It’s good to be home. I do miss my family, the beaches, and the warm baguettes, of course but three months is a long time to be away.
One thing I love most about living in Italy is grocery shopping. Yes, that’s correct. When I lived in Los Angeles, I had business lunches and dinners almost every weekday (and some weekends). When I did cook, I would think about what I wanted to make and then go to the Gelson’s in my neighborhood or to Bristol Farms and buy what I needed.
I was a big fan of the Santa Monica Farmers’ market and maybe one or two Saturdays a month I would hop on The 10 and pay $30 for three green peppers. The produce was outstanding but very expensive. The market was open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
When I moved to Rome and found the Trionfale Market I couldn’t get over the quality of the ingredients (Santa Monica level) and how reasonably priced it was. One third to half of what I was paying in Campo dei Fiori’s market. I do have excellent supermarkets in my neighborhood but I buy all my produce and occasionally meat and fish at the market. My meat consumption plummeted once I move to Italy. I eat more grains and vegetables now, it’s easier here. I don’t miss the meat and when I do buy it, I know where it’s coming from. Meat is definitely more expensive here than in the States. It’s a once a week thing or maybe once every other week.
I had to completely rethink how I cook and shop for food after I moved here. One day I wanted to make a broccoli frittata. I cannot tell you why I was fixated on that dish that weekend but I wrote out my little list and off to the market I went.
I got to Trionfale and there was no broccoli to be found. It wasn’t in season. I was thrown! One vendor told me I could probably buy some at a supermarket but he warned me that it wouldn’t taste that great. Now, I have a better sense of what’s in season. I do cook “international” foods as well but even then; I try to keep it seasonal. I know my palate has changed since I’ve moved to Rome. For example, I used to eat tomatoes all the time that had no flavor. I spent my formative years in New Jersey. I know good tomatoes. My dad used to grow them in our vegetable garden yet, there I was buying tomatoes that tasted like cardboard. Never again! Even the out of season supermarket tomatoes here tastes better.
I’ve been gone a while so I was very curious to see what currently was in season. I went to the Mercato Flamino II.
Look at these beauties!
Puntarelle found only during the winter. The salad, made with garlic and anchovies, is very Roman (and very good).
This neighborhood is east of mine. It’s a bit of a walk but not as far as Trionfale. I usually go to Trionfale if I need to see my butcher. There’s a great butcher closer to me but we call them Diamonds.
These markets are open six days a week Monday – Saturday. There are two small ones very close to my house or I can go to the bigger ones in Trieste, Prati, or near Termini.
The market by Circo Massimo (open on weekends) is outstanding. That market is local. Farmers and food from this region only.
Buon weekend a tutti!