The chocolate Tartufo: Romes’ greatest indulgence

On Blue Monday, I thought everyone, myself included, could do with a little escapism. So here’s a little flashback back to a foodie moment on a trip to Rome. Cheers to sunnier days.

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The deep, rich taste of the chocolate grounds me to the spot. On the outside it’s adorned with a casing of jagged chocolate fragments. The bitterness exacerbated from the coldness of it. On top it is decorated with the ornateness of Rome’s buildings,  a swirl of cream, a pirouline perched delicately on top.  The whole thing presented in a paper dress. Beneath this facade is something  even more wondrous. Denser than ice-cream, colder than a mousse, each tiny spoonful is a wonderful culmination of the 13 different varieties of chocolate that are paired together,  in a secret recipe,  to make Ristorante Tre Scalini’s famous Tartufo,  in Rome.

I’ve got to be honest, this trip to Italy’s capital city was a little bit of a food pilgrimage for me. Italy, the country where the pasta is fresher and the gelato is creamier than anywhere else and Rome itself, the city that the Tartufo was invented.

If you look for this chocolate ice-cream truffle outside of the city, you’ll be disappointed. But in Ristorante Tre Scalini, who still use the original recipe from 1946, the foundations of this Tartufo run as deep as that of the buildings that make up this ancient city.

Located in the heart of Rome’s main square, Piazza Navona, the restaurant is one indifferent to any of the other plush restaurants that frequent the rim of the piazza. However look a little closer and you see it’s not risotto that the tourists are clutching their silverware in anticipation for, it’s the tartufo. It’s famous in the city, and it’s this that the waiters are bringing over on silver trays.

The recipe, said to have been invented by the Ciampini family, is still shrouded in secrecy. There have been numerous attempts to replicate it across the country, but the undisputed winner is still the original. Like most good Italian gelato, the dessert is closer to black in colour than a brown. It’s dense enough to savour for while and get your money’s worth: the 10 euro, eat in price tag is a heavy one, but sweet enough to have you going back for more.

There’s plenty to devour in Rome;  The Colosseum, The Pantheon and Vatican City, but Sampling Tre Scalinis’ Tartufo, is what Rome is really about.

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