No, seriously there is such a thing as a “Fruitteria”. When I first landed in Rome and heard “Gelateria”– a place to get Gelat0–I thought, really people? You need a special name for that? But who I am to judge? Have you seen some of the wacky things that come out of the United States?
So, not even a block from our house is a great row of stores, the Alimentari, a Barbiere, a Bar and the Fruitteria. Let me break it down, a food store, a Barber, a Coffee Bar (get your head out of the gutter) and the best Fruit and Vegetable store EVER! It all started this summer when my husband would pick up lunch at the Bar, he suggested I check out “The Fruitteria”. He took me to grab coffee at the Bar. Ok, I was afraid to go to the Fruittera, I needed to get my nerve up. I had no idea what I was doing and how to make a transaction. I figured out the major food stores, produce markets, but a “mom and pop” Fruitteria seemed like a new ballgame. It was run by a Nonna, Nonno and their adult son. You could tell they were grooming him for the business, had done this for years and — did not speak a word of English. What did this tell me? In my neighborhood, that means that they had the “hook up” and that their stuff was good. In fact, I had the 5yo at the bar getting an ice cream, while I drank espresso, and had this confirmed. The woman told me that “stuff next stuff may be expensive but very buono”–she even put her finger in her cheek and that told me everything.
I armed myself with Google Translate and I was going in.
I wish I could have filmed it. An American Idiot at her best, all sorts of gestures, bad Italian and pointing. However, I left with fruits and amazing vegetables and the best recipe for Eggplant! I made it that night and my husband loved it. From then on, Nonna’s face would light up when she would see us coming. The 5yo on his scooter and, well let’s be honest, me with my Euros. She had this down to a science. My son would stay outside with Nonno while the boy was on his scooter and Nonno read his paper. Nonna took me around her shop and showed me what was in season or passed some new ways of cooking on to me.
This last visit was showing me a new fruit that just came into season. I seriously have not idea what it is, but she gestured and told me how to slice it. I decided to buy two and to give it a try….
It looks good–right?
I started to slice it like she instructed. It looked good, fresh and very…uh..fruity. I continued my work.
I went in for a taste, then another. I would not describe it as especially sweet, but it was good. Not a fruit I would rush back to buy either. But, it is always nice to try to taste something new. Right? However, the GRAPES she gave me last time?!? Totally explains all the lying around the Romans did and had the servants drop grapes in their mouths. My God, they were heavenly.