I was excited when I was invited as a guest by Context Travel to join their Savoring Rome – A Culinary Stroll tour. Even though I have lived here in Rome for more than 5 years, there is always something to learn about Italian food.
As many of you know, even as a guest of Context Travel, I am too opinionated not to give you an honest review. I was very comfortable in saying yes to the invitation because it was just that – an invitation. I was the one who asked them for permission to write a post on my experience as this is what BrowsingRome is about – a blog about my experiences in Rome and Italy.
Before taking the tour, there were two criteria the walking tour had to meet for me to highly recommend it. The two criteria are related as the first was if I would learn anything new and the second was if I will discover new places to check out.
I am happy to say that I would highly recommend Savoring Rome – A Culinary Stroll!
Not only did I learn anything new but I now see a neighborhood of Rome in a totally different light. Mind you, this is a neighborhood I am rather familiar with and I appreciate the details the docent gave on the area.
Without a doubt, she was extremely knowledgeable and not only does she have a background as a chef, but also a degree in Art History.
We even popped into a Palazzo and the docent shared how perspectives were put to good use in a limited space.
When we first met the docent, she had informed us that although they have a structure to follow, the itinerary is flexible. This said, keep in mind that the description of Savoring Rome on the Context Travel website is just to give you an idea what will be covered on a given tour. It’s not engraved in stone which adds a nice element of surprise. For example, on their website, it says:
Our walk started at 9am and seriously, I am glad we didn’t try any fried snacks as my stomach would have had issues with them at that time of day. However, this culinary stroll covered a lot more than mentioned in terms of the history of Rome.
For those who are first time visitors to Rome, you will enjoy the interesting facts that are shared and the background of the food that you are savoring. Some of the food we tasted were not new to me but most of the places where we went to taste them were unknown to me at all. The only place that I had already known was the gelateria. However, I love gelato and have checked out my fair share and this one we went to, Giolitti, is one of my favorites.
Let me share a few places the culinary stroll covered. We started near the Jewish Ghetto and although I know a bit about the history of this place, our docent provided so much details which gave me a clear picture of the conditions the Jewish people went through. She encouraged us to visit the museum in the synagogue and that is now on my “list of things to do”.
What was fun was also the information she shared about the owners of the shops we went too. I would never have know that the kosher bakery shop which sold ,a soft, chewy and a touch crunch, amaretti (it was so good!) were managed by a mother and daughters team.
And who would ever have known that they only bake two trays of these goodies a day and when they are gone for the day, they are gone! I am glad we had these instead of fried snacks.
Half way through the walk, there was a stop for coffee. This place was definitely off the beaten path and look at how creative they were in making this caffe macchiato. A huge plus about this bar is that we could sit at the tables outside without being charged double. It was a much needed break because after that, we basically walk non-stop until the end of the tour.
There is a lot of ground to cover so make sure you bring super comfortable walking shoes. Walking on san pietrini on flats is a challenge in itself! It would have been nice to have more rest breaks in between but I think due to the time constraints and how much there was to cover, breaks were limited.
At the end, when we got to the gelateria, the other participant was worn out that she was desperately looking for a place to sit down. As for myself, the choices of ice cream just got my adrenaline going.
Another thing which I enjoyed was the impromptu picnic. It was so down to earth! The docent bought some fruits, porchetta and pecorino cheese from the vendors in Campo dei Fiori and we enjoyed the tasting by the statue of Giordano Bruno.
I love figs and porchetta but strangely enough, I have never they had them together. I sure didn’t know what I was missing!!
And this is only a glimpse of what we savored. While on this walk, I thought about how much my sister would have loved this tour, mainly the food but also the information she would have learned from it.
Personally, as I am familiar with most of the food we tasted, I would have liked more information as to the origins of some of the food and how they have evolved over time. I know that’s more for me than the other guests who are mainly visitors to Rome.
This culinary stroll is not a typical tour and as mentioned on Context Travel’s website, it’s more like a seminar. This is evident with the comment that another participant made at the end of the walk “I hope I can remember all the information that you’ve shared!”
P.S. I got so much out of this tour from Context Travel that I plan on taking a walking tour with them when I am in Barcelona next month.