It’s been quite a year for Eataly in Rome. Oscar Farinetti’s rather magical emporium of food celebrated its fifth birthday on June 21st 2017 with one hell of a cake (comprising over 1000 profiteroles) plus a grand party underlining just how far the Rome flagship has come.
The same night, Eataly Rome’s debut Festa delle Rioni kicked off an increasingly regular programme of weekend events and food festivals which have given regular shoppers and Eataly aficionados an extra reason to head to this iconic store.
Conveniently located just five minutes from Testaccio, Eataly is one of our favourite resources in Rome. Here’s five fabulous reasons to visit Eataly in Rome Ostiense (if you aren’t already a fan).
1. Reasons to visit Eataly in Rome: food festivals
During the last week in November, Eataly in Rome Ostiense celebrated that icon of Italian food, the pizza, with a Festival of Pizza. Including food workshops instructing just how to knead the perfect pizza dough, to sessions with expert pizza chefs, as well as lots and lots of opportunities to snack on hundreds of different types of regional pizza, it proved an absolute must for pizza lovers. Eataly hosts a huge range of food and drink festivals over the year, from carbonara to street food to gin, so bookmark the official site as well as keeping an eye on the Testaccina blog (we’ve always got lots to say about Eataly!).
2. Reasons to visit Eataly in Rome: the raw fish restaurant
In July 2017, Eataly’s fantastic raw fish counter transformed from simply selling first rate, fresh products into fishmonger and restaurant. Now, as well as being able to take away great raw fish for your own dinner parties, you can also eat in. Expect everything from sea urchins to violet prawns, with rare seaweed, locally caught tuna, octopus, shellfish and of course several kinds of oyster stealing the show. The food is served simply, with oil, lemon juice and basic marinades. Look out too for the monthly, showcased fish auctions. Spectacular!
3. Reasons to visit Eataly in Rome: the Enoteca or wine store
In October 2017, Oscar Farinetti came to Rome for the unveiling of a brand new wine department at Eataly Rome Ostiense. Located on the second floor, this astonishing Enoteca, or wine store, stocks over 25,000 Italian wines. 1,500 of these are organic and biodynamic wines, for lovers of low-sulphite vintages. It also has an unrivalled collection of Lazio wines, from 21 vineyards, comprising more than 130 labels and more than 1,000 bottles. The price point is noteworthy, as wines start at €2.50 a litre, with more than 500 bottles staying under the €10 mark. Of course, if you’re feeling a little more flush, you may also pick up a Barolo Riserva dating back to 1961 (bring your gold card). This department has a great sparkling wine selection, as an important reminder that prosecco isn’t the only fizz you should stock. Try a superior ‘metodo classico’ bubbly and you won’t look back!
4. Reasons to visit Eataly in Rome: the wine whatsapp hotline
Deserving an entry of its own – when Eataly’s new Enoteca opened in Rome they introduced a brilliant service to take the sting out of choosing wine. Eataly has its very own dedicated whatsapp hotline, where you can text night or day for advice about which wine to pair with a dinner you are planning, or even to recommend a great wine as a gift. How cool is that? The number is +39 348 2317804 and is a completely free service. Just don’t drunk dial, please!
5. Reasons to visit Eataly in Rome: responsibly sourced produce
Eataly’s first store opened in Turin in 2007, with the goal of introducing a new way of distributing high quality agricultural products, focusing on sustainability, responsibility and sharing. While the brand is the combination of two English words: EAT and ITALY, it’s not just about Italian food, but an Italian ethos. The ‘Italian’ way of eating is celebrated in its stores the world over, from sharing easy ways to reproduce many dishes of poor origin, as well as an almost instinctive farm to table traceability (Italians ate locally produced foods long before it was fashionable). The result is surprisingly affordable. It might look like Harrods food hall, but here excellence is sold at the right price point, rewarding small holders and farmers. The fresh produce department at the Rome Ostiense store is also simply gorgeous!
Service, sensibility and sustainability are being channelled by Eataly unlike any other power in Italian food today and it’s vital to support this approach, not least to ensure that the trickle down effect to small providers continues, but to continue to support the export of Italian excellence. Buon appetito!