Quality-conscious diners always have lingering questions on their heads when they head out to restaurants. Where did the ingredients of their food come from and how were they treated? Sometimes we read them in the menu, and sometimes we don't. We just put our trust on the chef in the sourcing of his ingredients and how he decides to put them together. In Rome, there is a restaurant that pioneers the farm to table concept. They produce practically all the ingredients in their farm in Calabria (that's in the southern part of the country) then their young and talented chef Fabio Trovato, who grew up in a family of restaurateurs, creates his masterpieces in the kitchen while his counterpart in the dining area, Franco Magliocchetti, a sommelier in wine and oil, makes sure that Fabio's creations are paired well with Calabrian wines.
|Top photo courtesy of Laurenzi Consulting|
The ingredients of Buff come straight from Azienda Agricola Favella in Calabria, a 420-hectare farm that has been producing all the best that nature can provide since 1932. They have vegetables, spices, rice, fruits, legumes, meat, buffalo mozzarella, cheese, pasta, bread, preserves, jams, sauces and much more. In 1970, Favella received a prestigious gold medal from the Ministry of Agriculture for its superior breeding of dairy cattle. The entire productive chain of the farm is carefully checked and certified and the animals are fed only with 100% natural forage grown for this specific use by the farm itself.
And even with its eighty-five years of farming, Favella still continues to follow the road to innovation and experimentation. A couple of their successes is the cultivation of the moringa oleifera trees and the goji berries where they found the perfect microclimates to cultivate the tropical plants in the farm. Both plants are highly celebrated for their nutritious contents. As a result, Favella is the first and only producer of fresh goji berries in Europe.
Buff was created by Nicola Rizzo, a descendant of Luigi, the founder of Favella. In an unconventional way of expanding the company, he decided to open the restaurant in the heart of Rome in July 2015 with the farm to table concept serving Mediterranean dishes while conserving some of the best characteristics of the Calabrian regional dishes, where all the ingredients come from.
The kitchen is innovative, follows the seasons and is decisively rooted to its Italian roots with a splendid creativity that explores the best of the available fresh ingredients, thanks to Buff's talented chef Fabio Trovato. Goji berries are not native to Italy but with the chef's explorations, he was able (and he still continues to generate new ones) merge an Italian icon with them in one plate with the tagliatelle with goji sauce and basil. The buffalo cheesecake with goji and pineapple is a delicate treat after an excellent meal. There's also sole where mixed salad greens, smoked salmon, goji, oranges, and powdered moringa are combined in one super healthy plate.
|Baccalà mantecato con chips di polenta su salsa di goji e menta (Creamed cod with polenta chips on goji and mint sauce)|
Buff's selection of salumi e formaggi (hams and cheeses) are produced solely by Favella and with the mixed platter, you can try them along with some fruit and vegetable preserves that go along with them. The button-sized wild artichokes are highly recommendable as well as the shoots of the caper plants preserved in oil. They are very hard to find and the good news is that you can also buy them in small jars from Buff.
|Risotto con crema di buffala, melanzane affumicate, mandorle tostate e pomodorini bruciati (Risotto with buffalo cream, smoked aubergines, toasted almonds and burnt cherry tomatoes)|
If there is one dish that you must absolutely try, it has to be the risotto with cream of buffalo, smoked aubergines, toasted almonds and burned cherry tomatoes (photo above). Although a lot of Buff's dishes are delicious, this risotto stands out with its general lovely and delicate taste with explosions of flavors from the aubergines and tomatoes. It's unforgettable!
|Spalla di suino nero cotta a bassa temperatura con insalata di cavolo rosso (Black pork shoulder cooked at a low temperature with red cabbage salad)|
|Photo courtesy of Laurenzi Consulting|
Having first-rate quality, the meat dishes of Buff are exceptionally tender and tasty. And if you love burgers, the buffalo meat burger is a good bet for a great bite, done the Italian way.
|Cheesecake di bufala con goji e ananas (Buffalo cheesecake with goji and pineapple); Photo courtesy of Laurenzi Consulting|
When it comes to desserts, Buff doesn't lack in interesting entries too. The chocolate sphere where you dip the candied clementines is a sweet and delectable way to enjoy the Calabrian citrus. The cheesecake with goji and pineapple and the ricotta and visciole (sour cherry) pie are both delicious to try.
|Top photos: Sfera di cioccolato con crema, clementine condite, goji e crumble (Chocolate sphere with cream, candied clementines, goji and crumble; Bottom:Torta di ricotta e visciole (Ricotta and sour cherry pie)|
In the heart of Trastevere, Buff is the first restaurant that has the concept of farm to table. The place is spacious, bright, cozy and young that has a great kitchen of quality and flavors, ready to take on the city of Rome as well as the tourists who would like to have their palates charmed by the chef's creations.
Via di San Francesco a Ripa, 141
Trastevere, Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 065819667
Open daily from 7:00 to 00:00
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|Photos courtesy of Laurenzi Consulting|