I rarely write about Rome. She gets rather overshadowed, I’m afraid, by her flashy younger sister Venice. When in Rome, I even tend to take pictures of anything connected to Venice. Not, I’m afraid, what the romans do. It’s a shame, since I actually know Rome almost as well as I know Venice, so starting today I am going to put that right and write more about Rome. Right now.
Cacio e pepe, along with carbonara, amatriciana, and gricia, is one of the classics of Roman cuisine. As its name, which means cheese and pepper, suggests, it should also be very simple to make. However, its signature texture, often confused for cream, is often as elusive as the Holy Grail itself.
In Italian, ‘ho fatto il giro delle sette chiese’—I’ve been around the seven churches— means that you’ve been absolutely everywhere looking for something. But what are the origins of this phrase?
Today, the city of Rome has more churches than any other city in the world, about 900 to be precise. But not all churches are created equal. Some churches, the Papal Basilicas, have a special connection to the Pope, whilst others are ordinary parish churches. In Medieval times, seven of these churches, including the four Papal Basilicas, where considered so important that a special pilgrims’ route was created, ‘la via delle sette chiese’, in which people would visit all seven of the churches in one day.
‘Truth has a thousand faces, and every face a thousand truths.’ (Anonymous)
Have you ever wondered where the word ‘palace’ comes from? Ultimately, it derives from the Latin palatium which was another name for the mons palatinus (Palatine Hill) one of Rome’s legendary seven hills.
Crystal King’s new novel, is a renaissance romp, set in the world of the Vatican’s ‘secret chefs’.
The revelation that renaissance popes had ‘secret chefs’ is enough to conjure up the kind of fare that we have been fed through a diet of books and shows about the Borgias, and have gobbled up with glee. What kind of meals would he provide at a time when pontiffs poisoned their opponents and conducted no end of affairs behind closed doors? A novel about one of these closet cooks would have to be a best-seller, right?