Browsing by Category: Gastronomic Traditions

Regoli Cafe Rome

If I were a traffic cop tasked with raising Rome’s revenue, I would camp out in front of Pasticceria Regoli, a pastry shop in the city’s Esquiline district. For nearly a century, the Regoli family has been baking and serving seasonal sweets and cream-filled pastries, attracting Rome dwellers from all over the city who today flagrantly double park in front of the small storefront on Via dello Statuto. Regoli’s maritozzi (sweet buns filled with whipped cream), bavaresi, crostate (jam tarts) and torte di fragoline (cake with chantilly cream and wild strawberries) are well worth a ticket (though none are written). The block-traffic-with-your-illegal-parking-to-leisurely-buy-pastries ritual is a fact of Roman life that rarely goes punished. In Regoli’s case, the rewards are beautiful sweets made with traditional recipes even older than the shop’s throwback interior design.

The traffic situation intensified recently when Regoli opened a second location, a café, next door. Finally, Rome’s sweet tooths have a place in which to immediately devour these famous and flawless pastries, other than a parked car, that is.

Pizzarium

For centuries, pizza in Naples – indeed, across Italy – was meant to be a cheap fast food. It became such an ubiquitous phenomenon that many pizzerie have managed to skate by on sub-par ingredients, quick doughs and low-quality toppings. Only recently has pizza in Naples and beyond entered a new era. Call it third-wave pizza, a movement that celebrates raw materials, gives supreme attention to fermentation, and restores dignity to the craft. I share the whole story with Australian Gourmet Traveller in their annual Italy issue, on newsstands now, and available online here.

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As far back as the 2nd century B.C.E., Jews have made their home in Rome and represent the oldest Jewish community in the world outside Israel. What we recognize today as Roman Jewish cooking is fruit of universal Jewish dietary guidelines and, perhaps most importantly, the community’s forced isolation into a gated ghetto for 300 years, which resulted in a unique spin on traditional Italian and Jewish cuisine, using what limited ingredients were available. Additionally, the cuisine reflects many outsider influences—result of the Jewish diaspora of the 15th century as direct result of the Spanish Inquisition, and again in the 1960s when thousands of Jews fleeing Libya settled in Rome.

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Grossolana. The word has a ring to it in Italian that it could only dream of in its English incarnation (in which it translates as “coarse”). Say it with me: grossssssolana! Few words are so fun to say and I can’t help but think that this linguistic affection contributes to my love of ventricina del Vastese (more…)

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UPDATED FOR 2014! There is a widely held misconception that during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Rome’s restaurants shut down and people who don’t have the luxury of eating at home are left to scavenge for food (more…)