By Brian Hart Hoffman
Pizza for breakfast? Sure, it’s a factor. Once I visited Roma (Rome) to provide this subject, I used to be amazed by the variety of folks lined up for a slice of pizza to start out their day. Pizza was solely a part of the rationale I needed to go on the last word Roman breakfast quest. When the Rome episode of Stanley Tucci: Trying to find Italy aired, I discovered about maritozzo and knew I needed to uncover it for myself. I turned to writer Katie Parla as a trusted supply of meals in Rome and requested her to indicate me round her dwelling metropolis. These of you who know me know I don’t rise up early for a lot, however the bakeries we visited made the early alarm value it.
First up was a visit to Panifi cio Bonci within the Prati neighborhood for its famed pizza bianca. Gabriele Bonci, proprietor and grasp baker, is one in all Italy’s most essential baking figures, and he’s basically re-engineered Roman pizza, from the grain up. At first sight, you would possibly assume this flatbread is focaccia, but it surely’s not. I discovered that pizza bianca isn’t enriched and doesn’t have a second rise. You may get pleasure from it by itself as an unimaginable piece of bread or have it break up and full of mortadella earlier than getting a beneficiant douse of olive oil. Bonci has loads of different candy and savory objects that may tempt you, together with its supplì, the Roman model of arancini, a tacky fried rice ball, and, after all, maritozzo. However that should wait.
With pizza on my thoughts, we continued to Antico Forno Roscioli close to the Campo de’ Fiori, the place I queued with Romans headed to highschool and work for a savory slice of pizza rossa. Whereas this bustling bakery was based in 1972, the constructing itself was established as a bakery in 1824. At the moment, it’s a scorching spot for this conventional breakfast pizza, amongst different issues. An additional-virgin olive oil-enriched tomato sauce tops the uncooked dough of the rossa earlier than being baked. There’s no cheese. No toppings. Simply sauce and the crispiest crust I’ve ever eaten.
Extraordinarily completely happy from my two pizza adventures, I took within the unimaginable historical past round me as we walked previous the Foro Romano (Roman Discussion board) and Colosseo (Colosseum). By the point I reached Pasticceria Regoli, I used to be virtually giddy interested by tasting my first maritozzo. However earlier than I let you know about that have, let me let you know about Regoli, which has been a household enterprise for greater than 100 years. The Regolis initially hailed from Tuscany, the place they had been charcoal makers. At the moment, the bakery instances are filled with pleasant objects, from cannoli to a few of the most lovely muffins I noticed in Italy. They actually have a espresso store subsequent door, the place I instantly noticed the pass-through window the place pastries are delivered to friends standing on the counter for espresso. My sort of place!
However now, for my first style of maritozzo . . . This old-school Roman brioche-style bun is break up and loaded with whipped cream. I imply loaded. After my first chunk, I can declare it my favourite breakfast. Ever. There’s no denying a gentle bun full of cream. It was actually transformational.
Don’t fear! There was nonetheless one other breakfast pastry to attempt: the cornetto. I ended within the comparatively new Casa Manfredi, the place all of the pastries are made in-house, together with this Italian staple. The cornetto, named for its form that includes two “horns,” is constituted of Italian brioche laminated with layers of butter, which provides it a denser texture when in comparison with its French cousin, the croissant. Casa Manfredi has loads of café tables out entrance the place you’ll be able to laze about and plan your subsequent cease.
After a full morning—actually—we wanted espresso. Katie and I popped into Faro Caff è, the primary impartial specialty espresso store in Rome, the place you’ll discover extra
than espresso and cappuccino. Right here, at a cool espresso store that breaks all of the proverbial guidelines, I discovered that there’s fundamental espresso etiquette guests ought to observe.
Cappuccino shouldn’t be taken after lunch, solely espresso, and espresso needs to be taken in a single sip. Caffeinated and energized, I used to be prepared for my subsequent discovery. That’s the unimaginable factor about Rome: shock, magnificence, and historical past is round each nook.