Or rather, Miss Bunting eats her way through Italy!
For many – myself included – travel and food are inextricably linked, making my one-month sojourn in Italy the holy grail of getaways. Which is fitting really – a landscape littered with an embarrassing amount of religious and architectural riches should also yield such a rich bounty of produce.
Our journey began in Rome, and with the aid of NY Times travel & food contributor Katie Parla and her brilliant blog parlafood.com, we aimed to eat like a local and try traditional trattoria to Michelin star. These are the most memorable highlights:
Staying in Prati, we inadvertently managed to land right in between the best gelato and coffee we would end up having on our entire trip. Gelateria dei Gracchi was the stuff of legend: rich, creamy and traditional, we knew we were onto a winner by the fact it was only ever locals in line no matter what time of day it was, the 6 times we frequented it (yes, really.)
Sciascia has been a coffee bar since 1919. Get your head around that and you’ll see why they’ve perfected the art of the brew. Sitting here watching the regulars walk in, sip their espresso at the bar while exchanging loud pleasantries and leave all within 2 minutes flat was like watching a juggler take centre stage at the theatre – a one man barista operating 2 epic coffee machines with such deft precision, it was a pleasure just to watch.
An Elle Décor recommendation of a trattoria in Trastavere was good, the highlight being veal ravioli in an orange sauce – the sweetness and depth it adds to a dish without it being a blunt hit of citrus was a revelation. No more will they languish at the bottom of my fruit bowl until I work out where the fruit flies are coming from.
We walked half an hour deep into suburbia to find Pizzarium, a hole in the wall pizza sold by weight and were rewarded with not only incredibly crunchy and spongy pizza base with immaculately conceived toppings, but their incredible fried pasta balls were ridiculous good.
A night wiled away at Vino & Olio was the closest we came to being locals. Literally the only foreigners in this tiny, cosy wine bar – we sampled some incredible reds from all over Italy while tucking into rustic good fare, tapas style.
A 10 course degustation at Il Pagliaccio, a 2 Michelin starred restaurant over the road from Vino & Olio saw our final night in Rome out with a bang. The sommelier recommended an excellent rosso from Montepulciano from an overwhelming wine list. This paired beautifully with slow cooked ox tail and my other highlight dish, al-dente parcels of pasta that gave way to a burst of melted anchovy in a fresh broad bean ‘soup’.
On our way out of Rome, we stopped off at Gelateria Fatamorgana, an insanely good experimental gelato parlour and I still find myself dreaming of the Basil & Walnut and Fennel, Honey & Licorice in-your-face flavours. Worth the trip to this side of town alone.
Gelateria dei Gracchi, Prati Via dei Gracchi, 272, 00192 Rome, Italy
Sciascia, Via Fabio Massimo 80/A, 00192 Rome, Italy
Taverna Trilussa, Via dei Politeama 23, 00153 Rome, Italy
Pizzarium, Via della Meloria 43, 00136 Rome, Italy
Vino & Olio, Pellegrino Via, Rome, Italy
Il Pagliaccio, Via dei Banchi Vecchi 129, a, 00186 Rome, Italy
Gelateria Fatamorgana, Via Lago di Lesina, 9, 00199 Rome, Italy