By the time I cross Via Marmorata, I know that I am nearly home.
Turning up Via Alessandro Volta, head down and aiming towards the piazza I nearly tripped over the pavement when I saw what had happened to Volpetti Piu.
“Huuhhhhwhaaaaaaaat?” I managed, cartoon-style. “What. What is this?”
Inside, the old tavola calda, was gone. It was replaced with a sleek wooden counter, new tiled floors and bistrot tables.
I know that many will mourn the loss of the tavola calda – a place to stop in for pre-prepared foods to be eaten quickly and simply as lunch or dinner.
However, Volpetti Più was dead to me the day they microwaved the squid I ordered from their daily offerings. I will not miss it.
So I was intrigued to see what the new Taverna Volpetti had to offer.
Volpetti has been a Testaccio mainstay for the last four decades. The specialty shop is piled with prosciutto, salami and cheeses, as well as hard-to-find gourmet ingredients from all over Italy.
Stepping into Volpetti, which the family sold last year, can feel a bit like entering foodie Disneyland. Hams spin from racks above you while you are insistently told to “sample this!” “try this!”
I would not begrudge a family shop any of its hard earned success as long at the quality remains unimpeachable. With that quality in mind, I was looking forward to trying Taverna Volpetti.
Just into a month after opening, Taverna Volpetti has no menu. They do, however, serve lunch and dinner, and will just need to have those printed at some point. (Plans for breakfast and a new butcher are in the works).
I was less interested in a sit down meal and more intrigued to see if Testaccio would finally have a decent wine bar. So, Jimmy and I met two friends for drinks and un piccolo assaggio. A small taste.
The plate was beautiful.
Saffron cheese, wild boar salami, perfect prosciutto – this was what I wanted from Taverna Volpetti. It was a lovely selection of products sold in the Volpetti gourmet market around the corner.
Just to be complicated, we each ordered a different glass of wine, but the service was friendly and easy.
Of course, this is still Volpetti, so do not expect your gorgeous meats and cheeses at a steep discount. We spent about €55 for 4 glasses of wine and the plate you see above.
Via Alessandro Volta 8
Rome, Italy (Testaccio)
Open: Monday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, and 5:30 pm to 11 pm.