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Jun 6, 2011 07:09 AM

Food Souvenirs - Meat - Rome

I've been enjoying reading all of the great advice on foodstuffs to bring back from Rome.

I'll be traveling to Rome this month, and I would love some advice on the best place to buy packaged/cured meats and particular kinds to bring back with us. In particular, I would welcome advice on the best prosciutti and salumi and if there are any canned terrines or pates that are worth looking out for.

5BEdited to add] By the way, I realize this is a very broad request. My wife and I love French charcuterie, and are not very familiar with anything beyond the basics of this cuisine in Italy. So we'd love advice that would guide us toward products that may not be available in outside of Italy or that are particularly special. :)

I've seen that Volpetti and Roscioli seem to have a great selection of these kinds of items. Is this correct, or are there other stores I should look out for?

I assume that there vacuum packing would allow us to keep any cured meats unrefrigerated for 24-48 hours. Do these shops have minimum weight requirements?

Many thanks for responding to my first chowhound post!

Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

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  1. I think you are taking a significant risk of making an investment and having it confiscated.

    ssuming you are returning to the US, there are only a handful of pork products that ate importable legally from itialy. I dont believe these approvals are generic, for example some prosciutto di parma, mortadella, etc is importable but not all (only some companies may have made the investment to meet the the US standards - as similarly some of the spanish companies - others not.

    Im not going to get into the idea of sneaking it through. You ought to do some research with the Dept of Ag etc. and find out what is importable. In NYC at least, where I live, there is a lot of fine salumi and imported prosciutto available, and ive stopped being tempted. Yes, the customs inspector let us bring in our left over piece of guanciale one year - but other times they confiscated. Its really the luch of the draw and I would not spend the $ if I was uncertain.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Thank you, Jen. I appreciate the advice. We are returning to North Africa where we are not subject to the same kind of restrictions as back home in the U.S. So thankfully, this won't be an issue. And likewise, since the population here generally avoids pork, we don't have any real commercial access to Italian meat, so now is the opportunity to load up!

      1. re: LaMarsaExpat

        thats wonderful! I think Volpetti would be a great source. Fiocchiona is a very good salami, if you like fennel flavor. I would keep the meat as cool as possible - in a refrigerator, air conditioned place or in your packed luggage (should be cool in airline baggage compartment) I am not sure thogh that you are better off with vacuum packing - meat does spoil in that. When you consider that items like italian hard salamis are made in a very warm climate and are often displayed and stored unwrapped at room temp, they should be able certainly to survive for a couple of days without refrigeration. The hams, too, are cured in a warm environment. I remember buying a virginia ham and leaving it, unrefrigerated in my basement for more than a year. But once they are cut its a different story. So Id say, if you are buying something dry and uncut, you neednt have vacuum packing and can have wrapped and carry at room temp. If you buy cut goods or softer items with more water, like mortadella, it should be vacuum packed and kept as cool as possible.. YOu can also buy pieces of guanciale in the markets - keep these cool since they are higher fat and might get melty.

        Im sure others can give better suggestions of other types and placed to buy in rome.

        1. re: jen kalb

          Most of our food "souvenir" shopping on our recent trip to Rome was accomplished at Volpetti; a thoroughly enjoyable experience. We arrived at the store around 12:00 on a Saturday, not the optimal time. Nonetheless, Signore Volpetti took the time to offer us tastes and friendly advice. Maybe someone will suggest the optimal time for a visit, in which case you may well get a taste of virtually everything in the store. They will vacuum pack and/or bubble wrap everything.

          At the end of an exhausting day, I poked my head into Roscioli for just long enough to buy a few packages of fancy pasta. Whatever they offer is surely of high quality. Maybe someone can offer thoughts as to whether the attention and packaging assistance is equivalent to Volpetti.

          Finally, I note there are a number of "norcinerias", specializing in pork, that are often cited with favor. Norcineria Viola is at the Campo di Fiori, a short stroll from Roscioli. La Tradizione is at the Cipro metro stop in Prati (close to the wonderful Pizzarium). You might google them to get an idea of what's on offer. Better yet, some further commenter may offer views on their products, service, etc.

          Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

          Via della Meloria, 43, Rome, Lazio 00136, IT

    2. Many thanks for recommendations. Really looking forward to volpetti. I'll try to write a trip report on my experience.