Dining in Rome, Italy

Dining in Rome, Italy

Trastevere is a district of Rome where the Italians go for a nice dinner, avoiding “menu turistico” of the city center. Trastevere is located south of Vatican, on the west side of the Tiber river. It is full of restaurants and bars, very busy in the evening after 8 pm. Weather permitting, the preferred seating is outside.

Italian desserts

Italian desserts

What are the most popular Italian desserts? Probably the best known around the world are these two: tiramisu and panna cotta. As all Italian cuisine specialties, they came from a specific region- Panna Cotta from Piedmont and tiramisu which is of recent origin, either from Venice or Sienna.

Tiramisu is typically made from the ladyfingers soaked in coffee and mascarpone cheese whipped with egg yolks.

 

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, in English called Parmesan, is a product with DPO indication (Protected Designation of Origin), produced under strict rules in specific areas of Italy, namely area of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and parts of Bologna and Mantua.
It is the preferred cheese to be used in a grated form with the pasta dishes.
Here on the picture, Parmigiano-Reggiano with the balsamic vinegar.

Types of balsamic vinegar of Modena

Types of balsamic vinegar of Modena

These are the official indication on the label important to check when buying the balsamic vinegar of Modena:
DOP (Denominazione di origine protetta) indicates the traditional product under strict quality regulations and certified by the Consortium of Producers of Traditional Balsamic of Modena. Only two types of balsamic vinegar may carry the DPO indictation: Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena) and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia)
The Italian DOP indication is the same as the European Union’s PDO (Protected Designation of Origin).
The traditional vinegar (with DOP certificate) must be aged for at least 12 years but it is possible to find ones aged 25 years and more. The traditional vinegar may be only made from two types of grapes (Trebbiano, Lambrusco) by cooking the grape must, then fermentation and oxidation leading to a long aging process in wooden barrels.
This vinegar is sold only in two types of bottles, different for the one from Modena and one from Reggio Emilia, with color caps indicating the age. A typical price is around 130 USD for a bottle of 100 ml (3.4 oz).
PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) which is used by the European Union to indicate a food product produced within a specific geographical area. Also the indication IGP (Indication Geographique Protegee) is used for the same purpose. Vinegar of Modena with the indication of PGI or IGP does not conform to strict quality norms and may be produced by an industrial process involving mixing grape must with wine vinegar and possible caramel for color. The minimum aging requirement is here 2 months. This vinegar may be quite inexpensive, just 3 USD per bottle. Some balsamic vinegars of Modena may be produced by a semi-traditional methods involving a long aging process, even 12 years but they lack the DOP certificate and strict controls of the consortium. Prices of the better ones can be in the range of 30 to 40 USD.