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Aug 28, 2014 09:58 AM

Porchetta in Rome

Where is the best Porchetta in Rome? I saw this on a blog:
I Porchettoni | Restaurants (Porchetta) | Porchetta sandwich € 5
Via del Pigneto, 68

Thanks beforehand.

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  1. Sid, Sid, haven't we been through this with carbonara? You take a perfectly ordinary, albeit delish, traditional food eaten by generations of locals and you start looking for the single "best" version and all of a sudden high-end expensive versions with super ingredients appear, undoubtedly excellent but no longer really what they are competing to be the best of.

    Recently a couple of hundred food scholars and foodies were fed a dinner of porchetta (at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery) made by an English chef, and the menu said something about its being just like what you find in a Roman farmers' market. It was served in sandwiches on ciabatta with salsa verde. In itself it was tasty enough, and the skin was excellent, but those of us who actually knew traditional Roman porchetta were pretty grossed out (Franco was near apoplectic), but it is entirely possible that 195 food scholars now think they have eaten porchetta, when in fact they have eaten somebody's interpretation of it with a sauce that generations of Italians have freely chosen to use on something else (bollito), never with porchetta.

    OK, forgive the digression. I have looked at the website of I Porchettoni, and they have a place also in the San Lorenzo quarter. They do seem to be dedicated to the traditional, genuine "porchetta di Ariccia", which is what we are talking about (one thing I learned from my Oxford tablemates is that the US is full of pork roasts called porchetta that do not resemble porchetta di Ariccia). But what can I say? If you want the most traditional porchetta di Ariccia, why not get on a train and go to Ariccia, in the Castelli romani? Order it from a stall on the street. Yes, I Porchettoni probably serve a very good porchetta, and they are definitely partisans of traditional porchetta culture (as opposed to green-sauce designer porchetta, saints preserve us), but you would be taking a taxi to a hipster neighborhood (I am not sure I'm using that word correctly) to eat what is essentially a picnic food. I would be more inclined to go to the San Teodoro market (picture below) for a porchetta sandwich if I couldn't make it to Ariccia, but I don't need to eat it very often ...

    To conclude: last night we ate defrosted leftovers of the best porchetta either of us had ever tasted. Earlier in the summer we had had a terrace party and ordered about 10 kg of porchetta from Ariccia. The guests, mainly young engineers (always good appetites), made themselves sandwiches with wonderful pane di Lariano and were in seventh heaven. It was a particularly wonderful specimen, not dry and not too fatty either, just right.

    11 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      Is Er Buchetto near Termini still in operation?

      The producers in Ariccia wholesale porchetta to a lot of places - We had it from a shop in Naples, for example a couple years back - very tasty though not on pane di Lariano.

      Curious, what grossed Franco out? Was it the fetishization and reinterpretation of the food or maybe use of fatty heritage pork?

      1. re: jen kalb

        It was the addition of the salsa verde.

        1. re: mbfant

          I get being married to a traditionalist.

          1. re: jen kalb

            It actually isn't nearly that simple. I don't know whether it's defense of cultural heritage or not messing with perfection, but generations of Italians have kept Roman porchetta and salsa verde apart, so who is this English chef to know better? For one thing, the sauce masked the taste of the porchetta, which is anathema to the Italian palate.

        2. re: jen kalb

          Yes, Er Buchetto is still open. But I haven't been to it in a while.

          Bonci Panificio often has porchetta from what many (myself included) consider to be the best porchetta in Italy: Bernabei. He is located south of Rome and has devised a great way to cook the porchetta, involving slow cooking in a steam oven, then high heat, that results in deeply moist and flavorful meat and crispy skin.

          Here is my post so you can see the photos:

          It's well worth the trip from Rome, or else give the Panificio Bonci a call to see if they have it.

        3. re: mbfant

          What days is the market at San Teodoro?

            1. re: mbfant

              What hours are they open on Sunday?

              1. re: hmast

                7:30 - 16:00. I actually prefer another porchetta producer in that market, massimo nesta.

          1. re: mbfant

            I just want to go on the record that I at the porchetta at the Oxford Symposium and wasn't grossed out. It wasn't traditional, but it was delicious!


          2. Panificio Bonci (not Pizzarium) often has porchetta made by Bernabei, which is (I think) one of the best I've ever had.