Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Travestere Food Tour

One of the things I have always been interested in doing was taking a food tour. In my planning and researching on the destinations I was going to visit I decided that I would take a food tour in Rome. The one I took was the Roman Guy's Trastevere "Locals" Food Tour. The tour was $84.00 but I thought I would splurge and just enjoy myself. After my wandering around Rome I had worked up an appetite, meeting the tour guide Elaine near the Campo De' Fiori market in Piazza Farnese at 5:30 pm. Soon the family that was to join me did. Laura and Rus from Atlanta and their three boys were to be the rest of the group. It was nice to have a small group and made the tour more enjoyable when you could be right there with the guide and get the full experience.

Our first stop on the tour was to a cheese shop called Cooperative Latte Cisternino just near the market. We actually went into the back of the shop and were given a glass of wine. Water for the kids, of course. We listened to Elaine talk about each cheese, sampling cheese after cheese. I am a big fan of cheese so this place was a big hit with me. The kids were not too keen on the cheese so I took advantage of that. The buffalo mozzarella was my favourite but everything was good. 

Leaving the cheese shop and its lovely cheese behind, we continued the tour. Walking through the dismantled marketplace to our next stop Filetti di Baccala.

Inside we were given a table and were presented with a tray of hot deep fried baccala, which I knew a lot of from my time in Portugal where it is known as bacalhau. Baccala is salted dried cod. I am not sure how they prepare it for frying here but from what I learned in Portugal is that you soak it in water, drain the water, soak it some more until you are able to cook with it. Basically rehydrating it and removing most of the salt content. Elaine told us that baccala is a good takeaway for late night barhoppers as the marketplace area is quite popular to drink in.

I must say it was very delicious. I tried comparing it to the UK fish and chips style but Elaine was quick to point out that traditional fish and chips is with fresh cod, not the baccala.

Heading across the river we entered the Travestere neighbourhood. The sun was setting across the Tiber and it was just so beautiful. I tried to soak everything in as Elaine ushered us across.

Our next stop was La Renella, an amazing bakery and pizzeria. Looking at the display case full of pizza, I wanted to have it all. One of everything please! No luck, we were served a portion of the cheese pizza which was delicious but I can only imagine what the others tasted like. Elaine told us that this bakery supplies bread for most of the restaurants in the area. Of course the pizza was a hit with the kids and disappeared quickly.

The next stop on the tour was a place called Tastevere Kmzero, which is known for being all about fresh and local. Getting all its ingredients from as close as it can. We were given a glass of wine and served trays with open faced sandwiches, cheeses and meats. It was very different but not in a bad way. It was delicious, I enjoyed the honey drizzled over the cheese and the sliced meats were delicious.  The kids enjoyed juices that made me want to trade in my glass of wine to try. 

Eating as much cheese and meat as I could before we slipped out the door and back into the night. Trailing after Elaine as we strolled through this really cool neighbourhood thriving with restaurants and people enjoying themselves.

We ended up taking a detour into this church to have a look inside. Elaine told us that they have a figure of the Virgin Mary and each year they dress her up in a different dress and parade her around the neighbourhood. We had a look at the beautiful dresses and it was amazing to see the detail the people who worked on them put into them.

Our last food stop was the Trattoria da Teo, which was great because one of the boy's name was Theo so the owner Teo came out and met him. Theo also got a quick tour of the kitchen. Our starter was the Carciofi alla giudia, Jewish style fried artichokes. The outside leaves were crisp almost like chips and the inside was tender.

Next was Cacio e pepe, a traditional cheese and pepper pasta. It was delicious. Elaine tried to tell the owners smaller portions as we had been eating a lot but we still got a large portion of pasta. This was my favourite food stop of the tour. The pasta was amazing.

With our bellies as full as can be we waddled from the restaurant and crossed back over the Tiber river to the other side.

Our last stop and I think the best end of a tour, Gelateria del Teatro. An amazing gelato shop that has two locations in Rome. The different flavours all looked amazing and I wanted to try them all. I had the pumpkin and something like rosemary or lavender. I really can't remember the second flavour and it is bugging me as it was delicious. Looking online to try and find their flavour list I think it was Rosemary, honey and lemon. All the flavours are very fresh and made in the shop.

This food tour was amazing and I do recommend it. I had a lot of fun. Elaine was a pretty cool guide and showed us around her neighbourhood. If I could go back and do it all over again I would. All the stops were very good. The gelato, the pasta, the pizza, the baccala, the cheese, all of it. So amazing and so filling. If you can afford it or just go to the locations, do it.

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