Getting my NOM on in Rome with Walks of Italy

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I am by no means a skinny girl.

Actually, I prefer the term “pleasantly plump”.

After spending thousands of dollars on personal trainers over the past 10 years, I realized life is just too short to be eating nothing but steamed spinach and grilled fish.

I NEED FLAVOR IN MY LIFE.

Little did I know that the Rome Food Tour with Walks of Italy would single-handedly ruin my taste buds forever. (Cue: The Sandlot – “FOR-EV-ER”)

Our guide for the day was the very warm and exuberant Simona. With her passion in tow we followed her through what would be the pinnacle of my food tour experience.

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We started out in the historic Campo dei Fiori market (name comes from the fact that it used to be a meadow!). This has been an important market for Rome locals for over 140 years! It is here where we set the stage for my world to be rocked and everything to change.

But a few things first.

I have to say that I’m always so incredibly jealous of European markets. If I take anything away from my travels abroad, it is that cooking fresh and in season really changes EVERYTHING. Most of the food found in this daily market (where even Simona does her daily shopping) can be easily found within 100 miles of Rome. That is a big deal. This allows for a more specific food palate and flavor for every region of Italy.

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I reveled in the October colors. Reds and greens of the oncoming winter tomatoes, the deep purples and reds of the summer’s end berries – everything just became magical.

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But it was here when I learned something life changing.

What I thought was quality turns out to be trash – I’ll explain a bit. Basically, all the food that is imported from Italy is the leftover “crap” that Italians won’t eat. All olive oil that doesn’t reach Italian standards gets shipped out – along with balsamic vinegar that is made in the region.

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And so the tasting began.

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I’ve never tasted olive oil so velvety in my life. The subtle flavors were out of this world.

The balsamic was thick and sweet like honey. My mouth was in love. I kept stuffing the bread pieces into my mouth.

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They also had tastes of truffles (white AND black), pesto, chile sauces, artichokes… the list goes on. I just kept slathering it on my bread. Did I ever mention my white truffle obsession? It just melted on my tongue.

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Everything was divine.

How am I supposed to go back to the United States and buy the horrible stuff again? I can’t. UGH. I guess this is where ignorance is bliss.

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We discovered Roscioli, I family owned cheese shop. They brought us platters of fresh mozzarella di bufala (or mozzarella from water buffalo – the REAL way to make it), pecorino,  and parmesan cheese. The mozzarella was so soft, so light, a bit salty (due to the proximity to the sea) and as you bit into it, a small bit of milk fills your mouth. The pecorino is a bit like parmesan (you can only call cheese certain things if they are made in certain areas), hard, and packs a punch.  At 18 months aged, I can only imagine what the more expensive ones have in store. And as a special treat, we tried 36 month aged parmesan. GOOD LORD it packed a wallop. I think I’ll stick to my mozzarella.

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We moseyed on over to Norcineria Viola where we were in cured meat heaven.

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If there is one thing I love about Europe, it has to be their love for cured meat.

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Another family owned business, this meat market has been passed down from father to son for a few generations. Everything is made in house and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I can taste the family love. NINE different meats were laid out in all their glory for us to taste – everything from fennel, to dried, to liver, to well, I don’t know, I kept stuffing it in my face.

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And although I could feel my stomach filling, we weren’t done yet.

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This is where you get the ultimate Italian experience… MAKING YOUR OWN PIZZA.

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I think Shaun was a bit more excited than I was seeing as though I was head cook for PIzza Hut during my teen years and it lost all its glamour but that doesn’t negate the fact it was still AWESOME.

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(Let me say awesome one more time.) AWESOME.

A quick demonstration and we were left to our own devices to roll the dough, place our toppings, and wait to eat.

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Did I mention we were damn sexy in our aprons?

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I do have to say that my pizza came out the best. I think it was all my previous pizza training.

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Now, normally this is the part you eat and get to have a nice Italian coffee with the bubbly Simona, however as we were about to miss our train we had to head out early.

All I can say is that you can’t miss out on this experience with Walks of Italy. If you like food at all, make it happen.

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Disclosure: We were complimentary guests of Walks of Italy

40 Responses to “Getting my NOM on in Rome with Walks of Italy”

  1. About Delhi November 26, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Every picture is delicious! I wonder how it would taste like. Gotta take the food tour in Rome!

    • Erica December 1, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

      Everything was SPECTACULAR! My taste buds might as well have been singing.

  2. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures November 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    Wow these photos are amaaaaaaaazing! I want to hop on the 1st flight to Italy.

    • Erica December 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

      You are such a jetsetter lady! I love how you do hop on planes at the last moment! 😀

  3. Cate Brubaker November 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    I am a firm believer that life would not be worth living without balsamic vinegar, mozzarella and tomatoes. In other words, I could eat caprese for every meal for the rest of my life, whilst looking at your fab photos.

    • Erica December 1, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

      I fell in love with caprese while in Italy. I’m not sure how I will live without it!

  4. Andrew November 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    Mmm self made pizza. I am not such the fan of cured meat (i find it too chewy) but salami is great and cheese is definitely one of my things.

    This looks like such a funday.

    • Erica December 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

      Good lord Andy! Sometimes I wonder what you DO eat! <3

  5. Emily in Chile November 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    This is my dream. I need to go back to Rome!

  6. Lauren November 28, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    Looks amazing! We were just in Bologna and also took an incredible food tour (complete with lots of white truffles). Don’t forget that when you guys come to Madrid, we expect you on a Madrid Food Tour too!

    • Erica December 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      OMG I’m so jealous of your truffle experience. We had to leave Europe due to pushing the Shengen 90 days for Americans but if we can somehow afford to be back, you betcha we will be there!

  7. Diana November 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    Oh how wonderful, Simona IS an absolute delight .. the Walks of Italy video she did in Palermo through the food market MADE our time there. Do yourselves a favour and get yourself on a tour with Simona. When in Rome….

    • Erica December 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

      YAY! I’m glad someone else got to experience her charm. She is just so amazing!

  8. Bethany November 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Great post! We did this tour with Walks Of Italy and I can attest to the fact that Erica is correct – this tour is AWESOME. The food is so, so good and it will definitely take the binders off realizing the crap we eat here in the US. Pics are great too – love the post. :)

  9. Dani November 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Wow, this tour looks DELICIOUS :) We have to do this next time we’re in Rome – I just love Italian food!

    • Erica December 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      Italian food is so different than what I thought it was. Don’t get me wrong – we ate A LOT of pizza but I’m glad to see the fresh produce.

  10. Maria December 3, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I see a Food Network show in your future. Not just a guest appearance but the OYL channel!!!

    Love the apron and the wood oven shot…. I’m starving now Erica – thnx :-/ *laugh*

    • Erica December 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

      You know that you are not the first person who said that I should have a food show? lol! I cook too!

  11. Tara December 3, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Oh lordy. That pizza looks stupidly delicious.

    • Erica December 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

      You have no idea! Wood burning stoves really do make all the difference.

  12. thetravelfool December 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Okay, now I am starving.

    • Erica December 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

      Sorry! It is crazy how a post can do that to you.

  13. Stephanie - The Travel Chica December 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    I know the feeling. I can never drink mediocre wine or eat steak again after living in Argentina. If I ever live in Italy, so many more things will be ruined for me :-)

    • Erica December 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

      It really ruins your taste buds doesn’t it?

  14. Stacy December 6, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    What a wonderful article and great imagery!

    Italy wasn’t my first pick for my next vacation, but now I am seriously rethinking it… food will make you do crazy things :)

    • Erica December 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

      The food is my favorite thing about Italy. If you’re into travel for culinary purposes, Italy is the place to go!

  15. Ilizna (@TheTravelLiz) December 8, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

    • Erica December 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

      Thank you! This tour rocked my face off. <3

  16. Christy December 9, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    Walks of Italy was one of our all time favorite tours. Anything that involves italian food, I’m in!

    • Erica December 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      HAHA! Aren’t they just fab? I really love how they are slowly changing the face of tours… and food!

  17. Ali December 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    You’re killing me. This looks AMAZING!! Italy is one of my favorite countries, and Italian food is one of my favorite cuisines. I NEED to do something like this next time I’m there!

    • Erica December 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

      I do love the cuisine something fierce. It just sucks that now I know what “real” Italian is!

  18. A Montrealer Abroad (@amontrealer) February 8, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Soooo many levels of YUM.

  19. Werner Wittmann February 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    I love you articles and even I’m starving, so is Danmark ‘nothing to write home about! I’m not danish&crying everday about the fake meal!:-(

  20. Michael Hodson February 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    I love their tours also! They do such a great job. (And great photos, by the way).

  21. thad anderson January 23, 2014 at 6:29 am #

    great photos! can I ask what camera/lens you used for them? thanks!

    • Erica January 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

      I use a Nikon D300S and I think I used my 50mm 1.8 for these pics. :)

  22. Bianca March 19, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    Wow, I had so much fun reading your blog!
    Inspired me to do the same this May on my first trip to Rome.
    Should be interesting with two kids under two :)
    Grazie!

    • Erica March 20, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      Romans love to head out and about with the kids so I’m sure that you guys will fit right in! Have a fabulous time in Italy!

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  1. Weekly Photo - Pizza! | Ali's Adventures - December 15, 2012

    […] out their post about their food tour in Rome here, but be warned, the food photos will make your mouth […]

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