In Rome: Eat, Drink and, For Goodness’ Sake, Eat Some More While You Can

These posts are being back-dated, yes, but they were written in the leather-covered journal (nothing less for collecting memories of a city so lovely) I had carried with me on the trip when I couldn’t get to the Internet. This one was written as I stayed up on Saturday night to leave in the early morning, on Sunday, for the airport.

I ate to my heart’s content. A good, utterly satisfying breakfast in the morning. Then usually a slice of pizza on the go in the afternoon, for which I had to learn how to ask for it: portar via. I love their walk-and-eat culture. You’re looking at beautiful sights, just relaxing at the Spanish Steps or walking by the Pantheon or through the narrow cobblestoned streets, window shopping maybe and eating amazing food at the same time. How incredibly awesome! There was also usually some gelato here and there, also consumed on the go. A dinner of pasta or risotto or some more pizza or a calzone at night with some wine or, usually, prosecco. Sometimes while walking around late at night, I would buy some roasted chestnuts from one of the dozens of vendors near any major sight and amble along, prying them out of their crackled shells, munching on them  in the moonlight.

And some dessert, in the afternoon or evening or at night, or, you know, several times a day, such as a lovely dark chocolate cake or torta di pera e cioccolato (pear and chocolate tart) or tartufo or the most famous Italian dessert of all: Tiramisu! The real version of that is extremely rich, delicious and absolutely sinful. And maybe some more gelato. Or a Nutella crepe at Piazza Navona. Or a Nutella ciambella maybe. Each vendor in that piazza had these gigantic jars of that heavenly stuff displayed at their small stands. Nutella was present everywhere. They had those Nutella-to-go sticks: A small container of the delicious hazelnut-and-chocolate-y goodness was attached to the box of sticks which you’re supposed to dip into the Nutella. There were bowls full of little Nutella packs at breakfast every morning.

Just thinking about it all makes me hungry. I had the most amazing gnocchi in the world. And a very, very interesting smoked cheese pizza. None of it was expensive. If there’s anyone who claims it isn’t possible to eat without emptying your pocketbook in Rome, I will refute said claim.

I’m on vacation, I reminded myself again and again and stuffed myself without guilt. Then again, of course, I was walking all the time so I’m sure I kept walking it all off. Once one goes back to sitting behind a desk all day long one cannot do the same. What a horrible, nasty shame.

The night before I left, I had spent all the cash I had in euros, leaving just enough for a car to the airport (the hotel’s car) and some coins. I had about €2 in coins. It was late. I was hungry. So I went in search of something quick and cheap. There was this really great pizzeria/cafe/bakery right opposite the hotel. It was closed. Did I mention this was late at night? So I went to the Campo de’ Fiori neighbourhood which was just behind the hotel. I found a couple of ristorantes that were open. But they would be too expensive for my modest €2 budget. I remembered a little creperie/gelateria I had seen in a small piazza around there. I managed to find it.
“Crepe quanto?” I asked in my broken Italian.
Quattro,” he said. I was good with numbers. Didn’t need that translated after all the shopping I’d done. (More on this later.)
E gelato?” I asked
Due.” Mission accomplished.
“Um, pera.” He scooped that into a decent-sized cup. “E cioccolato.” He filled the rest of the cup with dark chocolate.
And that, folks, was the last meal I had in beloved Rome.

Now, I desperately need to know: Where can I find the sensationally simple pizza bianco in Toronto? Or do I have to do my own baking now?

2 thoughts on “In Rome: Eat, Drink and, For Goodness’ Sake, Eat Some More While You Can

  1. I was reading this and wondering about your quest for a good pizza bianco the whole time! You know what? it sounds like a fun quest to have! Good Luck!

    I also thought I could not have a tiramisu in Italy as nothing I could taste here could compare. But then, how would I ever know what an authentic Tiramisu would taste like? Surely it is not at the Olive Garden.

    1. Thank you! Luck is something that will certainly be needed on this quest because I hadn’t even heard of pizza bianco before this trip! Or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention…

      You’re absolutely right…we get spoiled by tasting the real thing. Even a simple thing like pizza will never be the same here after having it there, and tiramisu has definitely no comparison to what passes off here under that assumed name at places like Olive Garden. Too bad we can’t bring a good few months’ stock of all that back here.

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