Although we have traveled widely and often look at Trip Advisor, we've never been tempted to leave a review. The accommodations are rarely that good, or the food that disagreeable, that we should steer people one way or another. This time is different.
We are in Rome for a month. We decided to take Elizabeth Minchilli's private tour of the best places to eat and shop in the area before we settled in too far. The tour is expensive, we admit, but it was worth every cent.
First, Elizabeth herself is that great mix of knowledge and exuberance. She clearly loves food, loves cooking, and has made close relationships with all the top purveyors in the area. Every shop we entered -- and I have to say we went into places that were amazingly good -- we were greeted happily, and plates of food -- salumi, cheeses, coffee, wine, gelatto, breads and pastries -- were at the ready for us. (All covered, btw, under our original payment -- only at the final lunch where we ordered what we wanted was the tab on us.)
We surveyed all the vegetable stands at Campo dei Fiori, went for coffee at a little mom-run caffe, soon had some of the best mozzarella and burrata ever, walked by the Farnese Palace, and the went to what has to be the finest pork store in all the world. Prosciutti, capo, salami, sausages, and (the revelation) a kind of pork jerky that was sensational. All piled up on a big platter accompanied by some bread and a bottle of wine.
From there we wended our way to two great "pizza bianca" places, another cheese store (with varieties of parmesan that boggled the mind, plus wine) -- and all this just in the Campo dei Fiori neighborhood! Soon -- well not all that soon, maybe after three or four hours -- we ended in the Jewish Ghetto for lunch and (what I especially wanted) fried artichokes Jewish style. And more wine.
No, that's not all -- We also ended the ending at a gelateria where we had gelati that ranged from standards like chocolate and pistachio to rice. All lovely, though the rice was outstanding. I know, hard to believe.
Yes, the cost is high. (We were joined by two friends, who flew in from France just to do the tour with us, so that helped keep the cost down for both couples.) But it is worth every euro. We not only would do it again, we're actually thinking about our next trip to Rome just to see what else Ms Minchilli can do!
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