Of course we go to rome for the history, the architecture, the un-Americanness of it, and last but not least,
But you have to remember, in a city that’s life blood is tourism, there is plenty of disappointment lurking around every corner, speaking specifically about food and service. Thankfully, I had lots of solid suggestions from friends and followers of the blog.
And then there are the experiences that come at you, unexpected, and are so amazing they just blow you away. This morning at Volpetti Salumeria was one of those.
Claudio Volpetti, the owner of the shop for the past 40 years, called me over with the simple phrase.
“You, you come with me, you have to taste this!”
This being a salami that had a giant block of Guanciale running down the center of it. After asking him in my poor Italian about the light smokiness I was picking up, he explain that it is only produced in the winter, always made by hand, and that it is so cold when it’s produced, that the butchers keep a small fire going to warm their hands occasionally and subsequently add a light natural smoke to the salumi.
He told the story with passion and such joyful-ness, that even if he was making it up, (which he was not) I would believe it.
The more questions I asked, the more salumi he pulled down, entering into a lengthy explanations about the regions, the pigs, and often the individual people who produced each one. This tasting went on for nearly an hour, complete with sips of wine and traditional unsalted Italian bread as palate cleansers in between tastes.
Maybe he just made me for an easy mark, or maybe he could see the joy in my eyes upon entering the shop. Either way, his passion and generosity was no act, and is an experience I will always remember. In my three trips to Italy I’ve have had so many of those experiences. Each trip I learn something that will forever change the way I prepare food, and treat my guests. Each trip I find new and wonderful flavors, people and places, and each trip makes me want to remember not to wait so long before my next trip.
Now, off to a dinner at the spot that was the inspiration for Il Corvo, (I’m not going to tell you the name, but if you are heading to Rome for a vacation, send me a message-it’ll be our secret) then to the airport for a fun filled 4:00 am, 20 hour travel home.
See you all on Monday!
Grazie e Arreviderci Rome!
La Menu per Oggi
Gigli al Greco with artichokes, feta and olives
Maccheroni with Pork Shank Ragu
Tagliarini al Pesto