By: YiR’s very own Lauren Mouat
If you are what you eat then the Italians are one bountiful, tangled, satisfying (occasionally fried) bunch of culinary wizards. On a visit to Rome you’re bound to visit the must-sees like the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica but I don’t think any visit to the Eternal City is complete without a Rome food tour, where you can immerse yourself in the living, growing tradition of Roman cuisine.
Eating Italy Food Tours in Rome served up the perfect introduction to Roman culinary traditions on a four-hour stroll though one of the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods: Trastevere.
Our group met our fantastic guide Anna at a local pastry shop where we whet our appetites with a delectable little pastry I’d never tried before (even after living in Rome for six years) before continuing down one winding street to the next for a taste comparison of Rome’s most popular cheeses, typical fried Roman street food, juicy porchetta and creamy artisanal gelato.
We met a mother-son team and paired their salty, thinly-sliced prosciutto with crisp, juicy melone from the couple running a nearby fruit stand at the local market, then had a seat in a restaurant that blends the modern and the traditional to try different pasta favorites paired with wine.
At each stop we had our share of tasty samples and learned about how they were produced as well as the stories behind what made them staples of Italian cuisine. We also had the chance to meet the shop owners and see what a day in the life of some local Italians is like.
It’s not hard to find good food in Italy’s capital but without the guidance of our guide Anna we would never have seen such a unique collection of locally owned and operated shops, restaurants, local favorite snack spots, and markets. What made the tour special was getting to meet the locals who had been serving great food to the community for generations.
I took the Trastevere for foodies tour but you can also choose between an evening tour or a tour of a modern foodie favorite neighborhood, Testaccio.
There are many tours that will teach you about the history and art that make this city such an incredible place to live and visit but this is the first tour I’ve been on where I not only learned a lot about food and discovered new corners of a city that I’ve lived in for years but was also reminded of the incredible unifying force that food can have on a group of people. What started as a group of strangers guiltily licking our fingers after devouring a crispy supplì on a street corner became a small community of travelers sharing stories while passing platefuls of cacio e pepe and ravioli to each other and enjoying one of the great pleasures of travel: the unifying, almost magical power of good food and good stories.