Is Primavera the Best Season for Foodies to Visit Rome?

By on April 7, 2014
Rome, Italy

By Carter Miller –

Spring has arrived, and Rome hotels are welcoming the season’s first wave of international visitors through their doors. As well as flocking to see the ancient sites and visit the Vatican, many are also there to sample the tastes of Italian spring, also known as primavera. So is the primavera the best season for foodies to book hotels in Rome? Or should tourists wait until the summer?

Wild and green
It is during spring that many of Italy’s wild green delicacies are at their tastiest, with asparagus and fennel being two of the most delicious examples. The locations of wild asparagus patches are carefully guarded secrets, but you can certainly try it in the city’s restaurants.

Asparagus risotto

Asparagus risotto image by NateBW, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

In later months wild asparagus loses its tender young texture and taste, so spring really is the only season to enjoy it. It’s most often found in risotto and pasta dishes, in which you may also taste the subtle flavour of fennel. Fennel grows widely throughout Italy during spring in feathery, strongly scented fronds.

Fava Flavor
The fava bean grows beautifully in Italy, and is tender and young in spring. The beans are thus a popular ingredient in seasonal Italian cooking, and are prepared in all sorts of ways throughout the spring months. To experience the full flavour eat the beans raw with a little salt and slices of pacorino cheese.

The beans are also a key ingredient in the Italian spring stew, vignarola, along with wild asparagus and spring onions.

Artichokes always
Spring is the season for artichokes, and they’re what everyone will be eating in the run up to and during Easter. The local harvest is brought in throughout spring, and the artichokes are cooked in all kinds of different and delicious ways. Braised, deep-fried and even raw, you’ll find variations on classic dishes in restaurants
throughout Rome.

baby zucchini

Zucchini image by Jonathan, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

The Roman zucchini
Of all the vegetables that grow in Italy at this time of year, the zucchini is one of the most abundant. As well as featuring in stews, pastas, risottos, and as a side vegetable with roast suckling lamb, zucchini’s are also used for their flowers. These large, yellow flowers are deep fried and presented as a stand-alone dish, often stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella. You may also see them as a colourful garnish on pasta and risotto dishes.

Primavera might just be the best season for foodies to visit Rome. Suckling lamb is also in season, and around Easter a number of celebrations take places with delicious seasonal cuisine at their heart. Have you visited Italy in spring? What was your favourite flavor?

 

Carter Miller is a writer based in London. He has travelled to Italy many times, and is particularly interested in Italian cuisine and culture.

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Is Primavera the Best Season for Foodies to Visit Rome?