Giorgia at Janiculum hill for the christmas virtual tour
It’s Christmas Eve, clouds come and go in the sky. We stay home and thanks to the request of my professional guides association I made a short video-tour to wish you all the best and to flee together open air in the beauty of Rome. It seems that this year we need especially good wishes and our imagination empowered. The task was to realize a video less than a minute describing something peculiar in Rome about Christmas.
What kind of ingredients could I use to bake my video?
Bike tours have gone well in the last years first because people are more concern about their health and second they realize than being on a bicycle, it doesn’t mean to rush and fight against the traffic if you are touring for leisure. Moreover in the same time of a walking tour you see more with less effort. Nonetheless if I’m not a fan of quantity but quality, I believe that covering more as we approach a complex city gives more an idea of the different layers and areas without getting too overwhelmed. Besides this, I choose to use my bicycle to give you the sensation of travelling through a piece of Rome. Therefore we could say the bicycle was the oven in which I cooked the ingredients giving them that special perspective that only the freedom of your body movement can give you.
The piece of Rome I choose is across the river, the Tiber. Rivers are important historically and symbolically, their flow represents time flow: what better ingredient when we are getting close to year end?
Food tours have been very fashionable in last years and I’ve done many too. Eating and especially drinking makes everything more informal and relaxed, it’s more about enjoying social life than an intellectual exercise. But even if I try my best to save all those positive aspects I claim the power of imagination and the magic of travelling through time anyway! Food is culture, it’s history, it speaks about the people and their products, about their land and their trades. So no gorging with me but enjoying, tasting, imagining…
I have the perfect dessert to connect to Christmastime and to wish us all something special: Pan Giallo. It’s a special traditional cake in Rome. Here my special recipe, inspired by Marcus Gavius Apicius that wrote a cooking manual in 1st century.
I also went to buy it in one of our traditional pastry shops, “pasticceria” in Italian, to honor the professionals. So the other ingredient introduced by my cake is sun, light. A celebrated Italian writer, Gianni Rodari, wrote: “Tell everyone what they want: the best stove is always the sun.”
As a result, I planned everything carefully to add the best ingredient: I woke at 5.30 am to arrive timewise on the highest hill in the hearth of Rome and bring you with me to see the sunrise of winter solstice, a magic moment celebrated already in antiquity. I bake all these ingredients in this video and as a witch I cast a spell over you to steal an enchanted smile.
P.s. This one-minute video is in Italian but there are English and German subtitles, if they don’t start automatically in your language just click on the first symbol from the left on the right bottom corner of the video and make your choice.
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2 Responses

  1. I was looking for roman recipes but I couldn’t finde anything. Now, I’m reading that there was a Marcus Gavius Apicius. I will search for his cooking manual. 🙂

    • It’s called De Re Coquinaria and the original version was in Latin. It’s easy to find, I have a copy in old Italian with Latin text on the opposite page. Some stuff is funny being far away from our today tradition, some stuff looks like magic potions e.g. “Nettles. Eat the female nettle when the sun is in aries, if you want to preserve your health from sudden illness.” A scholar, Jacques André, wrote a book but it’s not about single recipes, it’s more about nutrition and cooking in general in ancient Rome but it’s still very interesting. Another charming argument is the dishes prepared by the cooks for the popes in middle ages and renaissance…

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