The name of this legendary food shop in the Testaccio neighborhood of Rome is Volpetti, but I’ve taken to calling it “my happy place.”
The Volpetti brothers set up shop here in 1973, offering a pan-Italian variety of products, as well as goods from their own kitchens. It’s beautiful.
I visited the 23rd of December, and the shop was packed with people stocking up for holiday feasts. I hovered at the counter and waited for one of the white-jacketed workers to finish up with other customers, and then we were off.
My guy started offering samples, and I will tell you that it is impossible not to by a hunk of truffled salami after you’ve tasted a slice. He knows this.
I bought that, and a softer roll made from the legendary Cinta Senese pig. The garnished goat cheeses were charming but I honed in on a two-milk Robiola.
Nearby, dried figs dripped with their own invert sugar. I was offered one, and swooned.
(Because of the figs.)
Hams hang from the ceiling, bottles of wine and olive oil and honey and mostarda line the walls, a pastry counter was piled with pannetone and jam-filled crostate. Pistachio-flecked torrone was stacked like cut stone.
Filets of salt cod rested in a cool pool. The guy manning the pizza station seemed heartbroken that I didn’t want a slab.
The window was filled with fresh pastas and par-fried fritters (including suppli, which will make you want to repent for ever having consumed the cheese sticks at a crappy pub or airport TGI Fridays [don't judge - you've been there, too]).
I served the spoils of this shopping spree to guests on New Year’s eve, forgoing the traditional Parisian feast of foie gras and oysters.
“I went to an amazing shop in Testaccio,” I started explaining to a friend.
“Volpetti. You went to Volpetti,” she said, her eyes getting misty.
Maybe we live in the wrong country.
Volpetti via Marmorata 47, Testaccio, Rome +39 06 5742352 website
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