When I first started planning my trip to Italy, I was very excited about the prospect of having some amazing meals. My expectations were admittedly high, but somehow the Italians managed to blow them all away. My Italian culinary adventures started in the eternal city with the Rome Food Tour organized by Walks of Italy, where I got a nice introduction to some of the country’s most popular products.
The tour starts in Campo de’ Fiori, a square where executions were staged back in the day. In fact, philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned alive there for heresy; and today there’s a monument marking his place of death. During the day, Campo de’ Fiori is full of stalls selling mostly fruits and vegetables; but there’s also a good selection of spices, olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
While walking among the different vendors Julia, our guide would point curious historical facts peppered with tips on the best ways to cook some of the foods on display. Keeping aside Campo de’ Fiori’s gruesome past, all the goodies I saw and the talk about food was making me very hungry; fortunately, there is quite a bit of food tasting going on in this tour. After a quick stop at the bakery, we headed to one of the stands that sell balsamic vinegar and learned about the difference between the traditional & the original processes to making it.
Then things got even more interesting as we went to the cheese shop and sampled three different varieties while learning about the particularity of each of them. Our next stop, was the meat shop just across the piazza; where they had prepared a huge plate of cold cuts to taste and had also some wine to go with it. By the time we left the shop, my hunger was already satiated; and we hadn’t even had lunch yet!
One of the highlights of this tour was having a try at making our own pizza, with the help of a professional pizzaiolo, of course! It was fun to make and even if I was already full, I couldn’t wait to taste my own creation. For the record, my Colombian pizza was damned tasty! But after eating most of it, I just couldn’t keep up and had to skip the gelato at a traditional Sicilian shop.
The last stop of the tour helped me get on with my day, though; as I got to have my caffeine fix at Sant’Eustachio, one of the best places for coffee in Rome. Overall, I was very happy I got the chance to take the tour as I learned some curious historical facts, ate more than I could and got the perfect introduction to Italian cuisine that would help me in the rest of my journey through the country.
For more information about Walks of Italy and their tour offering, check out their website or visit them on Twitter and Facebook. For more photos of my time in Rome, don’t forget to have a look at my gallery.
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