While visiting Rome, Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) evades her handlers and ends up spending the day with newfound companion, Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), who, unbeknownst to Ann, is a journalist. Released in 1953, Roman Holiday is not only one of the great romantic comedy classics, it is also a film that has quite a few food & drink moments, and as a result, has been on my list of potentials films for food & a film pairings for quite some time. Furthermore, seeing as it is the summertime, when travel plans are usually abound (pre-pandemic, of course), I thought it was a particularly appropriate time to feature this film on the blog, especially when a bit of escapism via cinematic tourism could be fairly helpful now more than ever.The very first food or drink moment in Roman Holiday comes about eight minutes into the film when Ann is brought a bedtime tray of milk and crackers, and we see her nibble a cracker, as well as drink from the glass of milk. The next notable food or drink moment occurs just under ten minutes later when Joe is playing poker with a group of men and along with cards, chips and cigarettes on the poker table, we see various drink glasses belonging to the card players. Shortly following this scene, Joe happens upon Ann, and thinking that she is drunk, says to her, “Get yourself some coffee; you’ll be alright.” Ultimately when Joe ends up bringing the narcotized Ann home with him, he fixes himself a drink, and when Ann asks if she can have some, he firmly responds, “No.” Joe then says, “I think I’ll go out for a cup of coffee.,” and leaves Ann to sleep off the sedative.
The next morning when Joe arrives to work, before entering his boss’ office, he takes a sip of the office secretary’s cup of coffee before he takes what appears to be a small loaf of bread from her desk, breaks it in two and returns one half. Then upon walking into the office of his boss, Joe takes a bite of his half of the bread and snacks on it during the subsequent conversation. Upon Joes return to his apartment, he offers Ann coffee and begins to prepare a pot, however, the duo never end up drinking it. When Ann then goes to leave, Joe says, “Goodbye? But we’ve only just met. How about some breakfast?,” and when Ann replies, “I’m sorry, I haven’t time.,” Joe responds saying, “Must be a pretty important date to run off without eating.”
The next notable appearance of food in Roman Holiday is not only undoubtedly the film’s most memorable food moment, it is also a fairly iconic food moment in all of cinema. Of course I am referring to the scene where Ann orders herself some gelato from a street cart and proceeds to enjoy her frozen dessert in the Piazza di Spagna.
Following Ann’s gelato moment when Joe and Ann are reunited, the duo head to Rocca’s, a sidewalk cafe, where Ann snacks on some bread while the two people-watch.
Joe then orders a couple of beverages: champagne for Ann, and a cold coffee for himself, and when the drinks arrive, the two cheers before taking sips of their respective refreshments.
Later in the evening, when back at Joe’s, Joe gets some wine and Ann asks, “Shall I cook something?,” to which Joe responds, “No kitchen; nothing to cook; I always eat out.” Ann and Joe then drink some wine and when Joe refills Ann’s glass at her request, she says, “Sorry I couldn’t cook us some dinner.,” prompting Joe to ask, “Did you learn how in school?” Ann then tells him, “Mmmm, I’m a good cook; I could earn my living at it.,” and Joe responds by saying, “Well, looks like I’ll have to move; and get myself a place with a kitchen.” The film’s final food or drink moment comes when Joe has himself a bit of wine for breakfast the following morning.For my Roman Holiday vegan food pairing, I prepared Cacio e Pepe, which means “cheese and pepper” and is a pasta dish from modern Roman cuisine. I also included a bread roll seeing as bread is featured a couple of times in the film, and no Roman Holiday-inspired menu would be complete without Ann’s iconic cone of gelato for dessert.
Then for beverages, I included both Joe and Ann’s drinks at Rocca’s: a coffee for Joe, and champagne for Ann.
Lastly, for the table setting, I opted for a fabric containing the colors of the flag of Italy to use as a tablecloth, as well as incorporated “a bouquet of very small pink roses,” seeing as it’s mentioned during Ann’s bedtime briefing at the beginning of the film.
Thank you for tuning in for August’s installment of food & a film! Be sure to check back next month for a new entry for the month of September. Until then!