Mamma Mia | Tiramisu in Rome
My mom and I hovered near a bus stop in Rome. It was our last afternoon in the eternal city, and we hoped to squeeze in one final amazing Italian lunch before leaving for the airport. My sister browsed in a nearby shop. The bus stop entertained us, a group of school kids waiting, the Italian mothers, in their three-inch heels and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses, supervising the chaos. The nuns, in their traditional black habits, were more successful with their stern looks.
A nicely dressed gentleman walking up the sidewalk caught our attention. He navigated around the kids, smiled at us, and said in Italian-accented English, “Two beautiful women out for the beautiful day! Do you have lunch plans?” Only in Rome! I think we giggled.
“Well... actually... yes, we would like lunch, but we only have about an hour,” which in Rome is about enough time to take your coat off and order.
“My name is Federico. Come to my restaurant. It’s around the corner. We will make you fresh pasta, pronto. Bring your mamma.”
How was I to refuse?! After convincing my sister, who was not so sure this was a legitimate lunch invitation, we walked to the restaurant to take a peek. There was no peeking, Federico was waiting and ushered us in. The wine was practically poured and appetizers ordered before we sat down. My sister put on the brakes. I politely told Federico we wanted to look at the menu. My sister wanted to choose her own food; I didn’t want a $200 lunch! The mozzarella and prosciutto appetizer that suddenly arrived calmed us down, won us over. Federico’s smile and hospitality, too. The most perfect dish of mozzarella sat before us, like a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with slivers of prosciutto draped around and olive oil drizzled on top. We savored every flavor of our first taste. Magnifico.
Forget about arriving on time for our flight, we relished our lunch.
Federico was the stereotypical Italian man. Flattering, bold, gracious, outright flirting with my mom. We learned he had been in the restaurant business for 30 years and before that in the Italian stone business.
Our pasta was wonderful. The meal turned out to be the best we had in Rome. Of course we could not refuse the dessert and coffee when offered. If you know my Mom, you know she loves tiramisu. All tiramisu, even the ones she found in Spain in the local Mercadona’s refrigerated section. So when Federico brought out his homemade tiramisu, Mom was completely smitten!
After dessert, I dug out my $200 and Federico offered to show Mom the Italian marble in the bathroom. Priceless. I was worried for her for about two seconds. I figured when again would she have an Italian man showering her with attention. When in Rome…