In honor of carnevale and the famous Italian desserts that come along with it, I wanted to dedicate my post this week to one of my favorite bakeries in Rome, Pasticceria Valentini. Due to its location near my house, amazing hot chocolate, coffee and artisanal pastries, I go here a lot. Like, every weekend. This place has everything you could want out of a bakery and more.
Dolci di Carnevale in Rome
A quick note about Carnevale in Rome and how Italians celebrate Mardi Gras. Here, carnival is when the kids dress up in costumes (similar to Halloween, which is also catching on) and throw confetti around. For the month of February, you’ll find tiny pieces of colored paper everywhere on the streets of Rome, proof that the Italian bambini love this holiday. Roman bakeries start pumping out traditional carnival desserts by the kilo, with frappe/chiacchiere and castagnole being the most famous. These are both versions of fried dough, one of them being long strips of pasta dough that are deep fried and topped with powdered sugar and the other a type of doughnut-hole that is rolled into a ball and covered with granular sugar. All the fried and sugary food, all the time.
Carnevale treats differ among the different regions of Italy, but these are traditional to Rome and what my boyfriend’s mother makes every year. I get sent home with way too many and end up eating frappe until they’re coming out of my ears.
Pasticceria Valentini: amazing pastries, hot drinks and more
Unfortunately, Carnevale has just ended on Martedì Grasso, or Fat Tuesday and there won't be any more of these desserts for another year. But Valentini has pastries available year-round that are just as delicious and that I take advantage of regularly.
While the more Italian thing to do for breakfast is grab a quick caffe/cappuccino and maybe a cornetto, Edoardo and I like to go all out on the weekend and have some hot chocolate and mini pastries like bignè, biscotti, cannoli con crema, occhi di bue and so many other options. Of course we ruin our lunch this way but it’s so worth it.
A more normal approach would be to have a light breakfast and come here after lunch for a mid afternoon tea time. They have a great selection of teas, desserts and tea cookies to choose from.
One of the reasons we love this place is because the staff is so so friendly. Every single time we go in, we get a "Ciao!" and they end up calling us cara/caro (dear) the whole time. All of the employees are happy to help and enjoy chatting with the customers as well. The bar is always clean, filled with light and is so fun to people watch at, especially on the weekend. With a constant flow of people, kids crawling around and dogs in purses, you never get bored sitting inside.
They also offer classic aperitivo salty options, fresh juices and I believe they serve lunch/dinner as well. But every time I go in, I’m overwhelmed by the choices and end up going for my old favorites.
Whenever you make it in and whatever you decide to try from them, I guarantee it'll be worth the trip.
To reach Bar Valentini, take the metro B1 line to Conca d’Oro and plan for a 10 minute walk. It’s also close by a large park and one of my favorite antique markets in Rome.
Via Conca D'Oro, 288, 00141 Roma
+39 06 810 4851
Open every day, 7:00-21:00