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Country Food Festivals

Agricoltura Nuova-Organic wine and food in country setting


The Cucina Romanesca  is traditionally based in the earthy cuisine of the working classes mixed with many influences from the citys centuries old Jewish population.  The local markets, supply fresh seasonal vegetables, fruit, cheese and meat from the nearby countryside. And of course you have the Mediterranean to thank for the abundance of fresh seafood that add glory to such popular dishes like Spaghetti alle Vongole flavoured with baby clams. There are many other classic Roman pasta dishes like Spahetti alla Carbonara with Pancetta, eggs and cheese, Bucatini allAmatriciana, a gutsy dish flavoured with  tomato and Pancetta, topped with Pecorino Romano( matured sheeps cheese). Penne allArrabbiata, a spicy sauce flavoured with tomatoes and chilli and Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, a simple dish with Pecorino and ground black pepper.

Many Roman meat dishes is dominated by the offal based quinto quarto (fifth quarter),innards, head, tail and trotters that are still abundantly offered especially in restaurants in  the old working class neighbourhoods of Testaccio and Trastevere.  Favourites are Pajata, the intestines of an un-weaned calf, lingua (tongue) and  Trippa ( tripe). Famous dishes include Coda alla Vaccinara, oxtail stew in a sauce of celery and tomatoes. Abbacchio, milk-fed lamb roasted to tenderness with rosemary, sage and garlic. Scottadito, grilled lamp chops and Saltimbocca alla Romana, thin slices of veal cooked with a slice of prosciutto and sage on top.

In the winter you should try the quintessential Roman vegetable, Carciofo ( artichoke). It comes served either alla romana, stuffed with garlic and mint and stewed or alla giudea flattened and deep-fried in olive oil. Another glorious side dish is the courgette blossom, batter fried stuffed with mozzarella and a sliver of marinated anchovy. A popular fish dish, not to be missed,  is Baccalà, salt cod eaten Jewish style, deep-fried.

The Roman pizza differs from the Napoletanean version. It comes with a thin crust and is usually baked (cotta a legna) in a wood-burning oven. All over Rome you can find places that serve pizza by the slice and sold by weight, (pizza al taglio).

Lunch times are usually between 12.30 to 3PM and dinner is served between 8PM and 11PM although in the summer the restaurants open even later.

No Roman meal would be complete without wine. Wines have been made for several thousand years in the Lazio hills. The ancients toasted with Cecubo and Falernum, wines produced in the Latium hills referred to today as the wines of Castelli. The ample sun combined with the volcanic earth rich in potassium, are well suited to produce white wines based on various types of Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes. The wines of Rome, especially Frascati, where you can sample the local s in many of the towns cantine, and also Marino, are traditionally abbocato, soft and not too sweet, pleasantly fleshy and fruity. Wonderful, easy, everyday wines not designed to travel far or to last long. Other wines are Colli Albani, Colli Lanuvini, Velletri and Montecompatri Colonna.

The reds of Lazio vary in composition. Aprilia supplies quantities of Merlot and Sangiovese.

The reds of Cerveteri, Cori and Velletri are based on Montepulciano and Sangiovese.

In the year 1000, the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, marched on Rome at the head of a powerful army. One of his followers where bishop  Johan Defuk,  who instructed his cupbearer, Martin, to go ahead and select the inns where good wines where served. When Martin reached Montefiascone, the usual sign Est! was chalked next to the door of the inn. He found this sign inadequate to properly represent to excellent wine of the town so he decided to signal his appreciation of the wine to his master by writing Est 3 times and adding a exclamation point each time. Thus we know the birthdate of Est!Est!Est! from Montefiascone! Bishop Defuk was so enraptured by the wine that after completing the mission, he returned to Montefiascone where he remained to his death and is buried. It is still custom, once a year to pour a barrel of wine over his tombstone!

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Regional Typical Food

The Wine Hills


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Italian Sweet Water Fishes

Castelli Romani Wines Link

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Italian Sommeliers Association

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The Sabina Olive Oil Route

Delicious Italy

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