Saturday, 10 August 2019

Rome Olive Tour Video - Olive Tasting near Rome

Rome Olive Tour with Convivio Rome.

Come along and  join us on a Half Day Rome Olive Oil Tour

This 3 hour Rome Olive Tour includes a visit to the largest olive tree in Europe (2000 years old),  a guided tour of a local organic olive grove, plus a visit to our family home for an olive oil tasting and light lunch, sampling local Sabina produce with a glass of wine while overlooking spectacular and unspoilt views of the Rome countryside.

This tour is all about olive oil, its flavour and the art of olive oil making. During your olive oil tour we will drive you through beautiful rolling hills covered with olive groves, fruit orchards and vineyard, on our way to visit a family run olive grove, where extra virgin olive oil is still produced traditionally in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Sabina region, just north of Rome. This is a unique experience, a chance to learn about olive oil making, walk in the unspoilt Roman countryside and admire a number of well established olive trees that are certainly a few hundred years old.

To find out more contact Guido or Sally on
Look at our website : Rome Olive Tours
Convivio Rome runs Rome Olive Tours in the beautiful Rome countryside, in the Sabine Hills, almost all year round. Just inquire.

Friday, 9 August 2019

My Italian permaculture garden is wild

For all of you who have visited us for an Italian cooking class, cooking holiday or wine tour or olive tour,  you know that I have a passion for foraging and for my permaculture garden. Over the years, I have had to battle snails, slugs, porcupines, wild boar and badgers, a broken drip irrigation system, plus soil that is filled with rocks and clay.....but finally, talking to the local farmers and getting everyone's advice on how to 'conquer' and work in harmony nature.....this year my permaculture garden  is going wild! It is producing more tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini than I know what to do with.

What a great sense of satisfaction, to have my permaculture garden producing so much that I can share my produce with neighbours and friends.
We use our own produce and source our ingredients locally for our Italian cooking classes. So you could not get more local and fresh than this. As I say to our guests "my permaculture garden does not look pretty...but it sure produces the BEST tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis, plus zucchini flowers ( or whatever is in season at the time) I have ever tasted!"
We also offer a selection of local produce: including meats, pecorino cheeses, local breads, olives and salad made of our own tomatoes and cucumbers straight from our garden, during the last stop of our Rome Olive Tours and Rome Wine Tours.  Just to give you an idea that it is not just us appreciating the quality of my organic homegrown produce.....I want to tell you a story of 'J'.. I hope 'J', one of our guests on a recent Rome Olive Tour, does not mind me telling you, ....but he said that he hated tomatoes, all tomatoes......that is until he tried some of my tomatoes, fresh from our garden..... and guess what, he LOVED them so much that he said he did not want to leave Italy, and if he had to leave to return home....that he would be back to visit us! Wonderful, we look forward to his return!

For more information about our Italian Cooking Holidays, Italian Cooking Classes, Rome Olive Tours and Rome Wine Tours, please contact me on

Saturday, 20 July 2019

THE BEST OF ITALY: AMALFI COAST, CAPRI AND ROME, published in Escape travel magazine

Published in 'Escape*', an Australian wide travel magazine: 
Find out what Jane Armitstead,  an Australian freelance travel writer, wrote about her experience with Chef Guido and Convivio Rome. 
A guided tour of the medieval village of Farfa, is part of your Convivio Rome cooking day and culinary vacation

We hope Jane's article will inspire you to come along and visit us in this beautiful and unspoilt Italian countryside, just north of Rome.
Here is an extract from her article: 
"Among Italy’s most humble charms is how it’s ancient world bares such influence on the current lifestyle. This isn’t just seen through legends and landscapes but through the country’s next greatest obsession, food.
Even though the food culture is ever-changing, centuries-old recipes are still being used. There’s no better way to get to the heart of this tradition than to make it yourself.
An hour north by train from Rome is the little-known Sabine Hills, a place blissfully lost in time in the Italian countryside, dotted with medieval villages.
I’m in the family kitchen of husband and wife team, Sally and Guido, an Australian expat from Sydney and an eighth-generation Roman, who call this region home.
They’ve been letting people in on their secret hideout by hosting cooking classes for the past 16 years.
Out their kitchen window, I lose myself in the rolling mountains and the fields of endless olive groves....."
To read the full article,  called: "THE BEST OF ITALY: AMALFI COAST, CAPRI AND ROME " Just scroll down the article to find out about Jane's first visit to this area and her cooking-touring experience with us.
P.S. We welcome freelance journalists to join us and write about their Convivio Rome experience in hope that it will inspire others to join in the fun. We did not know that Jane Armitstead intended to write this article at all. This article was a wonderful surprise. Thank you, Jane.
*Escape  (as described by their website) "appears as a Sunday lift-out in News Corp newspapers across Australia and, along with our website, will help you plan your next dream holiday."

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Roman artichokes - Carciofi alla Romana.

preparing Roman artichokes with Chef Guido
Artichokes are a favourite ingredient in Roman cuisine. They are now in season and available at farmer's markets around our region. There is a specific variety of artichokes that is grown in the Roman countryside. These artichokes are so tender they can be eaten raw with salt, olive oil and lemon juice, if picked when they small.
A very traditional way to cook artichokes is 'alla Romana'. Roman style. You need a type of wild mint called mentuccia, which only grows in central Italy. It has small, light green leaves with lighter spots on them and a very strong smell and flavour. It is collected from the fields, although the best one grows out of old walls. If you can't find any mentuccia (that is if you don't live in Italy!) regular mint will do. Here is the recipe.
Carciofi alla Romana
Carciofi alla romana (Roman style artichokes)
Serves 4: 4 artichokes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh mint, fresh lemon, garlic, salt & pepper.

Chef Guido's Tip: Rub your hands with fresh lemon juice before you start to prepare your artichokes. This will prevent your hands being 'blackened' by the artichoke 'juice'.

Method: Prepare the artichokes by disposing of all the tough leaves and by peeling the bottom part and quickly rub half a lemon on them, which will prevent them from darkening. Stuff the artichokes with mint leaves, a little chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Put them upside down (stalk up) into a pot just large enough to contain them, pour a quarter of a glass of olive oil and half a glass of water on them. Cover the pot and let cook until tender (the amount of time really depends on the type of artichokes). Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Ciambelle al vino rosso - red wine biscuits

Ciambelle al vino rosso

These classic Italian biscotti or wine biscuits are a very popular snack in our family home, both in the sweet and savory version. These biscotti have a doughnut shape (ciambelle) and use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter and red wine for flavouring. You can make the savoury version, just skip sugar and add a little more salt. The ciambelle al vino are popular in Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio (Rome).

Ciambelle al vino rosso - for 18 -20 biscuits.
Ingredients: 300 g of flour, two espresso cups of extra virgin olive oil, two espresso cups of red wine, handful of chopped hazelnut, 70 g of sugar, a pinch of salt.

Method: Mix all ingredients together to obtain a smooth and soft dough. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Make small doughnuts out of it. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 180 C. Serve with sweet wine. Addictive!

To find out more about Chef Guido's cooking classes and Italian cooking holidays please contact Guido or Sallly on

If you have any questions about this recipe, please ask.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Foraging in the Rome countryside

Foraging for wild herbs and vegetables is an ancient art, here in the Sabine Hills. It's a great way to integrate the vegetables you grow in the garden. My favourite is 'rapacciola' or 'ramolaccio', which essentially is a type of wild broccoli and it's closely related to radish as well. Part of the brassica family, rapacciola is delicious just boiled, then pan-fried with olive oil, garlic and salt. The leaves, the new shoots and the buds are cooked, while the tiny root can be eaten raw, thinly sliced and with a little olive oil on top. A great alternative to cultivated broccoli varieties, the rapacciola is full of good nutrients and vitamins.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Cacio e Pepe

A true Roman cuisine classic, the Cacio e Pepe sauce recipe has been my family's favourite for generations.  During our Italian cooking classes, many of our cooking guests request for this additional easy-to-make recipe. It is very quick to prepare and uses pecorino romano cheese as a base. This cheese immediately acquires a creamy consistency as soon it's mixed with a little boiling water from the pasta pot.

Chef Guido's Tip:
A popular finishing touch is a little lemon zest on each plate, to lighten the flavour.

Cacio e pepe sauce
Ingredients: 50 g of grated pecorino romano, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest.

In a bowl: make a sauce by mixing a little water from the boiling pasta with pecorino and black pepper, quickly stirring for a few seconds. Mix in sauce with cooked ‘aldente’ pasta. Serve with a little lemon zest on top.
(Pasta shapes traditionally used: spaghetti, rigatoni, mezze maniche)

Culinary Vacations and Day Italian Cooking Classes, 
plus Olive Tours:
Half Day Rome Wine Tours: