Where to buy food and wine in Rome: Rome’s top delis and gastronomic shops
Forget designer shoes – my idea of the perfect shopping spree involves wedges of aged pecorino romano, the heady aroma of truffles, and a thick cut of glossy guanciale. But whether you’re a diehard foodie like I am, or just looking to impress your dinner guests, the Eternal City is home to a dizzying array of gourmet stores that will delight just about anyone.
Eataly is a multi-level gastronomic center in the Ostiense neighourhood where you can discover Italian cuisine in all its forms. Their philosophy centers around the Slow Food approach, raising awareness of quality produce and making it accessible to all. There are four floors where you can dive into the Italian culinary world–four floors with several eateries, rooms for cooking courses, and their very own market with fresh seasonal produce coming in from top-quality producers in Italy. Have a stroll through the market to get top-notch ingredients to cook up at home. Walk through their wine department which stocks over 25,000 Italian wines, including 1,500 organic and biodynamic wines.
Piazzale XII Ottobre, 1492 (Ostiense) – Open every day, 9am-12am – www.facebook.com/eataly
Opened over four decades ago, the Testaccio neighborhood’s Salumeria Volpetti steadfastly reigns as the king of Rome’s gourmet food scene. Black and white truffles, aged balsamic vinegar, whole legs of prosciutto, and a heart-stopping cheese collection (think baked ricotta, stravecchio parmigiano reggiano, creamy cakes of goat cheese…), extra virgin olive oil, and even international favorites like pata negra and Scottish salmon crowd the counters. Best of all, the store is known for generously doling out tasting samples to potential buyers, so you know exactly what you’re purchasing. Credit cards accepted, thank God.
Via Marmorata, 47 (Testaccio) – Open Mon 10am-3pm, Tue-Sat 10am-3pm & 5pm-9pm – volpetti.com
No need to travel to the Tuscan countryside for a taste of the region’s gastronomy – gourmet boutique Podere Vecciano brings central Italy to you. Thank the Amoruso family, the shop’s owners, who sell products made from their family’s centuries-old farm alongside a formidable selection of extra virgin olive oils, wines and spirits, artisanal beers, vinegars, truffles, jams, honeys, jellies, mustards, pasta, legumes, sauces and pates. Looking to accessorize your kitchen? Handmade ceramics (made in their own workshop), tablecloths, tea towels, knives, and wrought-iron kitchenware, and more, round out the store’s inventory.
Via dei Serpenti, 33 (Monti) – Open daily, 10am-8pm – poderevecciano.com
Originally a norcineria (a butcher specializing in pork), Ercoli (around since 1928) has since evolved handsomely into one of the Capital’s top gourmet destinations. Besides Italian favorites like cured meats, cheeses, wine, balsamics, and olive oils, the store’s claim to fame is its Re Caviale caviar collection, imported directly from Iran. Look for niche items like keta caviar, Sardinian bottarga (salted, cured fish roe), and Beluga caviar from the Caspian Sea.
Via Montello, 26 (Prati) – Viale Parioli, 184 (Parioli) – Via Zanazzo Giggi, 4 (Trastevere) – Open daily, 8am-12am (hours differ by location) – ercoli1928.com
Tartufi and Friends
The white truffle is the gastronomic equivalent of a luxury convertible: Italian tartufi are elusive, rare, and the most valuable on the market. The black truffle, meanwhile, is easier on your wallet but still opulent. Whatever your preference, Tartufi and Friends Truffle Lounge (naturally located in the chic real estate at the foot of the Spanish Steps) boasts virtually any truffle product a foodie could dream up: white or black truffle pate, truffle-infused balsamic vinegar, truffle butter, dried figs in truffle-infused honey, truffle pesto, truffle pasta, truffle liqueurs, and plenty of other delicacies starring the prized tuber line the shelves. You won’t have to hunt through the forest yourself to find just the truffles you need.
Via Borgognona, 4/e- Open daily, 12am-11pm – tartufiandfriends.it
While there are over a dozen of Castroni stores scattered throughout the city (head to their website to find the one closest to you) top honors go to their location on Via Cola di Rienzo, a short walk from St. Peter’s Basilica. Although Italian products are prominently on display, the store also has hard to find international items which would otherwise be hard to find, like Greek halloumi cheese, tea from Japan, coffee beans from Central America, and pink salt from the Himalayas. If you’re an expat hankering for backhome staples, Castroni also carries things like Skippy peanut butter, Vegemite, salsa verde…the list goes on.
Via Cola di Rienzo, 196/198 – Via Nazionale, 71 – Via Frattina, 79 and various locations in Rome – Open Mon-Sat, 8:30am-8pm; Sun, 9:30am-8pm (Hours may vary by location) – castroni.it
If you’re looking for real Roman food, the combination salumeria-restaurant Roscioli has you covered. Iconic products like oily, minty carciofi alla cafona (literally, “peasant-style artichokes”) and exciting innovations are right at home on the shelves of this establishment. They also carry their own brand of beer, coffee blends and cookbooks! And it’s not just their food that’s cultured: the location is perfect as a pit stop on your way through the city’s Centro Storico, with the Pantheon to the north, the Jewish Quarter to the east, the Tiber to the south and plenty of historic churches to the west.
Via dei Giubbonari, 21-22 (Regola) – Open daily 9am-9pm – salumeriaroscioli.com
La Tradizione is a foodie’s dream. Where else can you get cheeses from every region of Italy and all around the world, 16 kinds of prosciutto, pre-made antipasti, fresh foie gras, fresh truffles, fresh cannoli and fresh everything-else-you-can-think-of? The store makes home deliveries and shipments — you can shop from the comfort of your couch and not even move a toe. Their gift baskets are entirely personalized, so you’ll instantly become the best gift-giver ever. They even offer catering!
This family-owned salumeria which has operated since 1970 is a testament to the power of traditional, authentic, homemade food. At Paciotti, you can get big hunks of guanciale, spicy ‘nduja and the thin-but-packed-with-flavor coppiette — and that’s just from the butcher. You can also find all sorts of cheeses, selections of truffles, the best wines on the market and any other kind of gourmet grub. The business also goes a step above the others: it vacuum-seals its products, which ensures optimal freshness; it offers special packages for Christmas, making gift-giving a much easier process; it allows for contactless payments, so your information stays secure (and your hands stay clean); customers get one hour of free reserved parking; and it even has a home delivery service!
Via Marcantonio Bragadin, 51/53 – Open Mon-Sat, 8am-8:30pm – paciottisalumeria.it