The cornetto is the be all and end all of Italian breakfast. It is (usually) just a bready fuel. For all their concern about food, Italians seem to view the cornetto like a pill you take to get started in the morning, washed down with a caffe or cappuccino, a habit from which Italians can’t seem to escape.
Cornetti often come in sealed plastic bags. It bothers no one that they must grit their teeth and use what forces are left from the night before to attempt to rip open the industrial seal in order to remove their morning pill, either.
You can get cornetti filled with stuff. It’s better, because frankly, you seldom find a flaky, buttery, “wow, this is the way to start a morning!” cornetto any more. If you were in France, you’d be looking for a croissant, of course. And these days you’d have the same problem. The world has industries whose whole reason for being is to make the food you used to eat in the good old days a mere (and quite pleasant) memory. Subtraction of flavor is more than a cottage industry these days, it’s a corporate way of life.
So we’re in Rome. Our day has started with a drizzle. We headed toward our beloved Testaccio neighborhood, where we were joining a Rome food tour called Taste of Testaccio Food Tour from a group called Eating Italy. At the moment we met our guide, Luna, the skies opened and the rain buzzsawed down at us like it meant to rip our clothing off. Luna provided us with colorful body condoms that made photography of the group into a rather colorful and somewhat ghostly pursuit.
But back to Cornetti. You take them for granted. They don’t break your teeth. Then you go to Luna’s secret place. Here we are:
You see two things on that tray. One of them is a gaggle of the best cornetti you’ll ever eat—trust me on this—unless you make them yourself and you are a pastry chef not afraid to use something tastefully fatty in your pastry.
Behind them is a little tiramisu in chocolate cups. That was cute and the women loved them.
But the cornetti were the triumph. Or maybe it’s a guy thing.
If you’re in Rome, head to Testaccio to eat. It’s been where Roman food starts for thousands of years. After all, the neighborhood is named after a Roman amphora dump (think wine and olive oil coming in from everywhere). If you want to eat and walk for four hours like we did, take a Eating Italy Food Tour.
Otherwise, just come to the Pasticerria Barberini for a cornetto and coffee. The address is Via Marmorata 41. Via Marmorata is a big street. The famous Volpetti food emporium is just a few steps away. Knock yourself out, foodie-wise.
The Pasticceria Barberini has been around for a long time, probably about as long as some of those industrial cornetti have spent in their plastic bags.
Perish that evil thought, chow down on the best.
Eating Italy Food Tours and More
See Martha’s Review: Eating Italy Food Tours in Rome
Unfamiliar with Testaccio? Here are our Favorite Places to Eat in Testaccio
Where is it? See our Rome Neighborhoods Map and Guide