Words by Tiana Templeman
Trastevere, a medieval neighbourhood in the heart of Rome, is home to some of the city’s most authentic restaurants and the perfect spot to explore on a food tour.
There are no Thermomixers or other fancy high-tech gadgets at these Roman trattorias. You probably won’t find a printed menu either. Instead, the day’s dishes are written on a chalkboard and change depending on what’s available at the market.
Deep-fried artichokes, which originated in Rome’s Jewish ghetto, appear on a tasting plate in front of us at the first stop on our Eating Europe ‘Twilight Trastevere’ food tour. At the next restaurant, we descend into a basement that has changed little since Roman Republic times. Here we sample a rustic stew cooked using the original recipe created by Gaius Matius, Julius Caesar’s cook.
A biscuit factory run by the same family for almost 80 years is followed by a stop at Antica Norcineria Iacozzilli to sample some of Rome’s best porchetta. The next shop is staffed by three cheeky brothers and is famous for Rome’s favourite street food snack, suppli, which is better known as arancini in Australia.
The penultimate restaurant serves classic tonnarelli cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper), which is so deliciously peppery that we can’t help sneezing, or cleaning our plates.
Fatamorgana, a gelato shop that is famous for bringing organic gelato to Rome, provides a sweet finish. Not surprisingly, we are so full by this time that we can barely fit in dessert, but somehow we manage.
AVERAGE FLIGHT TIME
AEST-8 (8 hours behind Australia)
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Shoulder season from September to November and April to May offer sunny days, mild evenings and fewer tourists.