Scenes From an Italian Restaurant

The cuisine of Umbria uses regional and seasonal ingredients to produce its simple, traditional dishes. Its rich soil, extensive farms, lakes and woodlands provide a plentiful larder of splendid ingredients for its tasty, robust dishes. I have been pleasantly surprised by the excellent quality of the food and wine of the region, although I am sure I have a lot to learn over the next few months.

Cured meats or salami are a speciality, with wild boar, pig and donkey being popular. But are the Palle de Nonno (Grandfather’s Balls) made from authentic ingredients?

Spello salami - artisan shop

Spello salami – artisan shop

Wild Boar

Wild Boar

Vegetables too are in plentiful supply, fresh, huge and delicious.

Shiny red tomatoes

Shiny red tomatoes

Mixed peppers

Mixed peppers

Umbria also produces high quality red and white wines which are respected throughout Italy. It has not been possible in a week to sample a huge selection, but we have sampled a fine white wine – Orvieto Classico Superiore – made from grechetto grapes from the Orvieto region. At just over 4 Euros a bottle, that was good value.

Orvieto Classico Superiore

Orvieto Classico Superiore

The top red sampled so far is Sagrantino di Montefalco. The native sagrantino grape has been recently revived; Sagrantino di Montefalco, which contains only that grape, is fast becoming Umbria’s flagship wine. It has a distinctive flavour, powerful and complex. A bottle of the very best from the famed vintner Arnold Caprai is on the shelf, waiting for that very special occassion.

Sagrantino di Montefalco

Sagrantino di Montefalco

The bottle picture above was savoured with an excellent lunch at the Ristorante Porta Venere, tucked away in a medieval cellar. We ate fresh bread with local olive oil, followed by rabbit stuffed with wild asparagus and proscuitto. 

Ristorante Porta Venere: Rabbit stuffed with wild asparagus and proscuitto.

Ristorante Porta Venere: Rabbit stuffed with wild asparagus and proscuitto.

A few days earlier we had had a completely different – but equally good – dining experience at the Osteria de Dada. A tiny place, stuffed with rowdy locals, no menu or wine list, one chef and one waitress! It could have been a recipe for disaster, but the house wine was great, the roast lamb and pork loin were exquisite, and the singing chef and waitress made for a thoroughly entertaining meal.

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13 thoughts on “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant

  1. Laramie

    Hi Both. It sounds as if you are having lots of fun. The wine sounds fab. I am familiar with the Orvieto and have enjoyed it as well. The red sounds promising! Still blooming cold here but we have avoided the rain so far. Enjoy – well you are anyway!

    Reply
  2. Michelle Gordon

    I am feeling rather jealous of all your new experiences, but love reading about them. Bring back some wine for me please…..

    Reply
  3. Ali

    Sounds like you’re both having a whale of a time and settling in nicely. Your posts are so evocative, it’s almost like I’m there with you!

    Reply
    1. maryshoobridge Post author

      Truffles are indeed a speciality here, and we have tried both black and white varieties. They probably deserve a post of their own….But without a truffle pig we will sadly have to depend on the professionals to search those beauties out!

      Sent from my iPad

      Reply
  4. Bill/Jill

    We are following your adventures with a lot of interest coloured with an element of envy. Heavens above is that a mortal sin? It sounds terrific and you are avoiding the ****** cold. Keep the updates coming please. Bill/Jill

    Reply
    1. maryshoobridge Post author

      I’m going as fast as I can! Don’t forget we have to do something enjoyable or memorable before I can write about it! Glad you are following our adventures. M x

      Reply
  5. Kirstin

    Now I want to go shopping for Italian meats and tomatoes and sit in the sunshine eating it with some Italian bread and washing it down with a nice Italian wine! Maybe I will head out into the garden with a glass of Prosecco and hope the threatening rainclouds blow right on over.

    Reply

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