Rome Addresses

During my recent trip to Italy, I joined an Italian friend of mine at a trattoria for a late night supper. As we hungrily ate our overfilled plates of pasta Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe, a local specialty made with pecorino cheese and lots of spicy, freshly-ground black pepper, and pondered our day spent searching down the best coffee and chocolate in Rome.

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Chocolate in Rome, you ask? Although one doesn’t normally associate Rome with chocolate, since chocolate normally finds its way into creamy-smooth gelalo due to the warm temperatures, but friend of mine, a native of Rome who didn’t offer advice of the carnal nature, gave me directions to a chocolate shop that she swore, “Rivals anything in Paris.” So we wandered the streets of Rome, searching for the shop, until we came upon a small piazza where Confetteria Moriondo & Gariglio was tucked away in the corner.

Entering the velvet-lined shop, I smelled something delightful in the air, and saw in the small, well-lit backroom, a group of women sitting around chatting and peeling freshly-roasted chestnuts. Being naturally curious, some say a pain-in-the-butt, I wandered back there to take a look. Within minutes a large Italian fellow came lumbering towards me, and after our greetings, offered to speak with me about his chocolates.

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Attilio Procietti explained how Rome is a tough place for him to make chocolates, since anything chocolate dipped need to stand up to the heat of summer. To combat melting, he uses a harder chocolate with less cocoa butter than normal, which resist melting. In addition, he avoids soft or creamy centers high in milk fat, and indeed perhaps the best of his chocolates that I sampled were simply little dark chocolate squares embedded with crackly cocoa nibs. His shop, Moriondo & Gariglio is the oldest chocolate boutique in Rome, started in 1850 as the chocolatier to the House of Savoy, whose recipes have been handed down for generations and generations.

Attilio also gave me tastes of his molded fruit gels, similar to the French pâte de fruit, and I was impressed by the bright orange apricot-flavored ones. I was quickly becoming high on sugar, finding myself swooning, as defenseless to the charms of Rome.

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I was most curious about the candied chestnuts made from the castagni the women in the back were peeling, which are called Marrons Glacés, an Italian specialty that have because a favorite holiday treat in France as well as Italy during the holiday season. Most marrons glacés end up tasting like dry, starchy lumps of sugar, but these were moist and delicate, each one a perfect bite of woodsy, earthy chestnut preserved in a slightly-sweet sugar syrup.

I feel deeply in love with these marrons glacés, and if you go to Rome, I suggest you stop in and see what you think.

Confetteria Moriondo & Gariglio
Via del Piè di Marmo, 21-22
Tel: 06.69.90.856

Other favorite addresses in Rome:

Tazza d’Oro
Via degli Orfani, 84
My favorite espresso stop in Rome. Elbow up to the always-busy counter and be sure to try the Espresso Granita in the summer.

L’Albero del Cacao
Via Capo le Case, 21
Tiny, friendly chocolate shop with good selection of Italian chocolates from my friends at Domori, Amedei, and Slitti.

San Crispino
Via della Panetteri, 42 (near Trevi fountain)
Some of my favorite gelati in the world. Try the meringue-based flavors for a special treat.

Giolitti
Via degli Uffici di Vicario, 40
Near the Pantheon, the classic Rome gelato. A must!

Pizzarium
Via della Meloria, 43
Great stand-up pizza place a short hike from the Vatican (stop at food emporium Castroni on the Via Cola di Rienzo en route). The pizza topped with potatoes is the most popular, and with good reason.

Volpetti
(near Testaccio market)
Via Marmorata, 47
Amazing food store with everything Italian, including every conceivable salumi and cheese imaginable. Cafeteria-style restaurant just around the corner is great for lunch after visiting the market.

Biscottificio Innocenti
Via della Lucce, 21a
Really fun cookie shop, but how does one choose? Try brutti ma buoni, aka: ugly but good.

More posts on Italy:

Espresso di Roma: Sant ‘Eustachio

Italian Gelato

What is gelato?

Learning to Make Espresso at Illy

Trieste Address Book

Molto Gelato in Bologna

12 comments

  • What is the white disc dipped in chocolate in the picture with the two bowls? It intrigues me…

  • My man is in Paris right now, and I sent him to Denise Acabo’s shop yesterday. She plied him with wonderful things, and his suitcase is now bursting with caramels and chocolate! I’m so excited. Thank you, David…

  • You said waxed chests, sex and “well-lit backroom” all in one post. I’m loving it. Oh wait, the food the food, it’s about the food!

    Now I want gelato.

  • THose photos are to die for. WOW.

    When I was an undergraduate studying in France and in Spain, the American female students were so taken by the “Latin Lovers” that they would end up believing a lot of flowery, accent-laden sweet nothings and sleeping with these guys. Thus producing our infamous reputation abroad!

  • Drunken tourists, casual sex, knock-off fashions, caramels and chocolate, oh and don’t forget the gelato. Is this one of your best posts or what? I love it!

  • David,
    Did you get to sample any chocolates made with marron glace or chestnut filling? IMHO it’s one of the most successful pairings in the chocolate world. La Maison du Chocolat has amazing ones (both dark & milk) that they produce for a limited time in the fall/winter.
    Taina

  • Sounds like a sopressata Fellini flick, with gianduja!

    jeremy

  • this may explain why i was offered so much free booze when i went to italy! and i thought they were just being friendly… ;)

  • David, you brought back happy memories of my trips to Rome particularly the ones involving Giolitti & San Crispino. You missed out on a great gelateria specialising in tartufo though, located just opposite the Fountain of Four Rivers at Piazza Navona. I believe the name is Tre Scalini?

  • Have you run across or (ahem) “heard of” any erotic bakeries or chocolate/sweets shops,in either France or Italy?

  • Nobody offered me any free booze in Italy but then I’m not American. See what one misses!
    Your chocolate travel tips are worth a trip to Rome and this post is being emailed right away to friends who are there right now. Ooops that came out ‘tight now’.

  • Jennifer: You must reward him when he gets home! Hope you love those CBS caramels…please report back (on the caramels…)

    Belle: The only erotic bakery I know of in Paris is my kitchen, and it’s a little small for any ‘action’ I’m afraid.

    M: Yes, I’ve heard of a gelateria around there and I’ll try to make it there on my next trip. I hear it’s great.

    Taina: La Maison du Chocolat makes wonderful chocolates filled with chestnut mousse around the holidays. Let’s meet up for a few!

    CindyM: Sounds pretty friendly to me!

    Christine: Glad you like the post. How can I ever top it, though?

    Lesley: So happy you weren’t as gullible as those other gals…right?

    Stefanie: That’s a mint pattie, which I love. There’s a recipe in my next book, coming out in May.

    Matt & Jeff: Forget the food, dudes. I say let’s whip out the hair gel, buy some jeans a few sizes too small (with lots of buckels and zippers), find sunglasses larger than our faces, and hit the tanning salon before our trip to Rome. Sounds fun, and we’ll fit right in!