We entered the deli in via Marmorata, in the bustling Roman neighbourhood of Testaccio, short after noon. A well-nourished crowd of locals was populating the tiny space, raising their voices to make themselves heard by the people serving behind the counter. All were waiting, more or less impatiently, to be served their daily dose of pecorino, guanciale, ricotta, and pizza bianca. We joined the crowd, famished after an early rise and a long train journey.
We had left Orbetello at the break of dawn, heading to Roma Ostiense for the second part of our Easter break; eyes still full of the sunsets and rocks and clouds and stars and green mountains and waves of Argentario, of Cala Piccola. Easter was just behind us. A good Easter, spent strolling up and down the island, tanning in the terrace, eating Marco's brilliant octopus with chickpeas, my humble artichoke salad with loads of Parmesan and oil and lemon, slice after slice of Emiko's polenta and pistachio cake, drinking crisp Inzonica from the island, looking at the sea just out of the window.
Short after dropping our bags in the little Roman apartment, nestled in a very picturesque and timeless-looking courtyard – one of the many facing the Testaccio branch of the Tiber – we headed out in search for something to eat. Testaccio is a great place to be for food, as good traditional trattorias, street food branches, delis, markets and bars aren't short in the neighbourhood. From our previous Roman trip, we vaguely remembered there was a good deli on the main road linking the river to the Pyramid. Our well-seasoned plan was to just walk until we stumbled upon it. We eventually did, and recognised it immediately for the bountiful displays of preserves, hams and whole cheeses in the window. And so, we joined the not-so-orderly queue, and started to think about what we wanted for lunch.