Rome Food & Wine
The Eternal City has been a melting pot for foods from other places since the Roman legions began collecting recipes and provisions, and, in some cases, cooks, from the far reaches of the empire. As the national capital, Rome (Roma) has drawn culinary inspiration from Italian regions north and south, though most substantially from the home provinces of Lazio.
Roman menus feature "spaghetti alla carbonara" and "bucatini all'amatriciana", as well as "rigatoni" and "penne". Fresh pasta may be flat as "lasagne", rolled as "cannelloni" or cut in strips as the celebrated "fettuccine al burro". Gnocchi from potatoes or durum wheat semolina are also popular around the region, as are polenta and rice. Or try a "coda alla vaccinara", a famous oxtail dish which is braised in tomatoes and that the ancient Romans used to flavor with pine nuts, raisins, and cocoa.
Romans adore "abbacchio", milk-fed lamb roasted for Easter feasts though delicious year round. They also eat their share of beef and veal and pork is prized as "porchetta", roasted by butchers in the Castelli Romani and sliced warm for sandwiches in the street markets.
The Jewish community has influenced the entire city, with its whole artichokes cooked in hot oil until tender (carciofi alla giudia) and salt cod fillets (filetti di baccala').
Rome is noted for its gelato, Lenten raisin buns called "maritozzi", cream-filled pastries called "bigne'", rum-soaked fruit and nut cake called "pan giallo", and a custard cake drenched with syrupy liqueurs known as "zuppa inglese" (though is neither soup nor English). Coffee bars are famous for their espresso from freshly roasted beans. Meals often end with a glass of sweet "sambuca" liqueur, sipped with three coffee beans to munch on.
If you're searching for "fast food", most areas in Rome will have a selection of pizza al taglio (pizza by slice) outlets. Buy your slice of pizza or a "suppli'" (a Roman snack consisting of rice and mozzarella fried together in a chewy ball) and enjoy your quick lunch!
Roma's region is intrinsically linked to white wine, to "Frascati" and "Marino" and the other golden-hued wines of the Castelli Romani, as well as to the fabled "Est! Est!! Est!!!" from the northern Lazio town of Montefiascone.
The ancient Romans drank white wines, too, though Horace and company reserved their greatest praise for the red "Falernian" and "Caecuban", which were grown along the coast in southern Lazio and Campania. Although white wine accounts for an overwhelming share of the red's production, certain of its red wines seem more convincing to connoisseurs.