Pasti Imperiali: The Culinary Legacy of Ancient Rome

I love the nickname “the Eternal City,” because modern Rome so obviously coexists with its past. The proof is undeniably there everytime you zip past the Colosseum in a taxi.

What is sometimes less obvious but still very much present are the links between what we eat and drink today and the foods of the Roman Empire.

That is why I am thrilled to be a part of the team that is documenting these imperial meals for the book Pasti Imperiali: The Culinary Legacy of Ancient Rome.

The book will feature 12 modern day producers of wine, cheese, and oil from Lazio who are using the same products and/or bringing back to life some of the ancient techniques used to make the similar foods 2,000 years ago.

The project is lead by Manuel Cirulli, who was born in Rome and was inspired to uncover these stories after moving back to Italy following several years abroad. Manuel has done an amazing job of both dreaming up this book and then making it a reality.

The gorgeous coffee table book will be filled with photos by Cristina di Paolo Antonio, a talented photographer who is capturing the people and the foods featured in Pasti Imperiali through her camera lens.

Photo: Cristina di Paolo Antonio

I am co-authoring the book, which is in both English and Italian. Each chapter will focus on telling the story of a contemporary farmer, wine-maker or olive oil producer who is balancing innovation and tradition in order to preserve culinary legacy of Rome.

We will go into farms and walk through ruins, and talk about how the landscape and history have jointly contributed to the creation of these beloved Italian foods.

Photo: Cristina di Paolo Antonio

If you are interested in the project, please take a look at the Kickstarter (in Italian and English). We were thrilled to be selected as a Kickstarter “Project We Love,” because this truly is a passion project that we want to see come to life. The book is being created in partnership with Slow Food – an organization that partially inspired me to move to Italy so many years ago.

We hope you will come along for the delicious journey!

And a huge thank you to everyone who came out to the dinner event at the Case Romane a few weeks ago. It was so lovely to meet you! I hope you enjoyed the museum setting and the recreation of Roman recipes by Gabriella Cinelli). 


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