Yeah Yeah yeah, I know part two has taken me a while but bear with me people. I’ve been working hard on revamping the site and turning it into House of DeVeReaux. Nonetheless, my Roman adventures continue into the exploration of the cuisine.
Rich in culture and definitely in taste- this is NOT your American style Italian, so if you travel to Italy expecting canned tomato Ragu or Prego, then please do yourself a favor and DON’T.
The food in Italy was nothing short of fantastic and it was safe to say we had our fill of fusilli, gelato, limoncello, pizza and any other pasta you could think of. But the start of the show and shocker for our Southern taste buds was none other than OX-TAIL.
That’s right- our very first night we found ourselves via Uber in the Trastevere District- an area known for sites, shopping, art and most importantly food. As we traveled down one of the one thousand backalleys, we found a fond cafe that served Oxtail pasta, salmon platters and my absolute fave- proscuitto de melon or as Mama called it fancy bacon with cantaloupe which by the way she actually liked. If you know Mama- her tastebuds can be a little hard to tackle at times, so when you get a win, TAKE IT. Big sister opted for the proscuitto paired with bufala mozarella (the real deal).
The sweetness of this melon paired with the savory saltiness of the proscuitto pleased all of our palates for only 8 Euros AND here’s a travel tip- when visiting a local restaurant most of them offer glasses or quarters of their house wine options for next to nothing. This mid-sweet Rose only rang up at less than 4 Euros for quite the steal.
For my main, I didn’t want to each much as to save room for dessert a la gelato of course- because it’s the most important part of the meal (to me at least). So I opted for a hearty serving of fresh mussels in a lemon cream wine sauce that was guzzably good all on its own. I mean if I could have bottled it up and brought it back home I would have.
After we settled the bill, which was a little over 20 Euros a person, we backtracked our way to a little gelato shop we spotted and boy oh boy were we happy.
TRAVEL TIP ALERT: 20 Euros per person is pretty is amazing considering with had appetizers, mains, wine, Italian espresso and bread which FYI- they charge 1 Euro per person for bread),
Ok so back to the gelato shop- not only did they have my favorite flavor- black cherry aka amarena BUT they also specialized in gluten free cones and flavors AND allow you to eat before you pay. That would NEVER happen in the States. Needless to say my sister was soooo over the moon that we paid them a visit 2 more times during the trip before we left.
YES THAT’S RIGHT- WE HAD GELATO….EVERY…..SINGLE….DAY…#judgeme #wheninRome
Speaking of gluten free options, when traveling to Rome, no need to worry as there were gluten free options galore to be found like our go to breakfast spot- A GoGo, located near Guilio Cesare street. If traveling by Metro, just take the Ottaviano stop and walk directly across the street.
A Gogo had a full breakfast spread from quiche to their amazing apple muffins that were so awesome, we even packed some away for an afternoon snack. If by chance they are out of apple, the fruits of the forest flavor was just as great.
We frequented it so much that we became friends with the morning staff who always offered up a kind smile and buongiorno (good morning in Italian).
Also, if you have a sweet tooth like us, you can’t go wrong with any of their pastries, cakes or pies. If you aren’t gluten sensitive don’t worry, they have special options just for you too and they take extra precautions as to not cross contaminate.
Delightful Gluten Free Desserts from A Go Go
After our visit to the Pantheon, which my sister made sure to correct me as not to confuse with the Parthenon- we googled and found a special gluten free gem called Pantha-Rei right outside and down an alley from the historical site. Mom opted for the full on gluten ravioli while Adrienne opted for the simple but flavorful mushroom fettucini at a great lunch special deal of only 9 Euros.
I, on the other hand selected the lunch special trio that came with appetizers and a select pizza, and there was nothing greater to my taste buds than the pear and gorgonzola white pizza at Pantha Rei.
The crust was golden and fresh and again I am the kind of girl that loves savory along with sweet, so the sweet taste of the pears against the sour tang of the gorgonzola was more than good to me. It was phenomenal, even my sister agreed.
Instead of opting post-lunch gelato for dessert, I decided to partake in a take-away cocktail just down the street from the Pantheon. Yep that’s right, for only 5 Euros- you can take your cocktail to go in Rome and the caipirinha was calling my name.
Now some aren’t familiar with how you make this famous libation, so here’s a list of ingredients. (Don’t say I never gave you anything).
Ok ok ok, so back to the other basic food group of Italy- yeah gelato. There was no shortage of shops on every corner, but not every one was worth a try. We made sure that that we felt the sweet sweet sugary spirit before stepping foot into just any ole establishment, as we were on the hunt for the hottest gourmet flavors we could find, which brings me back to Travestere.
But before we could get into gelato- there was a quick detour, as we found ourselves at what Google rated as the best gluten free restaurant in Rome- Mama Eat Roma for lunch where we indulged in the spinach calzone, classic lasagna and bruschetta and boy were reviews oh so right.
The food was fresh and delicious and the service was very cool and quick. The portions were more than enough to hold us over for dinner and as a matter of fact, I think we skipped dinner and opted for gelato, proscuitto and mozzarella that night. It was near Mama Eat Roma that we stumbled upon a gelateria that definitely created unique flavors.
See my sister lovvvves dark chocolate, I mean loooveees it and this location had several different varieties. I sampled the spicy dark chocolate but also took note of other interesting options like Ricotta cheese and salty chocolate- I mean talk about very very different.
However, Mom and I had my eyes set on what I later learned to be one of the more famous gelaterias down the street called FataMorgana where EVERYTHING is gluten free and the flavor profiles were phenomenal. I sampled so much that I didn’t know what to order and so I asked the waiter to surprise me and he did just that.
These 3 unique flavors made for the perfect afternoon delight that did not disappoint. But hands down my favorite was the avocado, lime and white wine, as was Mom’s which was incredibly surprising, cause remember her palate can be hard to please. The flavor was indescribly tart like sherbet but still creamy and rich like good gelato should be. We both wanted more and sadly my sister felt disappointed as she had just indulged in the gelato shop up the street. Sorry sis- you snooze or in this case you choose, you lose!
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that we made sure to make our way to as many gelato shops as possible to check out their amazing flavors like limoncello- a native staple which is especially good when paired with cream or coconut.
Or even Della Palma whose claim to fame is carrying over 150+ creative flavors from “Birra” which is Heineken flavored, “Pera & Formaggio” which is pear and cheese, “Croccantino al Rum” which is Rum and Chocolate, KitKat, Snickers, and even Whisky Mousse.
And while we were quite impressed with the extensive flavor listing, the line/queue was a little too long for our liking and so we went another route and oh were we very pleased that we did.
That night, which was our final night, we found our way to the holy grail of gluten free goodness at a place called Fiocco Di Neve.
While their flavor list may not have been as long as many others, the richness, creaminess and the chocolate dipped gluten free cone was all my sister needed to seal the deal, solidifying them as her top gelato spot. And they of course had her favorite flavor- stracciatella which sent her into over-drive.
Travel Tip Alert: when looking for gluten free eatery options around town- be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this little red applique from the Associazione Italiana Celiachia or the Italian Celiac Association (AIC), as it notates whether or not a restaurant offers gluten free/celiac friendly options and typically can be found on the establishment’s front door.
Which brings me to my next point, as this little sign led us to another gluten free Italian gem- La Soffitta Renovatio, where I had the biggest and juiciest GLUTEN FREE BURGER ever. It was packed with flavor filled Italian cheese and a thick cut of beef that almost put me in a food coma.
Combine that with the great customer service and the cute little quaint garden basement beauty that was its ambiance and it was a surefire winner.
Now for more meat- because I mean what’s a trip to Italy without your fare share of meat and by meat, I mean SWINE. I’m from Texas, so yes I love all meats but especially pork. So on our final night, before our stop at Fiocco Di Neve, we managed to squeeze in the 4 basic food groups of Italy- pork ala pork chops, pizza, pasta and the perfect glass of wine-which were all gluten free. What can I say- I love pork. I’m actually making bacon right now as I finish this post #judgeme.
I made sure I had my fill before my flight and even packed some proscuitto on the plane from the amazingly authentic meatery- Salsamenteria La Tradizione, right down the street from our hotel.
And in true Italian fashion, the people were so patient in assisting me in finding the perfect proscuitto to please my palate and my personal budget. Because when I tell you there were some quality proscuitto cuts in that place, I mean quality in taste and price with one select meat priced at 95 Euros per kg, which as my Dad would say “now that’s good eating”. Not to mention they were preparing to close and still took the time to thinly slice it to my preference, as well as suggest the perfect brie bufala cheese and throw in some complimentary home made water crackers for my midnight snack with a smile.
TRAVEL TIP ALERT: While in Italy, I definitely suggest learning a little lingo which is similar to Spanish as it shows an appreciation for their culture and respect especially when asking for help, which face it as a tourist, you will need. A small Ciao (hello/goodbye) or Buono Sera (Good Night) can go a BIG way in Little Italy.
Ok so back to the meats. What I have loved about living internationally is visiting the local super markets just to see what delicacies you can dive into that you may not get anywhere else and the local Carrefour minus the kinda crappy customer service (my only bad review) had some pretty cool cuisine in the cold section.
You could get your hands on some fresh or frozen octopus, which I loooove and even stingray if you’re feeling really adventurous.
And another gem was this little Venezuelan cafe located near the Vatican called El Maiz, that served street food that was so savory and soaked in buttery goodness like the pabellon arepa and the jamon y queso cachapa which would be even better at breakfast, as it resembled a ham and cheese pancake- crisped to perfection.
Some may wonder why Venezuelan food in Rome, but I have always loved latin flavors and I am sure Italians do as well especially when it comes to truly appreciating foods and cultures.
In Italy, when it comes to food there certainly is no shortage of pastry shops or meat markets and many restaurants offer lunch/dinner buffets for the indecisive which considering how much is offered can be a big possibility.
You can always find yourself down a back alley that leads to cute little quaint cafes like Ciao Checca for a quick light breakfast
Or if all else fails just be like me and opt for a mini cannoli (mascarpone filled is my fave) or grab some proscuitto and melone for take away.
So, I hope you enjoyed this highly anticipated and deliciously detailed recap of the food in Rome and remember when life hands you lemons…….do yourself a solid….
And make LIMONCELLO!
Ciao For Now,