Five Questions for… Elizabeth Minchilli

Food writer, blogger and Italophile Elizabeth Minchilli has spent decades sharing Italian cuisine with the world. Indagare speaks to the successful cookbook author about the best local spots in Rome, her favorite places to travel and where she can’t wait to go next.

As a longtime Rome resident, what are some of your favorite neighborhoods to explore? I’m biased towards my own area of Monti in the center of the city. Although it’s changed a lot over the 25 years I’ve lived there, it still has the feeling of a real neighborhood, with narrow alleys and vine-covered buildings. And while some of the older shops (like butchers, shoe makers and other artisans), have left, they’ve been replaced by very fun boutiques and street food places. I am also in love with Testaccio, where the ex-slaughterhouse is located. More than any other centrally located neighborhood in Rome, it retains an authentically Roman atmosphere; the newly relocated market (corner of Via Aldo Manuzio and Via Benjamino Franklin) is fantastic and full of lovely lunch places, and the ex-slaughter house, The Mattatoio, is fun to explore (Via di Monte Testaccio, 34).

Related: Rome Dining

Do you have a favorite cafe? A favorite shop? One of my favorite places to meet up with friends is Bottega del Cafe (Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, 5). It’s located in the prettiest piazza in the Monti neighborhood and is a great place to meet for everything from a cappuccino to a Negroni. One of my favorite shops in Rome is one of the oldest: Limentani (Via del Portico d'Ottavia, 47). It’s a sprawling kitchenware store located in a basement in the Jewish Ghetto. I love wandering the dusty aisles, on the look out for things I don’t really need, but find I desperately want.

As a frequent traveler, do you have any favorite destinations to which you find yourself returning again and again? Every time I go to Sicily, I ask myself why I don’t go more often—then I day-dream about moving there. Every time I visit it’s as if I’m discovering it anew. And while the destination is definitely Italian, there is something far-removed and exotic about it that I find irresistible.

Where are you dreaming of visiting? I would love to go to Copenhagen, where I’ve never been.

Related: Indagare Picks: Rome

In all your travels, what would you consider your most transformative travel moment? I would say it was on my first trip to Europe. I was 12 years old and we had just landed in Rome. After a nap, my father took me out to get a snack. I was tired, it was hot, and everything looked new. But I clearly remember my father buying me a panino: a thick slice of warm pizza bianca stuffed with mortadella. I can remember biting into it and realizing in one mouthful of salty, porky, greasy goodness that I was someplace completely and utterly different. And obviously that first bite of Italian food had a profound, lasting experience on my life as a food writer!

To read more from Elizabeth or to purchase her books, visit her website, Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome.

Related: Top Tables Rome

Published onJanuary 18, 2017

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