SarahMayWineinRome's Profile

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Wine pairing for Mediterranean veggie appetizers?

If you can get your hands on a nice unoaked Turkish white wine, like a Narince, that would work nicely.

Nov 25, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Wine

Vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Rome

I am a vegan and my husband is vegetarian and I have never had a problem in Italy with finding something to eat. be warned, however, esp in Rome. Some restaurants have served me veggie dishes with pancetta and said, "There is no meat, it is just for flavor." Pork products can shpw up in many places as "flavor." Just make sure you tell them no meat including pancetta.

May 20, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Wine bars in Rome?

I just posted a blog on ths exact s

ubject.

http://www.tastingrome.blogspot.it/20...

My top wine bars in central Rome:
1. Il Goccetto Via dei Banchi Vecchi 14
I was introduced to this wine bar a few years ago by my good friend and fellow Sommelier Heather Hanson because I needed a change in my routine. It is a classic. This is my absolute favorite wine bar in Rome for a variety reasons. It is charming, rustic and has a great local ambience. It is slightly off the beaten path, but still in the center, so it is easy for a short term visitor in Rome to enjoy a glass of wine. It is covered wall to wall, floor to ceiling with the best wine of Italy and also wines from abroad. They offer and excellent wine by the glass menu, which is often lacking in some wine bars. There are locals pouring out into the street with a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette or small dog in the other. You step in and go back in time. It always feels like 1970 when I enter it. The owners take great care to keep up to date in Italian wine treads and make a point to provide their clients with affordable and fine wines. Despite the humble sign on the outside that suggest one can buy only local oil and wine, they promote natural and terroir driven wines and it is not unusual to have a lovely glass of Barolo for €10 a glass. Their pours are generous. I also enjoy this wine bar because they will often have a great selection of non-Italian wines from France or Austria by the glass. Their wine by the glass menu rotates regularly and they always have a great selection from the extreme north, to central Italy an on to the south.
2. Il Piccolo- Via del Governo Vecchio 74
Il Piccolo is the wine bar I go to with friends after work, take clients to and have been known to pop into for a glass of wine when I am in the area. As the name suggests, it is a tiny wine bar. In the winter it has the capacity to seat 16 people max, but in the warmer months, the tables sprawl out in the street and it is a great place to people watch. They offer a great happy hour and have generous amounts of food buffet style. This wine bar has been in the family for about 4 generations and there are photos displayed that show its simple past as a vino olio. These were places where people in the neighborhood could come and fill up wine bottles and buy local olive oil from the Castelli Romani. Usually the owner is outside with his local friend smoking a cigar and playing cards. There is always a very cute hunting dog there with his dad.
3. Vino al Vino- Via dei Serpenti 19
This is a great little place in the heart of Monti, only really only steps away from the Forum. Like Il Goccetto they have an excellent wine list and they have an abundance of terroir driven wines. Come after 6pm to get a feel for local night life, people are enjoying great wine by the glass, and there is an overall jovial ambience. The real reason people flock here is for their unique version of caponata. While I do agree that it is one of the best, my favorite place for caponata is also a place I like to sit down for a fancier glass-or two three-of wine.
4. Ristorante Roscioli-Via dei Giubbonari, 21
Just around the corner from the very well-known forno, Ristorane Roscioli is a gourmand’s paradise. I often go there for truffle paste or specialty pastas. When I have a bit of extra cash, it my favorite place to retreat to between tours. If I finish a tour at the Vatican at noon and have a Romantic Rome tour in the early evening, I usually do not have time to go home first, so I will stop here for a bit of a relaxation and air conditioning the in the summer. Even though it is called a ristorante, the atmosphere is more like and upscale deli. There are tables in the front and the back, though I like to sit in the front so I can watch everyone. The service is impeccable. White tablecloths, beautiful mixed breads and spumante all accompany your meal. I come here for the caponata, which is made with figs and walnuts and is much more exotic and well balanced than any I have ever had and less oily than Vino al Vino’s.
5. Casa Bleve Via Del Teatro Valle 48/49
Casa Bleve is by far the most elegant and beautiful establishment to enjoy both wine and food. Their wine list is flawless and the atmosphere downright divine. It is considered by many to be one of Rome’s most beautiful locations. When I drink wine here I feel like a noblewoman enjoying the pleasures of life. Every detail has been seen to, from lighting to white noise. If you get there early enough you can ask to go downstairs into the cellar which is actually a part of the ancient baths of Marcus Agrippa, from the first century B.C.E. This is place to linger over fine bottle of wine and a plate of food, if not to stay for lunch or dinner.
Palatium Enoteca Regionale-Via Frattina 94
Just steps away from the Spanish Steps this modern and streamlined enoteca is a true Roman treasure. It is the best place to go to for all things Lazio food and wine oriented. This enoteca was created to promote the enogastronomic treasures of Lazio, so you can come here to enjoy wonderful wines of the region while enjoying some of the best products the region has to offer. The menu always changes with the seasons, but is always true to Lazio recipes. They were able to convert me into a pea lover when I had their split pea soup, something I have hated for years and now look forward to. You can also buy olive oil-such as the best from the Sabine Hills-as well as wine and other products to take home.

Of course there are MANY more such as Bibenda, near the Colosseum-great for after a tour, they have A7C, an excellent wine by the glass menu and great plates of food for good prices.

Enoteca 313 is good, but their seats are not comfortable

May 20, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Five Weeks in Rome Environs

So the Strawberry festival in Nemi is the first Sunday in June. I can't wait. It is one of my favorites in the Castelli because unlike a lot of the other ones it ha not be commercialized yet. There are people in traditonal costumes passing out baskets of strawberries and all the restaurants have strawberry themes menus. Strawberry risotto is amazing.

May 04, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Worst meal in years (locals schmocals)

I don't think it is so much how you are dressed but personality. My husband and I look like bums compared to most people. Hey, we are "farmers." I spend money on wine and food not clothes. Hell, I am a terrible wife and my husband has been known to walk around with shirts that are missing buttons. That being said, he happens to have a winning personality and we have never been to any restaurant in Rome, Lazio or anywhere except Alto Adige that we were not giving the best food and best service because he becomes BFFs with the staff and cook. I have had some of my best meals in the Castelli Romani in total dumps. Also maybe in Rome it is different but on a sunny day at Lago di Nemi lots of Genzanese people walk down the hill ( the side with no road) to picnic on the beach. Old men walk down with tiny grills.

May 01, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Five Weeks in Rome Environs

In fact I was going to suggest taking the time to get out of Rome and head to the Castelli Romani. I live near Velletri, but I spend a fair amount of my eating and playing time around the Castelli. There are two lakes here that you can swim in. I think Lago Albano is easier to reach than Nemi, but Nemi is the more beautifu and magical as is the town of Nemi. Lately I have started to fall in love with Frascati, a town I used to bag on. I have been meeting with people in Frascati for lunches and dinners and making an effort to get to know the town-it is gorgeous. Warning, though. On Friday and Saturday evenings in the main piazzas there are hoardes of teenagers from all over the Castelli! They are very loud but harmless. Albano Laziale was the cool hangout for a number of years, then Arriccia and now Frascati. I actually noticed in the past two years that there were very few teenagers in our piazza, but now I know where they went. Frascati is also fairly easy to get to. The train drops you off almost in the center. There are great places to eat in the Castelli Romani, and I think coming out here would be a great place for the kids. If you are here the third week of June you can go to the Infiorata of Genzano di Roma. My favorite Sagra in the Castelli is the Sagra delle Fragole in Nemi. Super rustuc and fun and a celebration of wild strawberries.

May 01, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Living for Roman food and I don't know how to eat.

I never implied that you didn't. Peace.

Mar 26, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Living for Roman food and I don't know how to eat.

Oh, that one, I remember now. Man, those aren't even the worse coatti and at least they got a bit creative.

Mar 26, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Living for Roman food and I don't know how to eat.

We regularly visit Semoneta, Cori and if you are lucky and there on the right day, you can visit Ninfa. There are number of spectacular places to eat at in Sermoneta but my favorite place is closer to Cori in Giulianello, a place called Caffè del Cardinale. the chef is wonderful. Her "drunken" pasta is to die for, and the location is perfect. I will have to ask my husband where he takes people in Sermoneta. The problem with these towns is that often the restaurants are only open on weekends because that is when they have clients. Ettore regularly takes people to Sermoneta and Cori for wine and food tours, I know he has a lot more knowledge as far as places to eat as he is there more often than I am. By the way Sermoneta is not in Frosinone but in the province of Latina, closer to the sea. Just south of Cori and north of Norma.

www.tastingrome.blogspot.com

Mar 26, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

What are a cook's best sources for ingredients in Rome?

Yes, yes and yes!

Mar 26, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Living for Roman food and I don't know how to eat.

BTW that world does exist. We routinely go into the hills with our friends to eat-in the provinces of Frosinone or Latina-and have simple country food and then we also get to hear and dance to the stornelli musicians. We don't see them much in the Castelli Romani but if you get down past Velletri they are a common site.

Mar 26, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Living for Roman food and I don't know how to eat.

Are you serious? I need to check out this video. Ostia Shore! The Ostia Beach is so gross!

Mar 26, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Living for Roman food and I don't know how to eat.

The difference is that you went to a trattoria-not a fraschetta.

Mar 26, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Calling all fennel and baby bok choy lovers

I make a fennel salad with mandarines olive oil salt and pepper and a dust some fennel pollen over it all. Wonderful!

Fennel Pollen

I love to add it to salads and when I pickle fennel bulbs. You can pretty much dust it over anything. I love the stuff!!

Living for Roman food and I don't know how to eat.

Just because they are Romans does not mean they have any taste for good food. The culture of Romans that eat Porcchetta in Arriccia are cuatti-I don't even know what the English translation would be-but think Jersey Shores. They are there to get drunk cheaply on horrible carbonated wine called Romanella and eat poorly produced food specially made for that market. People need to realize that just because "locals" eat somewhere doesn't man it is good. I have lived in Italy, now on my 8th year and I have found that more of my ex-pat friends are more conscience about local produced food and slow wine than my Romans, which is a shame. People in the Castelli don't consider Romans" locals" in the Castelli Romani in the same way that Romans think of people in the Castelli Romani as burini-peasants.

If you don't have a car you'd be limited to eating in towns. There are great places in Frascati and the train is right in the city center. I love a place called Belvedere. My town, Genzano di Roma has great hosteria, but no train, but the best bread. If you can get to Nemi, do it. There is a great place there called Lo Specchio di Diana with great food, but any of the Osterias in Nemi are good.

Mar 25, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

If you could choose only one meal in Rome for a honeymoon - that meets these 2 criteria, what would it be?

Oops! I had cacio e pepe (the dish) on my mind knowing I was writing about Roma Sparita. My own experience there has been so-so. The service was not great and the food did not live up to its fame. And, as I mentioned before their wine list is terrible and their wine glasses even worse. However my (Roman) husband loved the cacio e pepe there. Despite that my opinion is based on my own experience not his.

Mar 25, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Eating fresh fruit in Italy

This is a great post. Everyone I know who visits us in Italy cannot get over how wonderful the fruit is here. We eat seasonally. Figs in the markets in Rome are only around in June-early July and then again in September. If they are available at different times they are not local. Strawberries in June from Nemi! OMG!! I love fruit. Apricots. Oh, and by far the best melon in the world is in Italy.

Mar 25, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Da Giggetto- Rome, Italy

First, I need to say that I am a guide in Rome and I lead food and wine tours. Recently I had a group of 25 students from American on a 5 hour food and wine experience tour in Rome. One month before the tour, I made arrangements to bring them to Da Giggetto because on the past, they have always been reliable. We made a menu fixed a price and shook hands. We called once a week prior to the event for various reasons, firstly, to confirm, and secondly as the event came closer, I had information of clients such as allergies. We called one week prior to the event the woman said all was fine, everything was planned no problems. We called the evening before the event to reconfirm-thank goodness-and the woman who made our plans with us was on vacation! She left no notice at Da Giggetto of our arrangement nor did she call us to cancel. So at 8pm the night before we had a group of 25 people, we had to find other arrangements. Luckily Ba Ghetto-a kosher establishment- was more than happy to help us. They were much more generous with their portions and honestly their food is much better than Da Giggetto’s anyway. Their fried artichoke blows Da Giggetto out of the park. Also, Da Giggetto is not owned by local Roman Jews and they do not have a kosher kitchen. Ba Ghetto is kosher and I often see local families hosting bah mitzvahs there and other celebrations that require a kosher kitchen. So taking clients there to talk about Jewish influence on the Roman kitchen is pointless. I have sent Da Giggetto literally hundreds of clients over the yeasr. I have always carried their business cards. I have taken large and small groups there as well. No longer with I be a patron at Da Giggetto and when my clients ask me where they should eat in the Jewish quarter I will tell them Ba Ghetto or some other establishment-actually I won't suggest anywhere in the Ghetto except Laura's Biscotti. The food at Da Giggetto has not always been the best, but I like(d) the location in the Ghetto and the outdoor seating. Their wine list has always been dreadful and their wine glasses are terrible as well. Do you want heartburn? Eat their Eggplant Parmigiano. I calculate that after this experience they will lose hundreds of clients over the next 2 years just from a loss of recommendation from myself and my husband.

Ba Ghetto, with a slightly higher price was 10x more generous with what they offered. They were accomodating to the 2 celiacs on my tour and they opened the kitchen for us.

Mar 25, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Living for Roman food and I don't know how to eat.

Books will be helpful for you before your trip, but the best way to get to know Rome and her food is just to explore. Everyone has different tastes. For me what is important at a restaurant is a good wine list and good wine glasses. A lot of the trattorias in Rome have horrible glasses followed by horrible table wine. However there are so many excellent places to eat from street food to haute cuisine. Since you are going to be in Rome for awhile I do suggest getting out of the city for day trips for food, culture and wine. Just outside of Rome there is an amazing wine culture and Romans flock to the Castelli Romani every weekend to eat and drink. Aovid Arriccia and the porchetta scene. A person from Castelli Romani wouldn't be caught dead eating there. It is geared towards Roman tourists who don't know a thing about good food and less about wine.
As for the market in Campo de Fiori, I like the market. It is bloody expensive, but then again I live in the Castelli Romani so I think everything is expensive in Rome! It is very colorful and I love getting fresh squeezed pomegranate juice in the winter. There are plenty of markets that are cheaper and larger, but it is nice for being in the centro storico. Also nearby is Roscioli, you must eat their caponata.

Mar 25, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Italy for a month

I have to agree with vinoroma. Does it have to be Tuscany? Umbria is a foodie paradise and she is right, truffles will be in Season. As well, you can go to Montefalco for their wine festival in October. I would also suggest Lazio, especailly the Tuscia. wonderful foods are in season in October. And of course the south Sicily.

www.tastingrome.blogspot.com

Mar 25, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Countertop material: granite vs. solid surface (corian) vs. engineered stone (silestone)

I have to say I LOVE my butcher board counters. My entire kitchen is a cutting board! It is awesome and my kitchen looks quaint and rustic country.

Mar 25, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Cookware

If you could choose only one meal in Rome for a honeymoon - that meets these 2 criteria, what would it be?

Cacio e Pepe does have a great location but they seat locals and foreigners and seperate locations AND they have a horrible wine list as well as horrible glasses. If I recall Katie Parla wrote about them recently because they were illegally chardging a service charge but it wasn't on the menu.

Mar 25, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy

Italian Wine 101 for French Wine Lover?

I totally agree with you on the Barberas. I am not fond of this oaky juicier version of a beloved wine. I don't think it will be short-lived, though. It seems to be a trend all over the world. I think the barrique should be completely outlawed in Italy. When in doubt, go for the cheaper Barbera, it *usually* means you aren't paying extra for the rent of the barriques.

Mar 12, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Wine

Italian Wine 101 for French Wine Lover?

I suggest a wine club. That way you can get to know what you like, what regions you are interested in and what kind of Italian wine drinker you are. I would look into whites from Friuli and Trentino-Alto Adige. Check out the wine maker Foradori (Trentino), her Terolodego is fantastic and she is experimented with whited vinified in Amphora. While I love wines from Piedmont and Tuscany, there are other regions with fantastic wines that are often cheaper and better quality because they are unknown. Check out Etna Rosso from Sicily instead of Nero D'Avola. I can't live without Lagrein from Alto-Adige.

If you like a tannic and robust wine or a wine that can handle some age (a lot, in fact) check out Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, a great producer is Paolo Bea in Umbria.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Barolos, Barbarecos and Brunellos but Italy has SOOOO much more to offer.

www.tastingrome.blogspot.com

Mar 09, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Wine

10 days in Rome... where should we eat?

With 10 days in Rome, you could easily skip the smog and traffic of Rome for a day and take the train up the Castelli Romani for some hearty Osteria food, or you could visit a Frascati winery. The train to Frascati stops right in town and there are great places to eat in town. In fact the best carciofi alla giudia I have ever had was NOT in Rome but in Frascati at Ristorante Belvedere 1933 - Frascati
www.belvedere1933.com/

They have a great wine list too.

Mar 09, 2012
SarahMayWineinRome in Italy