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9 Foods You Must Try When Visiting Rome

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I am a writer and a blogger. I write articles about food, nutrition, health and fitness, travel, history and space/science as well.

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9 Foods You Must Try When Visiting Rome

Italy, the country of art, culture and romance. It’s no wonder that travelers from all over the world flock to this historic nation every year. Its history and culture will fascinate you, providing a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Rome is famous for hosting a variety of delicious food. Most of these ingredients are unique to the area. The city’s international cultural diversity has given rise to distinct cuisines, making each dish come with a combination of various flavors and spices. It’s no wonder that the perfect vacations are ones accompanied by mouth-watering dishes. So, if you’re planning a trip, here’s a rundown of 7 foods you must try while in Rome.

1. Trappizino or Pizza Pockets:

Trappizino or Pizza Pockets is a slice of pizza but with closed sides. It is made with the same dough of soft wheat flour and yeast, and instead of pizza toppings layered over the dough, it is stuffed into a pocket. It is then sealed completely, making it easier to eat on the go!

The most common filling used in this street food is tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. But you can choose from various fillings, including ham and cheese, eggplant parmesan, meatballs, and ricotta cheese.

You can get these pockets at any street corner in Rome. This food is so common that it is sold in kiosks near bus stops or train stations.

2. Carbonara:

Carbonara pasta is one of the most popular pasta dishes in Rome. This pasta dish is made with eggs, cheese, Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, cured pork (usually guanciale or pancetta), olive oil, and black pepper. There's no cream used in carbonara sauce, making it a lighter alternative to Alfredo sauce. Carbonara is usually served with spaghetti or rigatoni — short cuts of pasta with ridges that allow them to hold onto the sauce.

Although there are many versions of carbonara, it was originally made with simple ingredients easily accessible to Carbonari — charcoal workers — during the 19th century. Several theories exist about the origins of carbonara, but most people agree that the dish was created somewhere between the end of World War II and the early 1950s. Either way, this meal has become a popular staple throughout Italy.

3. Pizza Al Taglio:

Rome has a rich, long and varied food culture. While a few dishes have become famous around the world, like spaghetti carbonara or Cacio e Pepe, many others are still undiscovered by tourists.

Pizza Al Taglio is the Roman version of pizza by the slice. It’s baked in a large rectangular pan and sold by weight instead of by slice. You can choose different kinds of crust, toppings, and sauces. It's very popular in Rome. The thick rectangular slices are often topped with ingredients such as anchovies, artichokes, spinach, potato, zucchini flowers, and even hard-boiled eggs. It's a great way to grab a quick meal on the go.

The best pizza Al Taglio in Rome is still a contentious point among locals! The best pizza in Rome is found at Pizzarium Bonci, which has three locations across Rome.

4. Saltimbocca:

Saltimbocca, an Italian name meaning "jump in the mouth," is a classic Roman dish made of veal wrapped with prosciutto and sage before it's cooked so the flavors can blend together. It's typically topped with a dry white wine and butter sauce.

Originally, it was created by a Roman innkeeper who made it for a hurried guest. He put the meat under a brick to speed up the cooking process. This meant that the meat was tender and ready to eat in no time.

The Roman innkeeper was so pleased with the results that he called his friends together and held a feast, which became known as Saltimbocca.

The main ingredients in this dish are veal, prosciutto, sage leaves, and Marsala wine.

A great place to try it is at Ba'Ghetto, where they will cook your dish in front of you in an open kitchen.

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5. Coda Alla Vaccinara:

Coda Alla Vaccinara is a traditional Roman oxtail stew whose recipe has its roots in ancient Roman cuisine and, in particular, in the cuisine of the poor. The dish probably owes its name to a breed of cattle that used to graze on the slopes of the Aventine Hill, the so-called “vaccinari.” It was pretty cheap and easy to prepare, so this dish became very popular with workers and butchers. It was prepared on Friday night, left to rest in the oven, and then eaten as a main course on Sunday, usually paired with red wine.

It's made by braising oxtail for hours in a rich tomato sauce, with vegetables and wine. The result is tender, succulent meat with a deep, rich flavor. It's usually served with polenta or gnocchi.
As for many other Roman dishes, even Coda Alla Vaccinara is a winter dish because it requires long cooking hours (about 2 hours) and lots of ingredients that have strong flavors. But, unfortunately, it’s also a very caloric and heavy dish (it has a lot of fat) so it’s not suitable for everyone!
Coda Alla Vaccinara is still prepared today with the same ingredients used centuries ago: oxtail meat (coda), tomato sauce, celery, carrots, onion, rosemary, and extra virgin olive oil.

6. Gnocchi Alla Romana:

This is one of my favorite dishes. It’s made with semolina flour, not potatoes like other versions of gnocchi. The name translates to "Roman gnocchi."

The dish is prepared by combining the semolina with milk, then stirring in eggs and grated Parmesan cheese. This mixture is then baked until it turns golden brown. Gnocchi Alla Romana can be eaten on its own or as a side dish.

Potatoes may be used in another dish — Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina — but that version is from Naples, not Rome. Gnocchi Alla Romana is definitely the most Roman way to enjoy this Italian classic!

You can find gnocchi Alla Romana at Sora Lella.

7. Rigatoni Carbonara:

This is a signature Roman dish and the only pasta dish that uses eggs as its primary sauce. It is a type of pasta that is shaped like a tube. Originating from the Lazio region of Italy (where Rome is located), rigatoni carbonara is a stellar dish that you have to try while in Rome. Yes, it’s also an Italian-American classic, but there’s nothing like eating the original dish in the city where it originated!

In this popular dish, rigatoni replaces spaghetti as the pasta of choice for the traditional Roman carbonara. It's a subtle switch, but one that makes a world of difference in the final product.
It comes in many varieties, but the most common version includes rigatoni, guanciale (cured pork jowls) or pancetta (Italian bacon), eggs, and Pecorino Romano cheese. The sauce combines these ingredients with the pasta water to emulsify the egg yolks and create a silky sauce. The result is a rich dish whose flavors marry as you eat it — a kind of food symphony.
The dish was probably created in the 1940s at the restaurant La Carbonara, where there were a lot of coal workers (Carbonari).
If you make one change to your next carbonara, let it be this one; use rigatoni instead of spaghetti. You won't regret it!

8. Carciofi Alla Romana:

One of Rome's most iconic dishes is Carciofi Alla Romana, or Roman-style artichokes. It's a must-try for artichoke lovers! The artichokes are boiled or steamed whole, dressed with olive oil, garlic, herbs, and lemon juice, stuffed with mint or parsley, then braised in white wine and cooked over low heat until it becomes tender and perfectly browned. The result is absolutely delicious! The Romans have been eating this dish for centuries. You can enjoy it as a side dish or eat it on its own as an appetizer. Just be sure to dip each bite into the cooking liquid!

Artichokes are in season from February to May, but they're served year-round in Rome. Look for them in season at the local markets, or order them at any trattoria. They also pair well with a glass of Frascati; a white wine produced just outside of Rome.

9. Gelato:

Rome is a beautiful city full of culture, history and great food! If you plan a trip to Rome soon, here is a list of the nine foods you must try when visiting.

This delicious frozen ice cream has its roots in Italy during the Renaissance period. It was created by mixing ice from the Apennine Mountains with fruit and nuts. Today, it comes in many flavors and colors!

In contrast to ice cream, it has a lower fat content than ice cream, but it's denser and more flavorful. All the gelato in Rome is amazing, but a little place called Gelateria del Teatro is particularly special.

According to Vincenzo Garofalo, owner and gelatiere of Old Bridge Gelateria in Rome, gelato is made daily with fresh and seasonal ingredients. So if there's a flavor you love that's specific to a fruit or vegetable that's out of season, skip it. In other words, if you're visiting Rome in winter and it's not strawberry season, don't order strawberry gelato because the flavor won't be as good as it could be if you ordered it when strawberries were in season during the summer months.
Fior di Latte is a simple but delicious vanilla gelato made with milk and sugar. Pistachio is also a good choice and is usually made with real pistachios.
For a unique flavor, try affogato, which consists of gelato topped with hot espresso!
Giolitti is the most popular gelato spot in Rome, so expect long lines. But it's worth the wait!

Conclusion:

The cuisine in Rome is very unique, and the taste of their dishes makes it one of the most visited cities in Italy. So if you want to enjoy Italian food with a difference, then choose Rome.

The food in Rome is definitely something you should be looking forward to. You will never run out of options. Plus, with so many dishes to choose from, you’ll always be able to find something that you like. So be sure to keep the foods listed above on your must-eat list while visiting Rome. If you do so, you’ll have an unforgettable experience. Moreover, it will make your trip a truly memorable one.

© 2022 Mila Ben

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