I couldn’t miss a trip to the Campo De’ Fiori. Every morning, Mondays to Saturdays, Rome’s oldest market comes alive in the square. It was a little smaller than I expected and alongside the beautiful food stalls were also those selling cookware, scarves, cheap jewelry, etc. Clearly it was a mixed bag of a market. Still, I loved browsing the food stands full of both touristy pastas and jars and fresh produce for the locals.
I bought a little punnet of wild strawberries as I’d never tasted this delicacy before. They weren’t cheap but they’re hard to find in London. These little gems were so juicy and full of strawberry essence – they weren’t the sweetest strawberries I’d ever encountered but their flavour more than made up for it. Apart from these strawberries, we also left with a bagful of tiny sun dried tomatoes and some candied dried cherries. And we came back on our last morning and I walked away with a big chunk of pecorino romano too.
But that market wasn’t the only thing I wanted to see in this square; at one of the corners, there’s a fantastic bakery: Forno Campo de’ Fiori.
In the photo above, there’s the main bakery, with the ovens and bakers, through the door with the white awning and the main shop under the big Forno sign. The two are connected and bread fresh out of the oven is brought over to the shop when supplies run low, which is often. To the left of main building, there’s another shop selling sandwiches made with their gorgeous bread.
When I say bread, I really mean pizza. Pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) to be precise. Long sheets of thin pizze are brought over to the main shop and a couple men there slice off as much as you require, weigh it and wrap it up in brown paper, giving that and a bill to you to pay at the final counter. Simplicity seems to be the rule here with the pizze ranging from super simple to those with a topping or two. We started with the simple and most famous of the pizze here – their pizza rossa and pizza bianca. For a slice of each suitable for a generous snack for two, I paid about €3.
Their pizza rossa was just out of the oven (we watched as a baker dumped a long slab of it onto the counter) and we immediately ripped open the paper as soon as we were out of the shop, eager to have a taste. Wow. Wow wow wow. The thin bread was highly flavoured with olive oil and topped with a deceptively simple, fresh and sweet tomato sauce (I bet I will never be able to replicate that at home). The base was crispy while still having a good chew here and there and I could have eaten a whole slab of it there and then.
The pizza bianca was very plain in comparison though this doesn’t mean it was any less of a pizza. There’s just the base, salt and plenty of olive oil on top and without the weight of the tomato topping, it’s free to puff and bubble as it bakes. Again it had a great flavour and a good moist chew with no toughness. This slice wasn’t just out of the oven but it was still excellent at room temperature.
On our last day in Rome, I couldn’t just stop into the market without making another visit to the forno. This time, more of the pizza rossa (I fell in love the first time) and instead of the pizza bianca, we opted for the pizza with mushrooms and cheese as this was fresh from the oven on this second visit. There’s nothing wrong with these more “complex” pizze – in fact, this was downright delicious!
Apart from their pizze, there are pies, pastries and biscuits. We can vouch for their occhi di bue (bull’s eyes biscuits) – rounds of biscuity pastry filled with jam – we had a few of these as Blai love them. I did have one miss here though… a flat tile of cakey biscuit studded with pine nuts – I think it was made of chestnut flour. I wasn’t keen on its strong, almost smokey, flavour and was the only thing we failed to finished. (If you do have any further information on this pastry, I’m keen to know more!) Anyway, there was nothing wrong with it – it just wasn’t to our taste. I am, however, a big fan of their pizze!
Forno Campo De’ Fiori
Campo De’ Fiori, 22
00186 Rome, Italy