights were through rome, andy had never been there, and since my pavlovian response to any mention of italy is memories of all the amazing food I have eaten there, i experienced a temporary suspension of reason, forgetting that in spite of the heavenly food, rome in july is a blazing, humid hell of tourists, lineups, scam artists and more tourists. did i mention the throngs of tourists?
what made it all worthwhile for me was the opportunity to revisit the roman institution of roscioli salumeria and vineria (since 1974), where i’d had the pleasure of a salami and cheese platter many years ago, but not a full meal. the cozy space is crammed from top to bottom with wines, antipasti, pig legs cured in various manners, and over 300 different cheeses, only the very best that italy has to offer. (i was surprised to see that they were also selling spanish jamon iberico, aged 6 years, at $300/kilo. i guess importing is ok for an ingredient so exceptional!) in the evening a full menu based on these amazing ingredients is offered. the first evening we tried to go, we were politely but firmly rejected as we did not have a reservation, but we secured one for the next night. phew!
weary after a day of endless walking, crowds and sightseeing but refreshed by naps and showers, we returned to roscioli the next evening with anticipation running high. poring over the menu, we decided on a selection that we hoped would give us a broad enough overview of dishes in a single meal. i only wish the portions had been smaller so we could have sampled more! we shared all of the dishes, and noticed that all the other couples near us seemed to be doing the same. i accompanied my food with glasses of a bright white from fruilano, while andy enjoyed a smooth and silky brunello di montalcino. here is what we ate:
antipasti - selection of italian prosciuttos: parma, san daniele, monti sibillini, sauris, d’osvaldo, speck dell’alto adige. not much to say about this. prosciutto heaven!
our second antipasti was the burrata from andria (where burrata was invented!) with malaysian black pepper and semi-dried cherry tomatoes from pachino. i think this was the highlight of the entire meal for me. it doesn’t get more decadent than this - velvety burrata with intense, sweet dried tomatoes – incredible. i had already eaten quite a lot of the dish before i got around to taking this photo!
pasta (not shown) - spaghettone with vulcano red tuna, chili, black olives and tomatoes . oily, salty, and tangy with long pasta pleasantly al dente.
primi - la polpette – traditional roman meatballs served with chestnut polenta and a smoky tomato sauce. this was andy’s favourite. perfectly seasoned and the nutty polenta was fantastic!
dolci - tiramisu – simple and rich. the best i’ve ever had.
and finally, thick, delicious, bright espresso without a hint of bitterness (sourced from timor) accompanied by complimentary buttery pistachio shortbreads with amadei chocolate fondue (70% cacao) to end the meal. oh.my.god. when all the shortbreads were gone we scooped this amazing liquid chocolate out of the bowl with our coffee spoons.
needless to say, i would recommend roscioli as a must for any food lover visting rome. though they take themselves very seriously (with good reason) and the ingredients are meticulously sourced, it’s not pretentious at all. we left stuffed, starry-eyed, and feeling like we’d experienced the magic of rome.