Roman Holiday: Local Wine Rising

If you like Italian cuisine, you’ll l-o-v-e these industry insights fresh from the Eternal City.

Travel has made itself this month’s topic on BEAUTYCALYPSE.
Not on purpose.
Sneaky! 😉
Maybe it’s just the spirit of Spring?
We awake, we move around, we look closer at the world around us.

today let’s welcome my dear friend,
food expert,
ethical business evangelist – and
uber-traveller Alyssa Jade McDonald-Bärtl.lyss-is-trendspotting
Alyssa travels a lot by means of her job: she’s the founder of BLYSS Chocolate, a cacao brand rooted in ethical, old-school inspired farming to bring us chocolate products of the utmost molecular integrity.

You can visit Alyssa’s blog, Blyssfully Yours, for more industry insights, or discover the Chocolate Club on 
Or discuss here:  

Roman Wine: Not Built In One Day

Text & photography © Alyssa Jade McDonald-Bärtl

My relationship with Roman food usually centred around the basics, and often on the big hitters.
It wasn’t unusual for me to spend 4 days in Rome and drink every terroir of wine except the local Lazio. In some respects, the stringent focus on regional food and wine in Italy is sometimes a little inconsistent. You can’t find non-Roman versions of the traditional food items, but the local wine wasn’t often prioritised or even something to be proud of.rome-blyssMy memory of Roman food and wine was somehow always sketchy and this recent trip to suckle on the wolverine’s gastronomic teats showed me why. Finally, the wine was matching the regional pride of the food. And not only did I see it on the wine lists in restaurants, but spotted entire shops dedicated to the few km radius of what grows within a stone’s throw of Caesar’s rubble.

The choice seemed broader, within a more limited geography. And I loved it.
I think, I finally tasted Rome.
Fully.lyss-in-rome-chin-chinAt first when I realised that in the past I hadn’t connected so well local wines to the traditional food in Rome I was a little shocked.

Culturally, the pride element is famed for running deeper than the Vatican catacombs.

I saw the shift in Roman food and wine this month have probably two reasons. Please bear in mind these are just my observations, my research can be summed up on the back of a menu card, and in fact, comes from reading the backs of menu cards.

My observation is two-fold, that the Rise and Rise of regional food, from both an economic and taste sense has hit popularity in the city of columns.  Probably from necessity and austerity programs of the past combined with relative insecurity of transport, local foraging became a good reason for finding reliable survival if you’re in the gastronomy industry of change in what I see on menus in terms of words like “Grown nearby”, “grown by the owner”, “from a farmer in the region”, or the proud Lazio symbol near wines is great. Even in the little wine stores, I saw the handwritten notes for LOCAL WINE scribbled in red pen and fastened with sticky tape to shelves. Like an afterthought. Like a test. Like a… maybe this is something to promote a bit more clearly.

As our ecological footprint becomes bigger and certain people are evolving consciousness and conscience about how and where we grow our food, we have more examples in little cafes and restaurants from the Pantheon to Monti showing care and attention to not just the big ‘Tuscan’’ brothers and sisters of wine growing, but little Luca down the road who has been battling a strangling vine for the last years and finally produced a microbatch.

It is like necessity and ethics came together.
This is epic.

Roman Holiday

Thank you, Lyss, for these brilliant notes on the back of menu cards! ❤

In fact, I think we who are “evolving consciousness and conscience” about how things are produced, see this movement around us.
It’s like a silent (r)evolution, going back to the time before Industrialisation has made matters Rather Complicated.

I’m thrilled to see more of it.

Adventurers, if you’re curious to learn more about where to hang out in Rome to taste fabulous local wines, Lyss shares her favourite spots over there at LOCALSPOTTER – a global webzine dedicated to local urban trends.

And those of you who missed this one earlier: Find out why wine can be “not vegan” and what it means for allergy sufferers.
(Total must-read it if you experience headache, or if your face goes red and hot, and your nose gets blocked after just one glass of wine!)


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

16 Responses

  1. ahh this makes me want to run back to rome right now! I love everything about the culture, vibe, food and of course wine, however the best wine I’ve had to-date was in a small village in Tuscany. I seriously threw clothes out of my suitcase so I could smuggle one more bottle back into Canada with me 😉

  2. Well that was an enjoyable virtual visit. Saw an interesting description in our newspaper about the political scene in our country; said we are experiencing a “grim dualistic struggle between neo-liberalism and ecologism”. Which has some sort of relevance to this post, though I am not making that very clear. 😦

          1. You are right. Which is why I am so grateful to all the people who are doing things (in innovative and creative ways) to make life better in our city. They reduce the sense of powerlessness.

              1. No 😦 I am not sure if she is commenting on her other Sophia Stuart blog. I had a wee look there the other day but didn’t see anything new. 😦

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