What I am about to tell you is the story of an October Sunday in which we decided to take a day trip to Olevano Romano, in the heart of the Roman countryside, in search of original flavors and new experiences.
Olevano Romano in the Roman Countryside
You can imagine it: Sunday in October, sunny, pleasant climate, with the desire for a trip to the countryside. A quick group consultation and our destination was decided. What better opportunity to go to the historic village of Olevano Romano, in the Roman Countryside, ready to satisfy our “globetrotter” cravings and, as avid tasters, get to know some local products.
We have wandered far and wide across Italy in search of the most interesting and sought after flavors, and the day trip to Olevano Romano will remain in tour memory as one of the most apt and satisfying places in many respects: for the landscape, for example, but especially for the delicious food and wine!
Day Trip in Olevano Romano
We arrived in the village at an early hour to take photographs while walking through the streets of the medieval old town and while wandering along the paths leading to landscape dotted with vineyards and olive groves, we start looking for the place which will have the task of whetting our appetites and tempting our tough tastebuds.
Often the best discoveries are those assigned to chance. And so it was. It was enough to ask a local person where to eat and our culinary destination was established.
In the Farmhouse of Olevano Romano
After a small stretch of road flanked by beautiful vineyards, we arrived at a charming farmhouse, welcoming and clean. We looked at each other and we all felt that we had come to a place where we would eat well. Curious and hungry we headed towards the entrance and a young waiter (we found out later that his name was Simone) welcomed us, he very courteous and friendly.
With a smile he invited us to a table and asked us what we wanted to eat. Certain that the young waiter would have chosen better than us, since we did not know the food and wine of the area, we relied on him: with a smile and proud look he left us with a “Leave it to me!”
Red Wine: Cesanese DOC of Olevano Romano
A few minutes later he returned to our table with water and a bottle of red wine. It’s called “Waco” … what a strange name. “This, my friends, is Cesanese di Olevano Romano DOC“. That emphasised ‘DOC’ at the end was igniting our imagination, because a DOC only means one thing: good wine!
Intrigued, we asked which winery produced that wine and why that strange name. Surprisingly we learnt that they were the producers of that wine themselves, and that the farm was also a noteworthy local winery. As for the name, we came to know that the word ‘Waco’, was the variety of grape used for this wine, as it is called in local dialect.
Here the culture of wine is so rooted in all things that even the name of the proud guardian of the farm, a very nice and affectionate mixed-breed dog, is Waco!
Simone filled our glasses with naturalness a little like we do with our friends. A loud “to your health” united us in a toast. While we toasted, we stopped to admire this wonderful nectar which presented itself with a ruby red color and a slightly delicate scent. When the glasses were no longer full, our eyes united in unparalleled satisfaction. What a taste! Slightly bitter but soft. A true delicacy for palates such as ours. We filled the second glass, and we realised that our dishes needed a solid accompaniment.
Traditional Dishes of Olevano Romano
We do not have time to finish that thought, because our waiter immediately returns to our table with four cutting boards that would have made even the most challenging food bloggers’ mouths water.
As a director presents his orchestra, Simone stopped in front of us announcing his work: “Here it is.” And he explains what he has served us: Ventricina Olevanese, Genazzano cheese, fried with seasonal vegetables, buffalo mozzarella with wine sauce reduction, savoury cakes and many other delicacies.
His smile had already reassured us: we had definitely picked the right place to eat, this was an appetiser with all the trimmings. A mix of amazing aromas emanated from the plates, like only high quality products can do.
As proper cheese lovers, we immediately tasted the cheese. The scent that rose from the plate suggested that it was a cheese originating from long-aged sheep’s milk. The consistency was that of a hard cheese, which most probably is also used as a grating cheese.
Olevano, a real gem of Rome Countryside
We bite into the beautiful corner of heaven and lose ourselves in its aroma: tasty but not too much, a real gem for those who are a ‘serial’ taster of local products like us. We were blown away by the amazing taste.
Extremely satisfied, we moved on to observe the salami. Both for the psychological factor derived from the name (ventricina which means ‘little stomach’), and for the strong smell that we perceived, we guessed that we would need another good glass of Cesanese to accompany this particular type of salami. We rest a few slices on a rustic local bread cooked in wood fire: it was a moment of glory.
A hint of citrus (we later discovered that it is flavored using orange peel) contrasts the strong spicy flavor, making it a masterpiece. Slice after slice, cut after cut, glass after glass, we realized that we had completely cleared the entire table.
After that, we have the pleasure of tasting good homemade pasta. He called them “sassetto” gnocchi, a pebbled-sized dumpling made from water and flour. A real treat. But everything was a succession of deliciousness, from the second course to the side dishes, up to the tantalising homemade dessert.
We waited a few minutes to relax after the splendid banquet. Soon after, Simone came back to us, grinning from afar. He put his hand on my shoulder and asked himself: “Are you all right?” And how could I say no!
In fact, never before had we had the honor to participate in a banquet so rich in traditional tastes and d.o.c. flavors.
Cooking Class in Olevano Romano
Chatting with Simone we learned that the farm was available to do various activities for tourists visiting the area. Cooking Classes to learn how to cook local dishes, tasting local wines accompanied by local products, you can even participate in the autumn harvest held between the end of September and the first days of October.
Already with a hint of nostalgia, we got up from the table. We left, well satiated and decidedly cheerful, from the beautiful farm with a new awareness: from that day we knew what to recommend to our friends who decide to spend, like us, a few days of relaxation in the beautiful countryside of Rome.