A friend of ours is taking a trip to Italy and asked us for restaurant recommendations, so we started reminiscing about different trips and meals. The first time we went to Rome, Italy, it was a cultural event. We visited the Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain... the list is lengthy! We ate everything in sight: sandwiches from the Antica Salumeria Ansuini; Granita di Caffè from Tazza d'Oro; pizza bianca from Il Forno, and, gelato from Giolitti. The most memorable meal of that first trip was an evening spent at Ristorante Piperno in the Jewish Ghetto. We were seated at a table outside where the sun was setting and a light breeze was blowing. We ordered far too much food because we wanted to try everything! It was the first time we had stuffed squash blossoms and fried artichokes which now regularly appear on our dinner table.
The homemade pasta dishes were perfectly prepared with seasonal ingredients. After dinner, the boys excused themselves to chase the restaurant's cats.* Dom and I had researched Italian cuisine before the trip and had read about an after-dinner wine called "Vin Santo"** that is served with a dried fruit tart or biscotti. So we asked the waiter who spoke little English to bring us a glass. When it arrived at the table, we asked the waiter what type of wine it was, and he looked at us and said, "Vin Santo." So, we asked again in the best Italian we could muster what type of wine it was and he said again very slowly and more loudly, "V-i-n S-a-h-n T-o-e." At that point, we gave up and just enjoyed our dessert, and watching our guys explore the little surrounding "piazza." *We have found that the best restaurants in Italy always have cats!
**Vin Santo is a sweet, autumnal white wine made from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes that have been dried before making the wine.
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