Pompeii snack bar reopens after 1931 years serving mostly original food

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Pompeii snack bar reopens after 1931 years serving mostly original food

In AD79 it was Pompeii's most popular hang out, where locals would partake in a snack of baked cheese smothered in honey. Now, nearly 2000 years after the Italian city was buried under ash and rubble by the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius, its favorite snack bar has re-opened.

For the first time the thermopolium, as it is called in Italy, will be open to tourists after having undergone and excavation and restoration process over the past few months. Customers will enjoy a taste of Roman cafe society, including the sweet, calorific treats enjoyed by the all sections of Pompeii society before the city was destroyed.

Vetutius Placidus's snack bar features an L-shaped counter and a painting on its back wall depicting Mercury, the god of commerce and Bacchus, the god of wine. It also features a cellar, garden and dining area - or triclinium, which was decorated with a painting showing the rape of Europa with Jupiter disgused as a bull.

Excavations suggest the internal garden once featured a pergola, herb garden and grapevines.

The bar used to face onto a main street, the Via dell'Abbondanza, and all sections of society would call in for a Mediterranean lunch or the famous snack of ricotta cheese and sticky honey.

Apparently "Sticky Honey" is known as Lead acetate a traditional sweetener used by the Romans that derives from lead compounds and is toxic. I guess they won't be THAT authentic then.

Cato, Columella, Pliny, and Palladius all describe how unfermented grape juice was boiled to concentrate its sugar. "A product of art, not of nature," says Pliny, the grape juice was reduced to one half (defrutum) or even one third its volume (sapa), and the thickened syrup used to sweeten and preserve wine and fruit that otherwise was sour or would spoil.

A probable cause of chronic lead poisoning in Roman times was the consumption of defrutum and sapa.

Cato, for example, recommends that olives and pears be preserved in boiled grape juice, as does Varro (I.59.3). And Columella indicates that defrutum should always be boiled with quinces or some other flavoring.

Apicius, in De Re Coquinaria offers directions for preserving quinces in defrutum and honey and added the rich syrup to many of his sauces to enhance the color and flavor of almost every dish, whether meat, fish, fowl, or fruit. (The fact that the reduction was used to color food indicates that red wine was used, rather than white.) Lead poisoning in Roman times

Archaeologists working at the site also found a jar full of coins, amounting to about two days' income. They believe the owner may have left them as he fled the doomed city.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

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By netchicken: posted on 21-3-2010

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