Monday, June 30th, 2014
About a month ago I had reserved a food tour with Walks of Italy. I had put it in the calendar as Walks of Rome, imagine the kids’ joy when they realized we were not in fact walking around Rome but instead eating and drinking! We made it to the meeting spot at the Campo di Fiori on time (although we were the last people there, whoops) and met our tour guide Marta and the other people on the tour, a family of three from Connecticut with a girl Genevieve’s age and a couple from England. We headed out to the bakery where we got bread, then back to the market for olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting. Apparently a lot of the taste of the olive oil comes from the variety of olives, which is based on where in Italy the oil is from. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help much back in the US but good to know. There was a lot of variety in the balsamics too, with them getting sweeter and richer with age but also based on what they were made from. And then we got to try not just limoncello but a bunch of other flavored liqueurs, and the girls even got into the act. They love to serve alcohol to minors in Italy!
Next we went to the salumeria where we tried so many meats. Yum. Then to the cheese shop where we did the same with cheese. And there was wine too. By now we were really full but we headed to the restaurant where we made pizza. The crust was leavened, so it was puffier than the cracker crust most Italian pizza is based on, and it was really good. Finally we went to the coffee shop for a macchiato (apparently you really really aren’t supposed to order a cappucino after breakfast, so macchiato is what you get if you can’t face an espresso. Really wonderful tour with a really wonderful guide and I highly recommend it. It may seem expensive, but it was the girls’ favorite thing of the vacation (they call it “Fatties of Rome”) so worth it.
We returned to the apartment to digest, and then later headed out to Trastevere. We were there too early for dinner, and there’s not really much there besides restaurants, so we toured the most famous churches: Saint Cecilia and later the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere and then headed back across the bridge. Marta had recommended we try apertivo (you order drinks, usually a Spritz at specific restaurants that then give you small plates of food) instead of dinner, so we went to a likely candidate but we couldn’t just have the appetizers and wound up with salad, etc. I kept ordering the prosciutto e melone in restaurants, because honestly I have never had such awesome cantaloupe as was available in June/July in Italy. Turns out it’s a specific variety, a Tuscan cantaloupe, and then of course perfectly ripe besides that. The restaurant was okay, but wasn’t so okay was the young adult group of girls nearby smoking like chimneys. Blech. Why do they think that looks good?