When my feet first hit the ground in Italy, there are a few things that I make a bee line for. Coffee, gelato and porchetta. While just about everyone understands the need for an immediate espresso and scoop of gelato on arrival, few can relate with my desire for porchetta. This article will have you in a hurry for this Italian dish and where to find porchetta.
What is Porchetta?
Porchetta is made from a whole pig that is deboned and gutted with its head left on. The meat is then stuffed with garlic and herbs like rosemary and fennel, and roasted in its skin until crunchy, the meat is juicy and smells insane.
Once ready, porchetta is mostly commonly sliced thinly and served in crusty rolls or focaccia. With every savory bite you have the perfect combination of crisp flavorful skin, tender seasoned meat and juicy fat. I don’t know about you, but I’m drooling.
Porchetta has been selected as a prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale, which means that is has the official title of being a traditional Italian food that is held in cultural reverence and has cultural relevance. This is far more than just a BBQ pork sandwich.
While the actual recipe origin is unknown and the dish is found throughout Italy, the town of Ariccia is said to be where porchetta originated. Foodies and purists make the trip to this town not far from Rome for the real deal, and every year the Sagra della Porchetta di Ariccia draws in crowds to sample the dish from vendors stalls.
Where to Find the Best Porchetta
Porchetta can be found throughout Italy, but I will focus on my three favorite locations. In Rome, Ariccia and the white food truck.
Porchetta in Rome
I am in love with this shop and it’s incredible owner. He is a magician. I eat his porchetta every single time I visit Rome.
Via Natale del Grande, 15. Located in the vibrant Trastevere neighborhood.
Anthony Bourdain made this establishment famous when he stopped here for lunch in an episode of The Layover (which I highly recommend you watch). The porchetta here is outstanding, but getting here isn’t as easy for most tourists making it a great and still authentic place for a bite.
Via dei Marrucini, 18. East of Termini Station.
This tiny shop close to Rome’s Termini Station has been serving porchetta since 1890. If you are anywhere near the train station at any point on your travels in Rome, I highly suggest grabbing a sandwich here.
Via del Viminale, 2F. Just a few blocks from the train station.
Porchetta in Ariccia
Porchetta is best eaten in the town of it’s said birthplace at one of the informal eateries called frascette. No reservations, no seating assignments. Just good food in a simple setting, usually family style. A perfect Italian moment.
The Porchetta Van
This white van makes appearances across Italy, most often during weekly markets but occasionally on the side of the road out of no where. When you see this van, you immediately order porchetta. A great vendor will have the pig displayed in its entirety, including the head. If for some reason you notice an absence of the whole hog or pre-made sandwiches, turn and run.
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