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Er Buchetto: just a tavernetta but the best one I know
Er Buchetto is a real find. It offers the best porchetta I ever had. Porchetta is roast pork prepared the traditional Roman way. It's not just found in Rome (don't let the name trick you) but in nearby hills and pretty much everywhere in Lazio.
Porchetta traditionally comes from the Castelli Romani, Frascati wine country, and I had some there once, while visiting friends who live in Frascati. But although this was years ago, I know what I had in Frascati was nowhere as good as the porchetta at Er Buchetto ar Viminale in Rome.
I was walking along Via Viminale on my way to the church Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri on Piazza della Repubblica.
About in front of the Teatro dell'Opera, just as the Terme di Diocleziano (Baths) appeared across the street, I saw a small shop window with a good-looking pork posing on a table inside. I wasn't hungry but the scent of a great roast and herbs was irresistible and so were the smiles from those inside.
There are only a few small tables beyond the one bearing the roasted pig. Walls are covered in testimonials, there's even a hairy pig up there. I asked Er Buchetto owner (Franco Fioravanti) how his specialty is best appreciated. He suggested a panino, with a glass of Frascati from the Castelli Romani. Panino is a small bread filled with delicious things. Mine of course was filled with porchetta.
My panino was so delicious and my Frascati so fresh, I could hardly speak! I was alone in the tavernetta, except for two Roman men, habitués obviously, who weren't having their porchetta in a panino... they simply removed the crust from their bread and piled a few pieces of meat on the soft crumb. When they finished that first order, they asked for something in romanesco. Franco filled a plate with the stuffing inside his roasted pork, and brought it to them with more bread.
Next time, I'll have my porchetta that way too!
I told Franco that it was delicious and he only raised his upturned hands and said "Bbè!" -- meaning, "what did you expect?" And he has every reason to be confident.
My panino and wine took me through the day (I walked non-stop til 9 p.m.) -- and cost me 3 Euros 50 cts.
Franco's son, Sandro, came out to help his father when a German woman came in to ask for mineral water (she'd seen the fridge in the back, and her husband seemed to be having a heat stroke.) Sandro was all smiles and could speak a bit of English so he helped with the water. The German woman doesn't know what she missed!
Favorite Dish: Since 1890, porchetta romana (roast pork) and wine from the Castelli.
A bit of history: Cioli, Ovidio and Signora, Mayor of Ariccia in the Castelli Romani; founder of the first Blessing of the Porchetta (1950). Now F.lli Cioli, Ariccia (Castelli) -- meaning the business is run by the sons and heirs.
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