There are two – make that three – excellent reasons to head over to Eataly‘s Rome flagship in the Ostiense district of town this week.

Eataly’s birthday cake

Firstly, Eataly marks its fifth birthday in the capital with the unveiling of an enormous birthday cake. And when I say enormous, how does a gigantic profiterole dessert with more than 1000 choux pastry balls sound? Prepared by local legends the De Bellis brothers, anyone showing up at Eataly in Ostiense at 17.30 on Wednesday 21 June will be offered a glass of spumante and a taste of this outsized birthday cake.

How to attend Eataly's birthday and the Festival della Carbonara in Rome.

Eataly’s La Cena dei Rioni

If that wasn’t enough, or rather, if a taste of that cake just whets your appetite for more, you should definitely stick around on the evening of Wednesday 21 June for a mouthwatering event: La Cena dei Rioni. You probably know that Eataly in Ostiense is located at a cross-roads between two of Rome’s most important foodie neighbourhoods – Testaccio and Garbatella, although food traditions in the city span many more districts – including Regola, Trastevere, Trevi, Prati, Celio and Monti, to name but a few.

Well, on Wednesday night, from 19.00 onwards, some of the city’s finest trattorias, pastry chefs, bakers and confectioners from the various quarters or rioni will gather to sell portions of some of their most famous recipes, spanning everything from stomach-rumbling pasta dishes to pizzas, seafood, roast pork and moreish plates of creamy tiramisu. Themed restaurants will be created to reflect each rioni and it will be worth saving some room to sample them all. More here.

How to attend Eataly's birthday and the Festival della Carbonara in Rome.

Eataly’s Festival della Carbonara

You have a day off on Thursday to eat fruit, but keep your belts loose because on Friday 23 June – Sunday 25 June the Festival della Carbonara is coming to town. Again hosted by Eataly in Ostiense, this will involve three days of Carbonara tasting, cooking shows and wonderfully distracting scents of  sharp cheese and pungent black pepper.

The Carbonara Festival will run on a token-based system, at a price of €2.50 per token, with each plate of pasta costing from 1-3 tokens, and beers and wine costing two tokens. You can conveniently buy a book of 13 tokens for €30 or a book of 22 tokens for €50 (and get the Repubblica Guide to Rome and Lazio thrown in for free).

Different offers and options will be available on the third level and in the restaurant areas for those of you who prefer to sit and savour your food. Look out too for free show cooking displays on Saturday and Sunday, plus a kids workshop on the Sunday to involve little gourmets too.

The Carbonara Festival kicks off on Friday 23 June from 19.00 onwards, Saturday from midday until 1 in the morning, and Sunday from noon until midnight. Full details here. Don’t miss it – and buon appetito!

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