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Aromaticus Trastevere, vegetarian intelligence

Luca De Marco and Francesca Lombardi's restaurant, one of the top 10 novelties according to TheFork, enjoys the vision of chef Nicolò Cini. And there's a surprise baccalà too

Nicolò Cini, chef of an intriguing place called A

Nicolò Cini, chef of an intriguing place called Aromaticus in Trastevere, in Rome. This is one of the 10 restaurants awarded at The Fork restaurants awards 2021 in Milan. Peronsally, I would complete the mantra of the restaurant like this: «Make sure food is your cure and your soul» ❤️ SOUL

TheFork restaurants awards 2021: 80 mentor chefs nominated 64 restaurants opened in the past year and a half, awarding 10 places on Monday 15th November at Triennale di Milano. Among them, Aromaticus from Rome, Trastevere to be precise, the second of two. The first opened in the Monti neighbourhood, in Via Urbana 134, in 2011, tel. +39.06.4881355, a shop with many facets, including natural cuisine but also urban gardening and aromatic plants. It's as if they tested themselves before opening this vegetarian restaurant in July 2019, owned by Luca De Marco and Francesca Lombardi, with chef Nicolò Cini, previously working with Cristina Bowerman at Glass Hostaria. The latter supported them at the TheFork award.

A souvenir photo of the 2021 edition of TheFork restaurants awards at Triennale di Milano on the 15th of November. Left to right: Luca De Marco, Francesca Lombardi, Cristina Bowerman and Nicolò Cini

A souvenir photo of the 2021 edition of TheFork restaurants awards at Triennale di Milano on the 15th of November. Left to right: Luca De MarcoFrancesca LombardiCristina Bowerman and Nicolò Cini

At lunchtime, on Thursday 18th November, on top of the recipes, I was impressed by the intelligence of a menu that is halfway between vegetarian and vegan, but not so extreme and indeed you can have an exemplary fried baccalà. How can it be included? There's no meat, and almost no fish, but just a few recipes for those who are approaching the vegetal world but haven't yet fully embraced it. In the end, it's like when you go to a seafood restaurant, don't really love it so they will bring you a meat fillet. And vice versa. And why shouldn't it be so, why not have a way out even when vegetables dominate?

Nicolò Cini says: «In this inexorable quest for the future, sometimes going back is the only way to move forward, and in our research, the more we look ahead, the more we find ourselves in the past. Going back to respecting food, which is now lost in the chase for e(in)volution, we rediscover ancient fermentation, transformation, preservation and cooking techniques, in a symbiotic vision between ourselves and the earth we walk on: this is good for the environment, for us, and vice versa. With Luca and Francesca we try not to forget the great responsibility the restaurant industry has at this time».

Nicolò Cini and Cristina Bowerman

Nicolò Cini and Cristina Bowerman

Pause, then the chef continues: «In terms of facts, we serve around 3,000 meals per month, 36,000 per year, and influencing the impact that all these people have on the planet is a strong motivation for us. In cultural terms: we have the opportunity to influence the creation of new forms of flavour, of shaping future palates so they are more aware.

«In our journey we try to train ourselves and others without creating strict dogmas that will keep us further from the truth (and the final goal), we put our reality in our dishes, our open attitude, which is made of respect (for techniques, cultures, dietary choices), love (for the planet, for clients and for ourselves), serenity and sharing through inclusiveness and overcoming food dogmas, through acceptance and awareness.

We all do what we can and reach what we can through awareness; and these little actions are already more than we can imagine. Of course, all this while never forgetting the satisfaction of our five senses, which are like open windows: eating healthy, eating sustainable is not a punishment».

Aromaticus: Sandwich with kimchi, figs and cashew nut cheese

Aromaticus: Sandwich with kimchi, figs and cashew nut cheese

And in the dishes? First a sandwich with kimchi, figs and cashew nut cheese: «The art of waiting, Kimchi complexity and evolution of flavours through fermentation, ageing times; Figs time patience; Cashew nut cheese, tradition and evolution; Fermentation as a preserving technique».

Aromaticus: Carrot and ginger soup

Aromaticus: Carrot and ginger soup

Carrot and ginger: «The power of simplicity, naturalness, aesthetics».

Insalata aromatica: «The flavour of nature. Giving new value and interpretation to an often-mistreated dish. The power of wild and aromatic herbs. Vinegar and the rediscovery of ancient techniques».

Insalata Aromatica: seeds, sprouts, leaves, flowers, fruits

Insalata Aromatica: seeds, sprouts, leaves, flowers, fruits

Polenta from Masa and falafel: «Respect and cultural coherence».

Baccalà in tempura: «Fish that can be preserved, hence is resilient to waste. A bridge, an exercise of democracy, a value not to trivialise, especially now. Awareness in reducing the damage. Breaking the food barriers. Traditional techniques from around the world».

Aromaticus: Baccalà in tempura

Aromaticus: Baccalà in tempura

Ramen with mushrooms and peanut butter: «Chemical study of the noodles mixed with alkalinised water. Egg ageing, and preservation. The importance of fermentation in the building of taste, and transforming, making edible and giving nutritional value to food, making use of its entropic energy. The rediscovery of ancient techniques as a foundation for the future».

Aromaticus: Miso ramen with mushrooms, egg and peanut butter

Aromaticus: Miso ramen with mushrooms, egg and peanut butter

Chia pudding: «Natural, Simple, and Healthy. A vision of food as a cure, for body and spirit».

Useful InfoAromaticus Trastevere is in Rome, in Via Natale Del Grande 6/7, tel. +39.06.88798381; closed on Monday, open every day from the morning to midnight. Average prices for dinner: starters 11 euros; first courses 13; main courses 18; desserts 6.

Affari di Gola di Paolo Marchi

A mouth watering page, published every Sunday in Il Giornale from November 1999 to the autumn of 2010. Stories and personalities that continue to live in this website


Paolo Marchi

born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose.

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