Arancini or Suppli?

One of the popular snacks in Italy is a fried ball of rice with fillings. On our recent trip, I found out that there are 2 types of rice balls in Italy. I was introduced to the Italian rice ball arancini on my first trip to Italy, and assumed that it’s the only kind. I learned that there is another version called suppli. Arancini originated from Sicily while suppli is from the Lazio region of Italy.

Arancini served at Salvatore di Matteo Le Gourmet, Rome IT

Sicilian arancini or Roman suppli? How can one tell the difference? One can distinguish arancini from suppli based on the shape of the rice ball. Arancini is round while suppli is oblong in shape. However, the difference doesn’t end in the shape. They also differ in the way they are prepared. To make suppli, the rice is cooked in ragu (meat based sauce), shaped into oblong shaped balls filled with mozzarella, covered in bread crumbs, and fried. The arancini on the other hand is made by slow cooking rice in either chicken or vegetable broth with saffron, then ragu is added. The rice is shaped into round balls usually filled with peas. The rice balls are then covered in bread crumbs and fried.

Suppli served at Antico Forno Roscioli in Rome IT

Which of the two do I like better? I enjoy eating both kinds. Both are delicious. They are the best finger foods to eat while exploring the streets of Rome.

Audience with the Pope, Vatican City

What an awesome experience it was to see the Pope in person! For Catholics, laying eyes on the leader of the Catholic Church is an ultimate experience. I was so excited to attend this Wednesday’s audience with the Pope and get a glimpse of him up close. It was the highlight of my day.

Pope Francis greeting attendees of the Audience with the Pope on February 12, 2020

What happens at the Audience with the Pope?

The Pope addresses the crowd in various languages, gives a themed speech, and homily. During the summer, it is held at St. Peter’s Square. In the Winter, the event is held at a smaller venue that can hold 6,300 people.

When is the Audience with the Pope?

It is scheduled every Wednesday. The Vatican’s website posts updated information on the event’s schedule. Cancellations are posted there.

Do visitors need tickets?

Yes. Tickets are free and obtained from the office of the Swiss Guards after the security screening points of the Basilica of St. Peter. A Swiss Guard is on duty by the bronze doors of the office. Visitors may get their tickets from 3pm – 7pm (6pm at Winter) the day before the audience, or on the day from 8am -10am. However, those getting the tickets on the day of the event is risking being turned away when the venue fills out.

Swiss Guard Office after the security check point

We picked up our tickets on the day of the Audience with the Pope. Normally, the activity is held at St. Peter’s Square, but because it is Winter, it’s held indoors. On our visit, it was at the building on the left of the Basilica of St. Peter. We arrived an hour and a half early, but it wasn’t early enough. The security line was very long.

Security line winding around the wall of the Vatican

After an hour in line, we got through security. It was a relief to get in the venue as there were few seats left. I would have been very disappointed if we were turned away.

From our seats at the back, we could barely see the Pope. A huge projector helped the crowd see his expressions as he addressed the attendees. It was at the end of the event that I got a closer view of the Pope. He headed towards the main exit where people were waiting. I got there in time to snap a photo. One can clearly see the Pope’s face as he greeted people. It made my day. I am happy we made the effort to go.

Maritozzo, Specifically Roman

I love it when a local suggests something I have to try in their turf. While perusing some desserts in a cafe, it was suggested that I try a Roman pastry called maritozzo.

Maritozzo at Antico Caffe Ruschena

It is a sweet bun split in the middle and filled with cream. The bun is dough based and has been enjoyed by the Romans for centuries. It is eaten for breakfast or in the very early hours of dawn.

I enjoyed my maritozzo. The bun was soft. The cream filling was sweet, but not too sweet. It was a yummy treat.

Should you find yourself in Rome, try something specifically Roman. Have a bite of maritozzo.

Panino Alla Porchetta

I had my first taste of panino alla porchetta or porchetta sandwich on a visit to the Umbrian town of Assisi in Italy back in 2017. A food stall was selling it. The porchetta looked so good that my mouth watered. One bite of the sandwich, and I became a porchetta fan. This is not really surprising as I grew up eating the Filipino version of porchetta called lechon. Lechon is one of my favorite Filipino traditional party foods.

Filipino version of porchetta called lechon. Lechon is usually a whole pig roasted over coal. This one is lechon belly.

What is porchetta? The website porchettadoc.com describes the delicious pork dish as “a savoury, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast in Italian culinary tradition. In the β€œLazio” region porchetta is roasted pork, deboned spiced with a mixture of salt, pepper, fennel, garlic and rosemary. The meat is rolled on a metallic support, and roasted. As it cooks, the skin forms a crispy crust that insulates the moisture of the meat while the spices and innards become a flavorful paste within.” Sounds yummy, right? If you’re a fan of pork meat, you’ll love it.

Porchetta at Il Barreto in Rome, Italy

Porchetta is also served in thin slices like cold cuts. My husband and I were served slices of porchetta together with salami and prosciutto on a visit to an Umbrian winery in 2018. It was very good!

Porchetta takes center stage on this plate served at SAIO Assisi, a winery in Umbria.

Back to the sandwich. So far, the porchetta sandwiches I have tried were served in between bread that are crusty on the outside, but soft on the inside like most Italian sandwiches.

Porchetta sandwich at Angrypig Birretta e Porchetta in Rome, Italy

Me? I’ll have porchetta served in any type of bread. Anytime.

Ciao da Roma!

Hello, everyone! Greetings from Rome, Italy.

View from Ponte Umberto I

It’s been awhile. As always, work kept me from blogging. I have been looking forward to getting time off to spend my and hubby’s birthday week in Rome!

Castel Sant’Angelo

We are finally here, and I am so excited to visit places we haven’t been and revisiting the places we love in Rome. The highlight of our first day is our plane landing an hour early, making it possible for us to get to Saint Peter’s Square just in time to attend the Angelus led by Pope Francis from his balcony. However, my iPhone couldn’t zoom close enough to get a close up of the Pope. My husband took a good close up with his camera, but his pictures will be downloaded after our trip.

Pope Francis leading the Angelus
Saint Peter’s Basilica

One of my sisters-in-law is with us. We brought her to Rome’s most visited places near our hotel.

Piazza Navona, ancient Rome race track
Pantheon, most preserved ancient Rome monument
Caravaggio paintings at Church of Saint Louis of the French
Museo Napoleonico, free entrance

At the end of the day, our bodies called for nourishment. We capped our day with some pizza and pasta.

Pizza Margherita, Margherita with prosciutto, and tonnarelli with seafood served at Trattoria Antica Agonale

Sunday’s temperature was comfortably cool allowing for a pleasant exploration of Rome by foot. I’m crossing my fingers for the same all throughout the week. I hope to snatch some time to share my Rome adventures with you.

Have a great week!

Ticking Off My Travel Goals, One Place at a Time