I am going to commit blasphemy in this post. But it's something that I've got to live with. I've been scared for life. Scared so bad that it is going to take me a while to even attempt to try hot chocolate anywhere.
If you had 1 hour to spend in Italy, where will it be? Milan? Yes, it is a nice place, a beautiful Duomo with nice shopping all around. Rome? Yes, nice place too. Opera, Colosseum, Forum and loads of history. Florence? Why not? Beautiful countryside, great street side shopping. Venice? Needs no introduction. If I was to give a recommendation, it will probably be Rome. And where in Rome? Colosseum. Yes, nice place. Historical. Opera, yes, artistry. Yada yada yada. Lots of places. But if you had just one hour in Italy AND if that hour is in Rome, it needs to be spent at, yes, blasphemy, but you need to spend it at SAID.
SAID? Yes, its a small restaurant in Rome. Quiet. Not fancy. No Michellin stars. I've not been to Massimo's Osteria yet, but if I ever have to go back to Rome, it will be for this restaurant. They are apparently around since 1923, and that to me counts as history, so you're committing no sins by visiting Rome and missing out on history.
When I left India, my friend here simply said one thing - Doc, don't miss out on this. When I landed in Rome, he texted me and told me to not miss out. He wanted a hot chocolate mix from there. This well traveled friend was harping way too much about this place and so when I had a free evening, I took a trek here and bought his hot chocolate mix. Since I was there, I thought why not have a hot chocolate myself. It was cold outside and it seemed like the right thing to do.
Right thing? Hell, yeah. The hot chocolate that came was liquid gold. I mean, liquid chocolate. Thick. Dark. Not too sweet. Not bitter. I have no freaking idea why it was good, but it was.......orgasm. Not foodgasm, but the real thing. The friendly waiter saw my reaction and laughed. Next time you should try the food too, he said. Why next time? I know I don't have a reservation, but can you serve me something, I asked. Sure. If you don't mind having it in the bar, he said. I don't mind eating it out in the cold evening.
Egg Plant Salad with SAID's 72% dark chocolate. Flavour of the eggplant was distinct and so was the chocolate. It was an appetiser, mind you, not dessert. Chocolate used beautifully and so perfectly, I was trying to look for errors. Some bite too sweet? Some bite too bitter? Some bite to make me think this was dessert. Nope. Second orgasm.
You should come back in your next visit to Rome, he said. I'm coming back tomorrow, I thought to myself. And I was back. I had already had dinner, so I thought I'll just get hot chocolate. He recommended a MOKA SAID. A mocha with SAID's twist.
Oh. My. God. The presentation itself was mouth watering. A cup with three types of liquid chocolate - white, dark and milk overflowing from the edges. Inside was the mocha. Perfect mocha, I thought to myself till I finished it. And saw three types of liquid chocolate in the bottom of the cup. Despite mixing well, which I was asked to do, there was loads of chocolate to finish off. All three forms. Mocha in its truest and fanciest and gluttony-iest and richest form.
I'm coming back tomorrow, I told him. We are full tomorrow he said. You are full today too. He smiled. Come along, we'll find you a place he said. I arrived the next night. You must try our Pasta with wild boar. It is the most loved, he said.
Of course it was the most loved. Why would it not be? Al dente pasta with wild boar ragu and you guessed it, chocolate. I'm leaving tomorrow, I told him. We loved having you here. Tell your friends, he said. Ha, I thought. Tell my friends? All 3 days, weekdays, the place was almost full. They have one other branch in London, but the original is from Rome.
And so if you had one hour in Rome, you should be here. You can see the colosseum in the photos. Until you can lick the photo on your screen and taste liquid gold, I mean liquid chocolate.
SAID is Rome on Via Tirbutana. Look it up, you will find it easily. The hot chocolate was 6 euros, the egg plant 9 and the pasta 12.