The highlights of today’s Flavor of Italy Culinary Walking Tour of Rome with author and NYT food & travel writer Andrew Cotto centered on the Campo dei Fiori market area of Rome. Each culinary walking tour is slightly different but always focuses on the very best of Italian, and Roman, cuisine.
The Campo dei Fiori Market
Fresh produce and flowers are the mainstay of the centuries old Campo dei Fiori market. It used to simply be a flower market as its name implies - field of flowers. Every seasonal fruit and vegetable is featured in abundance at this market with numerous stands to choose from. Andrew Cotto’s novel, Cucina Romana, takes place in Campo dei Fiori.
You can find salad already washed and ready to serve. Many of the market vendors are busy cleaning and prepping vegetables so that you can take them home and cook right away. Artichokes, for example, that take forever to clean. And if you feel like making different soups like minestrone you can find that too, ready to toss in a pan with delicious broth and cook up in a flash.
There’s a wonderful porchetta stand, Andrea e Marco, in the market: whole roast pork stuffed with delicious herbs. It's typical in Ariccia just outside of Rome and an easy day trip. Andrea e Marco have other pork products and cheese and one of my favorites, coppiette.
Andrew Cotto and I grabbed some porchetta and took it to the peaceful square, Piazza Farnese, to enjoy. It's just a minute away up a side street and as you enjoy your porchetta you can admire the exquisite Palazzo Farnese where the French Embassy is located, as well as the two gorgeous fountains in the square.
On our Culinary Walking Tour of Rome along the periphery of the Campo dei Fiori market you find cafés, eateries, some wonderful food shops and even an historic movie theater.
One of my favorites is Il Fiorentino butcher. Gorgeous and top quality cuts of meat and prepared meat products like polpette (meat balls) with delicious flavorings like lemon. You'll find cutlets already breaded and ready to cook, or straccetti - super thinly sliced beef with porcini mushrooms or artichokes or other veggies. Straccetti cook up in just minutes stovetop with some extra-virgin olive oil and a little garlic or hot chili pepper.
Another of my favorites is Il Forno bakery. Here you find all kinds of wonderful bread and baked goods, as well as delicious pizza a taglio - by the slice - with a multitude of delicious toppings to choose from.
The Flavor of Italy Culinary Walking Tour includes a more in-depth stroll around this entire neighborhood and a sampling of other local goodies that might include a gelato or an Italian aperitivo - usually with a bitter flavor profile.
Lunch is the last stop on the Flavor of Italy Culinary Walking Tour
The Flavor of Italy Culinary Walking Tour always concludes with lunch in the market area, and often at Roscioli. As you head out of the market and follow along Via dei Giubbonari you come upon Salumeria Roscioli, a great venue for delicious food and wine. Here you can also purchase just about every cheese and salumeria product imaginable.
On the side street off to your left is the Roscioli bakery, and then a tiny bit further along on Via dei Giubbonari is the Roscioli Caffè - a great spot for your morning coffee and cornetto.
My favorite of the four Roscioli food venues is Rimessa Roscioli, about a five minute walk away to the quiet Via del Conservatorio. Rimessa Roscioli is all about wine and fabulous food. They offer incredible wine tastings and other food experiences, and daytime restaurant service on weekends, and evenings. Not to mention the fact that they have a wonderful Wine Club that includes access to hundreds of wine videos featuring visits to artisanal producers throughout Italy.
Andrew Cotto and I had an extraordinary wine-tasting and food pairing experience at Rimessa Roscioli on our Culinary Walking Tour of Rome with seven different wines and just the right food to go with it.
Our Cacio e Pepe was paired with a Bressan Schioppetino 2015 wine and Rimessa Roscioli owner Alessandro says it might be one of the greatest pairings of all time.
Other delicious foods included a tartare with truffles, smoked eel, raw scallops, a goat cheese in ash, tortellini with truffles paired with a Barolo. Other wines included Brunello di Montalcino, Nebbiolo, Vermentino.
Perhaps the most unexpected and outstanding dish of all was this lamb with lentils and tzatsiki.
About Andrew Cotto
Andrew is an author and NYT food & travel writer. Learn all about Andrew and his most recent book here. You can also find Andrew on his website and Instagram.
Check out his Men’s Journal Thanksgiving menu featuring a deboned turkey stuffed with veal, basically using a porchetta recipe.
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