After spending the morning touring the Vatican, we trekked over to Roscioli for lunch. I had read about Roscioli on Jen's blog (lucky for me she did a little Rome trip right when I was planning our honeymoon), and I knew I wanted to eat there if we could fit it in during our trip.
When we got to Roscioli, we were fortunate to get a table downstairs in a wine-cellar-like space in the busy little shop/restaurant.
We knew we were going to get pizza for dinner and this was our last lunch in Italy, so I thought it would be fun to splurge a little. Lunch started with the best bread we had on the whole trip. The bread we had encountered thus far really wasn't very tasty, which was actually a good thing because you didn't fill up on it before your meal. Here, I couldn't stop myself from eating it, especially the awesome somewhat chewy flatbread sprinkled with salt.
I ordered a glass of Lambrusco -- one thing I knew I would miss when we left, after being introduced to it on our food tour -- and savored every drop of it.
Our waiter brought over a complimentary plate of ricotta topped with pesto. As I've said before, ricotta is amazing in Italy, so we were both happy to get some last bites of it.
We thought about getting the sampler of meats and cheeses, but it comes with mortadella, and I'm not a big fan, so we went with separate meat and cheese platters. Roscioli has tons to choose from, so it was not an easy decision. We decided on the selection of noble cheeses from Italy. I know we had Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago, and Piave, but I can't recall the fourth cheese.
For meats, we got the selection of Italian prosciutti, featuring di Parma, San Danielle, and Norcia.
The two platters offered us a great way to get last bites of all those tastes we had enjoyed throughout our trip. It was definitely way too much food for just two people though!
We could have stopped at that, but Rome is known for spaghetti alla carbonara and pasta all'amatriciana and Roscioli has both and is known for its carbonara and it was our last lunch, so it only made sense to try both.
Both dishes feature guanciale (cured pig jowl). I have a love/hate relationship with guanciale. When it is undercooked and fatty, like it was in the carbonara dish, I hate it. When it is crisp and oozes greasy, fatty goodness with each bite, like it was in the amatriciana dish, I love it.
The carbonara was incredibly rich, heavily eggy, and studded with fatty guanciale. It also had a hefty dose of pepper. We wanted to love it, but I guess we're not used to such a rich version, and it was a little too much for both of us. We could only muster small bites. Don't get me wrong: The flavors were very fresh and upfront, and it's a very good dish, just very heavy.
The amatriciana was lighter in comparison, with its San Marzano tomato coating, strong Pecorino Romano, and crispy guanciale.
We couldn't even think about having dessert after our filling Italian lunch, but our waiter brought us some anise-flavored cookies and warm chocolate for dipping. That dish of warm chocolate was irresistible and we were soon making room in our stomachs for the chocolate-dipped crunchy cookies. It was the perfect amount of sweet to finish the meal.
Clearly, we needed to do a little walking around after our lunch, so we strolled over to the Pantheon, a temple dedicated to all the Roman gods.
Next up: Day 11 -- Rome (Evening)