Monday morning after a SMALL breakfast, we leisurely meandered to the Testaccio district, South West of the heart of Rome. We found the local market and wine shop as instructed by our pre-tour pack and watched the locals go by whilst sipping a coffee. No cappuccino after 11am in Italy it's the law!! It's suggested you shouldn't drink milk on a full stomach, hence not with a meal anytime after breakfast. As our fellow foodies joined us, Kenny our tour guide for the next few hours appeared.
After some quick introductions, we headed to the Testaccio covered market to meet some local celebrities and try some of their products. We sampled local cheeses such as buffalo mozzarella, various cured meats and 4 varieties of tomatoes from a possible 50. Rather than choose a type of tomato, Carmelo will ask you what you're cooking and TELL you which types you need!
|Cured meat in E Volpetti|
|Sampling tiramisu at Barberini|
As a breather from the food, we were shown around a local non-catholic cemetery for foreigners. This is the resting place of English poet John Keats, who when diagnosed with tuberculosis was told to seek Mediteranian climates to cure his illness. Alas, it didn't work and he died in 1821 in Italy.
Lunchtime brought us to a mountain, literally. Monte Testaccio is a mountain made of old un-recyclable terracotta pots from those they shipped in to Rome via the river. The broken clay was piled on top of each other year after year. One day a man decided to open a restaurant directly underneath it. People didn't think he would complete such as challenge and so when opening it, he called it Al Velavevodetto, which means "I told you so". For lunch we had three types of pasta washed down with a drop of wine.
After lunch Kenny took us to the old local slaughter house, Roma's old football stadium and to more food. This time we sampled a suppli which consists of rissoto rice in a breadcrumb ball. Italian post-pub fast food. Finally we finished at Giolitti, an ice cream parlour, where we had a lesson on the difference between gelato and ice cream (gelato less air, more natural colours, much nicer). We then tucked into some delicious gelato to round off an amazing food / history tour of Rome and the Testaccio area.