Almost every ‘foodie’ that passes through Rome, will visit Antico Forno Roscioli . The family run bakery or Antico Forno Roscioli as it is known opened in Via dei Chiavari, by Marco Roscioli in 1972, and is one of the most successful bakeries in Rome. (The location was a bakery already dating back to 1824). Located in the historical centre and just around the corner from Campo dei Fiori, it really is easy to find and well worth the visit. The bakery is filled with traditional pastries and biscuits, and has also built a reputation for the long rectangular pizzas that are sold hot from the oven. Choose how much you’d like to eat and your portion is cut for you. I suggest you try a couple and then head outside to eat it standing outside. If you want to do as the Roman’s do, head to Antico Forno Roscioli for a savoury breakfast of ‘pizza con la mortazza’, warm pizza bianca (thin focaccia bread) with freshly sliced mortadella. A truly heavenly way to start any day!
From it’s humble beginnings, the Roscioli family went on to expand their business and opened a delicatessen down the street from the bakery in Via dei Giubbonari, in 1993. The deli boasts an extensive range of gourmet cheeses and cured meats, specialty gourmet food goods, wine, and champagne etc. The vast variety of gourmet foods on offer is the result of extensive research by brothers, Pierluigi and Alessandro Roscioli, who strive for perfection in everything they do. Their strong work ethic comes from their father Marco Roscioli who was very strict with Pierluigi and Alessandro while they were growing up, insisting the boys work in the bakery after school, and throughout their school holidays. It certainly paid off, and although they both probably weren’t appreciative of it at the time, the love and admiration they have for their father now they are adults is evident.
The deli doubles as a restaurant, with tables and chairs appearing in front of the glass cheese case in time for the lunch rush. I strongly recommend you book a table whether you wish to dine there for lunch or dinner to avoid being disappointed…. as they are always full!
The delicatessen was never intended to be a restaurant, instead preferring to be known as a ‘salumeria con cucina’. So a small and limited menu was created to begin with, salami and prosciutto platters were enjoyed, and the natural progression and success meant that the kitchen evolved to provide an extensive menu of traditional Roman cuisine. If you research the top ten restaurants in Rome, Roscioli will always get a mention, and when you do visit, you will see many a tourist heading there, map in hand with the same determination resembling a pilgrimage to Mecca! (May I suggest you start with a plate of burrata with semi sundried tomatoes, and follow it up with a bowl of pasta carbonara or cacio e pepe).
Another adventure has seen the Roscioli family open The Roscioli Caffè – Cafè Roscioli in January this year. The caffè is also on Via dei Giubbonari, just 20 metres from the deli, and offers breakfast, light lunches, snacks, delicious pastries and of course also includes aperitivi. The coffee is divine and is always served with a complimentary glass of citrus infused water. The caffè is not at all expensive and an espresso standing at the bar will only cost you €1.00.
I decided to write about Roscioli because they have just had their first book published. It has been published in Italian and English and is available to buy at the deli and bakery. We were fortunate to be invited to the book launch which was held in the garden of the Basilica of Sant Alessio. This is next to the Orange Garden (Giardini degli Aranci) and offers spectacular panoramic view of Rome. We were lucky to witness a magical sunset as the evening progressed. The book, Antico Forno Roscioli – Il Pane, La Cucina e Roma was written by Elisia Menduni and is filled with stunning photography by photographer Maurizio Camagna. While it has many fabulous recipes, it is so much more than a ‘cookbook’. It documents a family, their dedication, hard work, passion and love. Obviously it’s also about bread, and the heart of it all…… the kitchen.
The one thing I will take away from this special evening was the love and pride that unites the Roscioli family, and it was a privilege to witness.
The restaurant Roscioli will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the first restaurant that Alberto took me to in Rome the first time he took me out for lunch. (He was obviously trying to impress me, and obviously it worked!) It was here that I had Cacio & Pepe for the first time, thus beginning a food love affair! (The love affair with Alberto quickly followed).