The ultimate guide to Thanksgiving in Rome
Whether you are an American trying to continue traditions while living in Italy, or an Italian looking to celebrate new festivities, Thanksgiving is the perfect day to gather with friends and family, eat comfort food, and remind ourselves of all the things in life that we are grateful for. But this year is different, how are we going to celebrate Thanksgiving during a pandemic? With Covid-19 restrictions that include being able to invite over just a few friends and with travel restrictions that won’t allow many of us to be reunited with family and friends, sounds like Thanksgiving 2020 won’t be a traditional one. Plus, having a Thanksgiving meal in Rome isn’t easy, per say, but it isn’t impossible either. Check out the survival guide below on how to celebrate Thanksgiving 2020 the best way possible this 26th of November.
Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving?
First and foremost, deciding who to invite to your Thanksgiving meal will set the tone for the rest of the preparations. For example, are you planning to invite Italian relatives? Do you get along with them? Would you prefer to host a Friendsgiving (Thanksgiving with friends only)? If you’re planning something at home, keep in mind that only 6 people per home are allowed and that social distancing is mandatory. While if you won’t be reunited with friends and family, you could always dine together virtually or even better, send some yummy traditional Thanksgiving food baskets to your loved ones.
What to Cook/Eat?
Now that you have a general idea of who is attending your feast, the next step is delegate certain meals to different people. Is grandma an expert with turkey? Does your partner have a family pie recipe? Anyone want to try something new or incorporate Italian classics into the meal? It is important to make a list of who will cook what – this way you can avoid having people show up with mashed potatoes.
Hunting for Holiday Essentials
Stores like Conad sell pastry dough and cinnamon, but certain ingredients are much more tricky to find. In Italy, it is rare – if not impossible – to walk into the average grocery store and buy pumpkin pie filling, brown sugar, cranberry sauce, or a whole turkey.
Drogheria Innocenzi in Trastevere (Via Natale del Grande, 31) sells just about anything and everything you can imagine: Bisquick mix, canned Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, brown sugar, and Libby’s pumpkin pie filling.
While fresh cranberries do not grow in Italy, sour, red ribes (currants) are a decent substitution. If you are looking to make a fresh simple cranberry (currant) sauce, boil these berries with sugar, cinnamon, and orange juice, and in about 10 minutes, you’ll have a lovely sauce.
Castroni (Via Cola di Rienzo, 196) also sells a variety of imported goods that compose the perfect Thanksgiving meal, including baking mixes, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, canned sweet potatoes, marshmallow fluff, and pumpkin filling.
Sweet potatoes (patate dolci) can be found at various bio/organic grocery stores around the city, though it is often a hit or miss situation. That being said, the Latin American stalls around Piazza Vittorio usually have them.
As for the turkey, many macellerie should be able to provide you with a turkey, but you will have to pre-order a few days ahead of time. Bio Eno on Via Labicana, 112 and the Testaccio market are some excellent options. Bear in mind that your Roman oven is probably much smaller than ovens in the United States, so be specific about the size of your turkey!
If this all sounds like way too much work for you, there are still a few alternatives! [By: Cassidy Slockett]
Restaurants, Pubs, and Clubs Celebrating Giorno del Ringraziamento
While it won’t be possible to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant, pub or club due to Covid-19 regulations (that is, unless you’re spending the night at a hotel), you could always opt for a Thanksgiving lunch or a traditional takeaway menu to savour at home with your loved ones. Here are a few restaurants that are offering Thanksgiving lunch, takeaway and delivery services in Rome this 2020.
Hotel Eden: Il Giardino Restaurant
Via Ludovisi, 49 (Centro Storico)
For an exquisite fine dining feel with panoramic views, you can enjoy your holiday feast at Il Giardino, a restaurant atop Hotel Eden Rome. For €60/person, a three course meal of traditional Thanksgiving dishes with an Italian touch will have your mouth watering. If you’re a guest at Hotel Eden, you may savour Executive Chef Fabio Ciervo’s Thanksgiving dinner menu at the rooftop terrace the restaurant. While if you’re not a guest of the hotel, takeaway and food delivery of the same menu is also available for €60 per person. Delivery is only available within the historic center, Prati, St. Peter’s and Parioli, and has a €15 delivery cost. If you prefer, you could also just order the Thanksgiving turkey, cooked in Fabio Ciervo style. The turkey costs €200 (order no later than November 23) and can be paired with an appetizer and a dessert at a cost of €35 euros per person. If you order the turkey you will also receive 8 complimentary cocktails. For each menu ordered with the takeaway or delivery service, Hotel Eden is pleased to offer their signature cocktail “La Grande Bellezza” in NIO version.
Vivi Bistrot & Le Serre by Vivi
Le Serre by VIVI, VIVI – Piazza Navona, VIVI – Villa Pamphilj
Vivi Bistrot, a popular organic restaurant with locations in Villa Pamphili, Piazza Navona and Monte Mario, is offering a Thanksgiving feast on November 26th during the day. At Le Serre by VIVI, VIVI – Piazza Navona (Palazzo Braschi) and VIVI – Villa Pamphili, you’ll have the opportunity to taste American classics with an Italian touch – organic pumpkin cream with goat cheese and homemade croutons, the traditional stuffed turkey with gravy and organic potatoes and a delicious pumpkin pie with blueberry chutney.
L’Uliveto @ Rome Cavalieri
Via Alberto Cadlolo, 101 (Monte Mario)
L’Uliveto, the restaurant of the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria, is hosting a four-course take-away Thanksgiving dinner on November 26th at €60 per person . You can view the full dinner menu here, which includes seasonal favorites like the traditional turkey stuffed with chestnuts and trimmings, roasted salmon and trimmings, steamed corn with salted butter, pumpkin pie, sweet potato purée and more. The menu pick-up is available from 6pm to 10pm. Pre-payment and menu reservation with a minimum of 24 hours are required. To place your order call 0635092145 or email ROMHI.FB@waldorfastoria.com. But the Thanksgiving celebrations won’t end here… they’ll continue on Sunday, November 29, with the thematic brunch, with a selection of traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
Via Giovanni da Empoli 37 (Ostiense)
Domenico, a chef of Calabrian origins, and Sofie, a Danish pastry chef, have created one of the most interesting and atypical realities in the Roman scene. And this year, they’ve put together a special Marigold Thanksgiving Pantry to add a little Marigold sparkle to your holiday table at home. Delivery and pick-up are both available, delivery is available on Wednesday November 25th from 5pm to 7pm while pick-up is available on Wednesday 25th from 5pm to 7pm and on Thursday 26th November between 10am and 12pm. Note that items indicated with PRE ORDER will be removed from the website at 9pm on Monday November 23rd. Don’t miss out on the spiced pumpkin brûlée tarts (great to send your friends and family too). For the wine lovers, there’s also a Thanksgiving wine bundle available.
Bakery HouseEur and Ponte Milvio locations
Bakery House is also giving thanks and celebrating Thanksgiving in their Ponte Milvio and EUR locations. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner takeaway menu at €31 per person awaits you, and of course, the unmissable turkey will be the protagonist. This year’s menu also includes pecan pie! Your Thanksgiving dinner order must be placed by November 24th at 12pm. You may place your order directly online or at the Ponte Milvio or EUR Bakery House locations. Check out the full menu on their website.
Mediterraneo @ MAXXI
Via Guido Reni, 4/A (Flaminio)
MAXXI’s cool outdoor restaurant will host its usual Saturday brunch formula on November 28th to celebrate Thanksgiving. A Dj set and some yummy traditional Thanksgiving specialties will be waiting for you from 12.30pm. The Reservation is mandatory (whatsapp at 3392832380).
Hard Rock Cafè
Via Vittorio Veneto, 62/A (Ludovisi)
As tradition, Hard Rock Cafè is going to serve a Thanksgiving feast! This year it will be served all-day long and will include a Thanksgiving Dinner (€17.95) with slow-roasted turkey breast, roasted fresh vegetables, home-style classic stuffing, creamy sweet potato mash, cranberry sauce finished with a traditional turkey gravy. A slice of classic pumpkin pie topped with caramel sauce and house-made whipped cream (€7.00). And an Espresso Martini (€13.25) with Grey Goose Vodka, Kahlúa, fresh brewed espresso shaken until frothy and chilled. Don’t forget to book your table!
Via Beniamino Franklin, 12/C (Testaccio)
For a more relaxed Thanksgiving meal, head to Foodbox, the yummy Roman street food stall at the Testaccio Market. Marco will be serving traditional Thanksgiving dishes on November 26th, from mashed potatoes and roasted turkey to pumpkin pie. Just remember to get there on time, Mercato Testaccio closes at 3pm!
Don’t get too caught up in finding the perfect foods or the perfect restaurant. Friends and family and remembering to be Thankful are the essence of the holiday. Make sure to share what you are thankful for during your Thanksgiving meal.