Cooking In The Roman Jewish Ghetto™

Kosher-Style Cooking & Market Tour In Rome ~ 4 Day

Join Chef Essa & Food Lover Guide Umberto for Jewish cooking class – cooking Kosher – in Rome.  Started by his Jewish grandmother and feeding Kosher-Style foods of cheese, vegetable, pasta, fish and Kosher wines, this hands-on cooking Kosher Style is a one-of-a-kind experience. Meat & milk products are always kept separate in the kitchen. Not to miss are the home-baked Kosher desserts including crostata to Babka to delicious middle-eastern influenced baklava.  Discover Kosher Rome!

Your Cooking Vacations hands-on cooking class program features a landmark and food tour through the Campo Dei Fiori market filled with vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, spices and flowers each day. ‘All roads lead to Rome,’ as Italian farmers and producers bring their best to the Eternal City each day in this colorful outdoor market. Umberto explains what’s in season and how the Roman Jews cook with seasonal ingredient in cooking. Continue through the Jewish Ghetto and learn about the history and traditions of this vibrant and fascinating quarter of Rome from our professional guide who grew up here. After the tour, tie on your apron and head into the kitchen for your Kosher style or strictly Kosher cooking class!

This one-of-a-kind hands-on cooking class and food lover’s tour offers culinary history and traditions for Jewish and non-Jewish alike!  Discover Kosher Italy and Kosher Food Rome!

The Roman Jewish Ghetto

The Roman Ghetto was established by Pope Paul IV in 1555 and the area chosen for the ghetto was the most undesirable quarter of the city, due to flooding by the Tiber River.

Though life in the Roman Ghetto was one of poverty, some Jews considered the walls protection for the small Jewish community against attacks by Christian mobs and the fate of assimilation. The requirement that Jews live in the ghetto was abolished in 1882 and the ghetto walls were torn down in 1888. Those who could afford it, moved to other neighborhoods, and today only a small fraction of Rome’s Jewish community still live there.

However after World War II, the Roman Ghetto area began to thrive and is now the central gathering place for Rome’s approximately sixteen thousand Jews. Today, the neighborhood is host to a wonderful selection of kosher restaurants, shops, bakeries and Rome’s famous Synagogue.

In fact, even the Pope is a fan of the pizza ebraica, literally Jewish pizza, an almond-raisin sweet bread that he orders specifically from the ghetto pasticciere.

Cooking Classes

Head into the kitchen with Umberto & Chef Essa for a look into Roman Jewish cooking Kosher Style. The kitchen is your classroom and menus focus on traditional specialties of pasta, fish or meat, vegetables and desserts. Each cooking class includes the preparation of an antipasto, first course (pasta or risotto), second course (fish, meat, or vegetarian) and dessert.

Learn the secret behind the perfectly tender rose-shaped carciofi alla giudia, fried artichokes served traditionally at break fast for Yom Kippur, carbonara di zucchine, pasta with zucchini cream, aliciotti con l’indivia, anchovies baked with curly endive, and cassola, Ricotta cake. Or, based on the season, create pezzetti fritti, flash-fried seasonal vegetables, minestra cucinata, Nonna’s favorite soup, baccala cipolla e pomodoro, cod with tomato and onions, and sufganiot, jelly-filled doughnuts served traditionally at Hanukkah.

After each Kosher Style cooking class, enjoy lunch on the foods prepared in class with a toast of Kosher wine. Menus are Kosher-style- not mixing any milk & meat products. Menus can be tailored to accommodate food allergies and diet needs. Vegetarian menus are available too.

Rome Kosher Accommodations

While in Rome, you will be welcomed to our charming Kosher accommodations in the heart of Rome. Our hotel offers Kosher accommodations with kosher-vegetarian continental breakfast, and is located near all major public transportation: with the city bus stop at 10 seconds away where you easily hop on to reach the Colosseum, Termini Station and the famous Via Veneto & Villa Borghese.

All rooms are spacious and have private bathroom and shower, air conditioning with remote control, LCD TV, fridge (upon request), coffee table and free internet connection. The hotel is completely new, with all the modern comforts needed and a professional staff to assist for any questions.

*Kosher accommodations with kosher-vegetarian continental breakfast, common fridge and Shabbat meals are available upon request.  Please contact us for more details, based on your needs.

Itinerary ~ 4 days, 3 nights

Day 1: Arrival & Explore Rome

  • Arrival and check in, freshen up and relax.
  • Take the afternoon to stroll the neighborhood, to the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and the famous Via Condotti ending at the Spanish Steps, taking a break at the 18th century Antico Caffe Greco. Watch the sun set over the Vatican from the top of the Spanish Steps.
  • Evening free and dinner on your own. Suggestions provided.

Day 2: Market & Ghetto Tour ~ Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Meet Umberto for your early morning Market Tour to the famous Campo Dei Fiori, and see the seasonal offerings. Learn about how the fresh ingredients are used in Roman-Jewish cooking.
  • Continue your stroll to the Roman Ghetto as Umberto points out important sites and explains the history of Jewish neighborhood of Rome.
  • Then, meet Chef Essa in the kitchen for your hands-on Cooking Class 1 featuring a four-course menu from antipasti to dessert. Lunch follows on the foods prepared in class. Wine and drinks not included.
  • Afternoon free. Suggestion: Visit the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s Basilica. If you dare, climb the dome for incredible views over the Eternal City.
  • Dinner on your own. Suggestions provided.

Day 3: Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Tie on your apron and meet Chef Essa in the kitchen for your hands-on Cooking Class 2 featuring a four-course menu from antipasi to dessert. Lunch follows on the foods prepared in class. Wine and drinks not included.
  • Afternoon free: Take a stroll through Ancient Rome and visit the Colosseum and the Forum. End your evening with a visit the Trevi Fountain. Spectacular by day, Salvi’s masterpiece fountain is even more enchanting lit up at night. Throw in a coin to ensure your return to Rome!
  • Dinner on your own. Suggestions provided.

Day 4: Departure & Arrivederci!

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Departure & Arrivederci Roma – until you return!!!

*Note: This schedule may vary due to Shabbat, inclement weather, saint days or festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the program.

Program Includes:

  • 3 nights  Kosher accommodations, based on 2 guests in a double bedroom with private bathroom. Click to View!
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • 2 hands-on Kosher-style cooking classes with lunch following. Wine/beverages not included.
  • Food Market & Roman Ghetto Tour.
  • Welcome bag with Chef’s apron and recipes.
Program Prices

$1,295 per person, based on 2 guests in a double room.

For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.

*Transfers to/from Rome Airport (Fiumicino or Ciampino) to Rome Hotel available at $140 each way, based on 1-3 people.
*Transfers to/from Rome Train Station to Rome Hotel available at $85 each way, based on 1-3 people.

*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.

Check Availability

2023 Dates: This program is available throughout the year except Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening). Check in and start your program on any day of the week. Rates are subject to change based on currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included. Group transfers for any cooking tour or tours that include transfers, are for the group and are not private. Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included in the program price. If you would like to add on a private transfer or transfers, let us know and we will send you pricing.