Sergio Esposito pleases discerning Roman palates with his generously filled rolls
The Romans know a good thing when they eat it, so when they beat a path to retired butcher Sergio Esposito’s stand it’s tantamount to knighting him. In 2012, Esposito took a stand (Box 15) in the new market hall in Testaccio, the city’s old slaughterhouse district. He calls it Mordi & Vai (meaning roughly: take a bite and go). Wearing a white butcher’s apron, with a blue bandanna on his head and the serenity of a maître, he serves rolls filled with classic Roman fare, prepared according to his grandmother’s recipes. The place is always packed: The first to arrive are workers, then come the students, and in between a few tourists. Everyone takes a number – Italians aren’t great at waiting in line.
Allesso di scottona e cicorietta is one of his specialties, its aromas of finely cut, slow-cooked beef, bitter chicory and rich gravy wafting from between two halves of a crispy roll; another is coratella e carciofi, fried offal – heart or lights – teamed with fresh artichokes. Fearing gentrification, the locals were wary about the new market hall development when it was proposed. Happily, their fears were unfounded; the cappuccino still only costs one euro and Esposito’s only concession to the zeitgeist is his precisely one vegetarian option. It’s clear that it’s not Testaccio that’s adapted to the market hall, but the market hall that has adapted to Testaccio.
Lufthansa is offering five daily flights from Munich (MUC) and four daily flights from Frankfurt (FRA) to Rome (FCO) in November.
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