I Pizzicaroli: Cacio Fiore, Umbria’s Gift to Rome

You could easily pass by I Pizzicaroli without giving it a second look. But that would be a mistake. As you stroll through the streets of Piazza Navona, this small cafe tucked away in the center of Rome is waiting for you. With its small but satisfying menu of delectable cuisine from Umbria and Abruzzo, it’s definitely worth a stop – or two or three!

Location:  Via della Fossa, 9, Rome

Menu: Most of the menu items consist of a variety of meat and cheese boards with tasty selections from the Umbria and Abruzzo regions in central Italy. Meats include the savory roast pork, ham, salami, [amazon_textlink asin=’B005UOJED0′ text=’mortadella’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’theyums-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’345a98b3-9190-11e7-a77d-836df9ec3164′], and liver sausage. Cheeses include plain and spicy ricotta, soft cheese, and the mysterious Cacio Fiore.  Accompanying the meats and cheese are delicious pieces of toasted bread flavored with pumpkin or truffle sauce, fruits and honey. They also serve a nice looking Caprese salad made with fresh red tomatoes and mozzarella.

Price range: Meat and cheese platters are priced at about 12 to 15 Euro per person.

Thoughts:  Take the time to stop in and see what owner Stefano has created in this unique Rome eatery. Customers are welcomed with a warm and friendly smile into a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. The limited menu includes top quality meats and cheeses, fresh breads, spreads, and excellent wine and beer at reasonable prices. The delicious meat and cheese platters are a welcome change from the pizza, pasta and other dishes you find at most Italian restaurants.

In addition to the delicious food and the warm and friendly service, one thing I love about I Pizzicaroli is the location. With Piazza Navona on everybody’s list of places to see when in Rome, it is about a five-minute walk away. Leave the piazza through the opening on the southwest side, walk directly west on Via di Pasquino, and veer right at Via del Governo Vecchio. Turn right (north) on Via di Parione until you hit Via della Fossa, turn left, and you’re there.

This path also passes by numerous fun and stores, bars, and gelato shops. So not only is the meal at I Pizzicaroli excellent, but the journey to and from the café is also a worthwhile activity. While it is so close to many things, the eatery itself is on a quiet street away from the activity of nearby areas. It’s off the tourist path, meaning better food and value.

We enjoyed an outstanding meat and cheese platter which included delicious mortadella, spicy salami, donkey balls, sausage with liver, toast with a truffle sauce, roasted pork, ham, pumpkin toast, fresh ricotta, soft cheese, and Cacio Fiore (flower cheese), all beautifully displayed on a large wooden platter.

I loved the variety of tastes and textures. The flavors, savory and sweet, crunchy and tender, mild and hot, along with the excellent wine, played off each other for a symphony for the senses. The sight, the smell, the touch and the taste of the choices on the board made for an hour of blissful dining. I can still taste the savory roasted pork, followed by the heavenly crunch of the pumpkin toast with a dab of delicious ricotta.

Ask Stefano or one of the staff about the Cacio Fiore, the very ancient cheese with a fascinating story. One of the preferred cheeses in Umbria and Abruzzo, there are only a few places that still make this little-known delight. In fact, Stefano has written a very interesting story about the history of flower cheese at the restaurant’s website that gives you a deeper appreciation of the Cacio Fiore.

Some small farms and farms in the Campo Tosto area in Abruzzo have continued what is considered a treasured tradition of central Italy. In making the Cacio Fiore, the cheese is processed with vegetable rennet instead of the more commonly used animal rennet. Farmers use the rennet made from wild thistle flowers that spontaneously grow in the Abruzzo pastures to create the rich, flavorful treat.

When in Rome, seek out this great hideaway near Piazza Navona. With each bite of savory roast pork and the deep, rich flower cheese, your wine and your time keep getting better and better.

Remember that this is a small restaurant with 24 seats inside and 5 outside in a very warm and traditional setting. The menu consists of the highest quality meats and cheese boards – don’t expect to order pizza or lasagna or seafood. You can definitely get the perfect snack or meal at this great hideaway in the center of Rome.

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Disclosure: The author was hosted for lunch by I Pizzicaroli. This post contains affiliate links. Clicking through for additional information or to make a purchase may result in a small commission being paid, at no additional expense to you. By doing so, you help support this site and its authors, and we thank you.

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