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Dec 3, 2007 07:39 AM

ROME - desserts & pastries

My daughter turns 16 while we are in Rome (in the days after Christmas). Since we are in a hotel & traveling, we are looking for a Roman substitute for the birthday cake & ice cream. Any recommendations on a pasticcierre (or, alternate options)? Thanks. Gail

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  1. where in the city will you be staying? Rome is rife with lovely concoctions of all types and flavors...there's certainly no need to ditch the birthday cake and ice cream, not with all the gelato and meringues and torte and crostate and tartufi around...Is she a chocolate fan? There are also several amazing chocolaterie around, especially in the Piazza Navona area. If you're looking to do something at a restaurant, I would do a specific request on this board for that; I do know that Cantina del Vecchio, again sort of to the northwest of Piazza Navona, had such an astounding dessert menu I photographed it for a friend to go back to. (Think apple and pistachio torte, something involving crumbled millefoglie cake and cream...)

    2 Replies
    1. re: chocolatstiletto

      We are staying near the Spanish Steps. Don't know yet what our plans are for that day (the 27th of December). We are open to suggestions. Restaurant w/scrumptious desserts or a pastry shop for a special outing. I guess I'd like to have both options open depending on how the day goes. Ultimately, I want it to be fun & memorable. Appreciate your thoughts & advice. Gail

      1. re: GailT

        Haha, well, in that case, why not do a complete sweets tour, starting off with something creme-filled, moving on to a chocolate shop for after lunch, gelato at some point and of course, dessert and a song...I kid. Although that might be memorable, I also can't imagine you'd be able to move much and enjoy Rome!

        One note: if you don't do dessert at a restaurant, most pasticcerie have really lovely little cakes that they'll sell to take out, and some gelato places will pack a small box to serve yourselves as well, should you want a family thing or cake on the Spanish Steps or something. Also, many panifici/pasticcerie tend to be closed on Sunday- not sure what day that is, but if you see a tempting place, check their hours ahead of time.

        Giolitti (off the Corso, over by the Camera dei Deputati, might be something to consider- it's a huge space, classic big wooden bar, plush settings, zillions of pastries and famous as well for its ice cream. It might be crowded however given the time of year, but it does offer suburb choices.
        Gusto- huge complex of various parts (restaurant, enoteca, coffee bar...) around the sadly depleted Mausoleum of Augustus. It's quite swish, and if your daughter is at all into food/fancy spots, she should love this. (Every girl on my program has demanded a coffee break here whenever we've been at the Ara Pacis!) The caffe frappe thing is delicious, it's worth a stop even if not for dessert. That being said, I have friends who report the triple chocolate mousse thing is "divine" at the regular restaurant. Actually she says "I really don't think your life is complete until you've had it," so make of that what you will! The food is, like the decor, not at all traditional- think asian-inspired, tofu, along with reinterpretations of familiar dishes.

        Salotto 42 might also be a fun stop; it's over by the Temple of Deified Hadrian in the Piazza di Pietra. Sleek, lovely cafe/restaurant space with big couches and tons of fashion magazines, photo books, etc. Owned in part by a Swedish model.

        There are a number of excellent chocolate shops in the downtown part of Rome. Moriondo and Gariglio is one of the more famous options, often described as "fairytale" like. VIa del Pie di Marmo 21, just off Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Over by the curve of the Tevere, across from Castel Sant'Angelo, is da leccarsi i baffi, at Via di panico 31. Small, but cute.

        Hmm. Is she following her parents' foodie footsteps? Does she like crazy and new, wine bars, cute and cozy...

        Aww, seriously though, have fun! I can't believe I have to leave again in a couple of weeks; being 16 in Rome is a great, great treat. Definitely try to get Villa Borghese reservations, the Apollo and Daphne by Bernini is....I could drown in the marble leaves, I really could. And the Forum, and Palazzo Massimo alle Terme- you'll have a great time :)

    2. You can try La Dolceroma at 21, v. Portico d'Ottavia. (It's in the Ghetto area, between via Arenula and via Teatro di Marcello.) He does Austrian and American cakes as well as Italian ones.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zerlina

        Maybe the purpose-made cakes or some other items are good but we were definitely underwhelmed by the bag of pastries we bought from Dulceroma. (this was 3 years ago and we tried linzertorte, carrot cake and a couple of other things) If you are not pining for home, why not get some purely italian sweets for your birthday?

        Id be interested in recommendations of what is good at Dolceroma since obviously our picks werent - would be willing to try again..