Rome’s Dining Trend Highlights Products of Lazio

Written by Katie Parla on June 5, 2010

The countryside in the Provincia di Viterbo.

The food and wine of Lazio have long been overshadowed by those of other regions. For decades, while other regional governments and producers teamed up to promote local products Lazio lagged behind. Recently, it has begun to catch up.

In March, the first Cesanese del Piglio wine to bear the DOCG label was released. Olive oil from Sabina was awarded DOP status the same month. Accolades at international wine and oil conferences like Vinitaly and SOL in April only added fuel to the region’s growning agricultural prestige.

These recent honors are the product of years of work by Lazio’s regional government to identify and promote quality producers. The city’s restaurants, both state and privately owned, have become crucial vehicles for bringing high quality niche products to Roman consumers. Places like Palatium (Via Frattina 94; 39-06-6920-2132), Enoteca Provincia Romana (Largo del Foro Traiano 82/84; 39-06-6766-2424), Mia Market (Via Panisperna 225; 39-06-4782-4611), and Urbana 47 (Via Urbana 47, 39-06-7488-4006) serve foods made with ingredients from Lazio and they also sell those ingredients on site.

The Roma Farmer’s Market at the ex-Mattatoio in Testaccio.

For an even more extensive shopping experiences, there is the Citta’ dell’Altra Economia (Largo Dino Frisullo; 39-06-5730-0419), a 3500 square meter organic market complete with a café, conference center, and exhibition spaces. Opened in part of the ex-Mattatoio in Testaccio, the retire slaughterhouse corrals host farmers markets some weekends. On the opposite side of the ex-Mattatoio at Largo G.B. Marzi, the Roma Farmer’s Market is open every weekend.

Upriver, the Mercato di Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo (Via San Teodoro, 74; 39-06-4899-3204; is held Saturday and Sunday until June 27. Producers sell produce, “Colossella” buffalo mozzarella from southern Lazio, Slow Food recognized Onano lentils from Viterbo, Corallina Romana, Colline Pontine DOP olive oil, honeys, and seasonal produce.

Abbacchio romano IGP “scottadito”.

Here are some products from Lazio to look out for in the city’s restaurants, wine bars, and markets:

Abbacchio romano IGP: lambs of specified breeds raised and slaughtered in Lazio at 28-40 days old.

Beer: Birra del Borgo, ‘na biretta, Atlas Coelestis.

Castagna di Vallerano DOP: The “Castanea Sativa Miller” chestnut cultivated in the Provincia di Viterbo and harvested between September 20 and November 10.

Legumes: Lenticchie di Onano, farro del solco dritto, fagiolo del Purgatorio, lenticchie di Ventotene, cicerchie.

Mozzarella di bufala campana DOP: Mozzarella obtained from pasteurized buffalo’s milk. The area of production includes Lazio, Campania and Puglia.

Nocciola Romana DOP: Several varieties of hazelnuts cultivated in selected comuni in the Provincia di Roma and the Provincia di Viterbo.

Olive oil: Lazio has four DOP status olive oils–Canino, Colline Pontine, Tuscia, and Sabina.

A blonde Atlas Coelestis at Mia Market.

Pane casareccio di Genzano IGP: Round pagnotte or long filoni loaves made from selected flours, natural yeasts, salt, and water and baked in the comune di Genzano.

Pecorino romano DOP: a hard sheep’s milk cheese made in Lazio, Sardgena, and the Provincia di Grosseto (southern Tuscany).

Porchetta di Ariccia IGP: A roasted pork made in the comune di Ariccia from deboned Landrace, Large White, Pietrain sows.

Produce (seasonal): carciofo romanesco DOP, sedano bianco (white celery) di Sperlonga IGP, Kiwi Latina IGP, patata di Leonessa, olive Itrana, olive di Gaeta, zucchine romanesche.

Ricotta romana DOP: A fresh white cheese obtained from the whey of whole sheep’s milk.

Salumi: cacio fiore, corallina romana, lonzino, susianella, prosciutto di Bassiano, salsiccia di Monte San Biagio, spinata romana, coppa di testa, mortadella viterbese, caciotta di bufala di Amaseno.

Wine: Woah. This needs a dedicated post. Stay tuned.

For more, read my NYT article on Roman restaurants highlighting Lazio’s bounty here.

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