Rome: A Pantheon of Flavor

IMG_1097IMG_1096Adjacent to the ancient Roman Pantheon (now a church consecrated to Our Lady), in the piazza sits a norceria which claims to have been in operation since the middle ages. I’ve made friends with the English-speaking shopkeepers, who are younger than the grizzled fellows who actually operate the slicers. But the young ones tell the old ones what you want, and they always take care of you.

Prosciutto di cinghiale (wild boar), in the dim of the evening light

Prosciutto di cinghiale (wild boar), in the dim of the evening light

Romans dine later than we Americans, and so around 7 pm rolls around and one feels a little peckish. What one needs in such an instance is some prosciutto di cinghale (wild boar), salami from Norcia, and a beer.

Rare and precious are the moments where one may sit in an ancient place and enjoy life in a way that it has been enjoyed for centuries. The prosciutto was incredibly silky with very little of the chewiness so common with conventional ham, bursting with the flavors of what a ruminant might find on a forest floor (nuts, acorns, chewy bits of fungus).

And, coupled with that rare and precious moment came my first opportunity to sample the product of the brewing efforts of the monks of Nursia, which is a relatively new venture in terms of monastic brewing tradition, and at present is not available on this continent. At 10% ABV, it’s in the nature of a tripel, but (judging from a bottle, not ideal) blond. Sweet, but not sticky, smooth without some of the funk you find in abbey ales. Not my favorite style, but an excellent example of the style.

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