In Italy, wherever you are, it’s all about the family. In the food industry, in fashion, in homewares, everything is family business. I walked through tons of markets in Rome, and each and every time I could figure out who was the grandma, the son and grandson, mixing herbs, checking the delivery and talking to customers. What is fascinating is the proximity between the eldest and the six-year-old. Both sticking together and helping each other out.
Campo di Fiori mercato is my favourite market in Rome. The people are there for you and proud of their produce. Mauro Berardi from Spezie Famose nel Mondo is one of them. He’s been in the herb and spice game for over 25 years. Soffritto, boscaiola, puttanesca, all these Italian classics in a bag. I went for the arrabbiata mix of dried chilies, tomatoes, thyme, parsley and pepper.
On my quest to find the perfect late lunch, I found Antica Norcineria Viola. At this salumeria Alberto greeted me like if I was Ceasar himself. He handed me a charcuterie platter of cotecchino, his porchetta di testa and coppa. That was served, complete with gestures, the whole family history behind La Norcineria Viola. Me trying to catch bits of information from his Italian slang. This joint has more than 120 years of hard work, chopped pork and good taste fuelling it. We have a lot to learn… I finally opted for the pork liver salami before Alberto took me on a tour of the mercato for the best bread and cheese presented to me by his friends. What could have been better than that?
by Xavier Girard Lachaîne