In Rome, Roscioli Deli and Restaurant is probably the most well known example of a combined salumeria or deli and restaurant/wine bar style of venue where the products for sale in the deli are also used in the restaurant.
It's packed with Italian products - wine, cheese, salumi, pantry items - but not to the exclusion of quality produce from other parts of Europe.
|Cheeses in the cabinet at Roscioli Deli and Restaurant, Rome, Italy|
Not being very familiar with Italian wines, I asked our waitress to use her discretion and she did not fail me all night. Glass after glass of different types of wines, with names I could not pronounce much less spell.
|La Burrata di Pisignano con Caviale|
The burrata in Italy is so different from what is available in Australia. It was so soft, heavenly rich and unctuous with the cream and cheese curds pairing perfectly with the soft, salty fish eggs.
|Italy vs Spain: Prosciutto and jamon|
Roscioli's idea of this world title match was to serve the Italian culatello of Zibello DOP, aged 36 months, against the Spanish Pate Negra Sanchez Romero "5 Jota", aged 42 months.
I am probably biased but I still prefer the Spanish jamon because it was just a little bit sweeter and I like the nutty taste that comes through at the end.
Together with crispy guanciale cured pork jowl and good, strong Roman pecorino, this simple dish of spaghetti with lashings of cheese was simply sublime. Best in Rome? Some say so.
|La Matriciana o Amatriciana|
Despite a misconception that fresh pasta is best, I believe that the Romans have the right idea with using dried rigatoni pasta when making this classic dish. I liked the chewy texture of good quality, dried pasta cooked al dente.
|Sugar cookies with chocolate dip|
|Mimolette Classica 12 Mesi|
I decided to go for a couple of cheeses as my dessert course instead of a sweet. I asked the waitress to pick her favourite hard cheese for me to try and she surprised me by choosing a lovely French Mimolette.
Aged for about 12 months this hard cheese was a lovely orange hue with a taste that reminded me of parmesan but with an added nutty flavour.
|Erborinato con Marasche e Petali di Rose|
The crust of this beautiful goat's milk blue cheese was covered with rose petals and cherries, giving it a lovely deep pink-purple hue as it ages. The scent of the rose petals lightly perfumed this mild blue cheese and made it such a pretty cheese for dessert.
Roscioli felt like all my dreams had come true in one space. Wine, cheese and salumi - all in one spot. I can think of no other way I would have liked to end my trip to Italy other than a belly full of good food and wine. But sometimes, it's not always the best policy to save the best for last.