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12.19.2014

Shopping in Rome {Biola}

Shopping in Rome

Shopping in Rome

A few years ago before we moved from Balduina to Monti, before we were even friends, my now good pal Elizabeth organized an event for the Friends of the American Academy in Italy. There was a screening of the film Food Inc. and after the film there was a panel discussion with three farmers who spoke about small holder farming practices in Italy and how to shop in markets in Rome to make sure you were getting locally produced food. I had recently arrived from many years of living in Africa. I was bewitched by Rome's shiny supermarkets and the orderly, anonymous, fixed price shopping I could accomplish in one easy stop. That one afternoon of film, conversation and food changed everything about how I shopped for and fed my family. I no longer went to the supermarket and instead overcame my language fears and forged a fast friendship with the neighborhood butcher and trekked down the hill to the Trionfale market in search of vegetables that were grown in nearby Maccarese. One of the farmers at that American Academy event was Giuseppe Brandizzi, a third generation cattle farmer who sells what might be the best steak in Lazio. 

We are a family of carnivores. I have flirted with vegetarianism, but for the past 18 years I have been steadfastly on team meat. But I have a husband whose life's work is sustainable food policy, so ours is a household where food systems and farm practices are regular mealtime conversations. I want to support people who care about the food they produce and sell. The roving Biola truck eases all kind meat eating/sustainability guilt. I have met Giuseppe and listened as he passionately explained his passion for his land and his animals and the food they produce. At least once a month I walk over to FAO and stock up on steaks so tender we hardly need a knife, ground beef and tangy yoghurt. There are also fresh cheeses and raw milk for sale. 

And you have to admit it's kind of hilarious to buy your dinner from a battered truck parked at the gas station in the shadow of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. 

The Biola truck has scheduled stops throughout Rome Monday through Saturday. 

Shopping in Rome

Shopping in Rome

Shopping in Rome


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