2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

When in Rome, eat full‑sized balls of mozzarella like apples

When in Rome, eat full‑sized balls of mozzarella like apples

Mozzarella in Rome

Listening to my feet slap against the cobblestoned streets of a cold Roman winter morning, I had one thought running a continuous loop through my brain: Where will I eat breakfast?

This was my first day in Rome, and my last stop on a tour through the country. I was fulfilling what had become a tradition over years of traveling: to explore each new place by taking a run through its streets. It is the best way I have found to unwrap a body wound tight from long days of travel, appease a mind eager to explore, and not waste a second of precious exploring time.

While all of this is true, if I’m being totally honest, I mostly run through a new city to find the next meal. In this case, my first breakfast in Rome.

There is no shortage of delicious food in Rome. In fact, I planned to spend the longest amount of time of just about anywhere else I had been in the country simply to have many meals as possible there. Planning for what to eat in Rome took on an obsessive roll, my search history littered with remnants of Google-imaged dishes ranging from the modest to the obscenely decadent.

Soon my short, 2-mile excursion dragged itself into a roughly 5-mile one. I followed scents and sounds to a bustling little square, immediately recognizable as the famous Campo De Fiori market.

Vendors have stood in this space serving fresh fruits and vegetables to locals for over 150 years. These days tourism has made its mark, and the stalls are strung with t-shirts of Italian flags and Ciao Bella written in script fonts across them. But it has managed to retain a few of the traditional food choices, and has welcomed some tasty newcomers to the scene. One of the latter is Obica, which is known for one thing: beautiful, fresh, hand pulled, melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella. It claims to be the world’s first mozzarella bar, and I knew as soon as I laid eyes on it that this was the breakfast for which I had been searching.

For most, fresh mozzarella has nothing to do with breakfast, and is usually accompanied by something else, say, a salad or bread. But when in Rome for a mere eight days, I felt no obligation to abide by convention. I bought two full-sized balls of the Handmade Bufala Classica, one labeled “delicate,” the other, “intense.”

I eagerly brought the dripping paper bag outside into the square, and proceeded to eat it like an apple, chomping into the sides and allowing the cloudy water it was just soaking in to dribble down my chin. While I likely looked a bit off, sweating profusely after a long run through Rome, grinning madly, with cheese water soaking the neckline of my shirt, I hardly noticed if passersby were watching or not. I was immersed in the moment, feeling the happiness of my extremely high expectations for Roman food being met with each bite.

Piazzo Campo De’Fiori 16
00186 Rome

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