Tag Archives: food

Pass the Wine (Sophia Loren)

“Sir, I did not count your glasses of wine, why should you number up my cups of tea?” – Samuel Johnson

There are lots of watering holes in Spello, but we have found only two wine bars.

Spello: Enoteca Properzio

Spello: Enoteca Properzio

Enoteca Properzio is located next to the church of Santa Maria Maggiore on Spello’s winding main street. You can taste fine wines here – note the stacked cases of Krug – from all over Italy and beyond.

Spello: Enoteca Properzio

Spello: Enoteca Properzio: Ready for wine tasting.

Wine tastings are a feature here. The wines are paired with delicious cheeses, meats and pasta. This enoteca is renowned throughout Umbria and both its press and punter reviews are exceptionally good. We have been 3 times and thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the wines. But…there is somewhere else we much prefer.

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Vinosofia is situated in Via Maddalena, just off the main street through Spello. Husband and wife duo Brenda McLeran and Graziano Santucci, welcome you in to a tasteful, calm interior with soft music playing in the background.

Combining American flair and Italian style, Brenda and Graziano have created a fine space where you can pop in for a quick glass or spend a long, languid evening. We have popped in for a quick glass on more than one occasion only to end up spending wonderful long languid evenings here!

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Brenda and Graziano are trained sommeliers, and they are passionate about their products. They are extremely helpful in recommending wines and we have been delighted to taste some of their recommendations. They work well together, quietly ensuring that customers have everything they need.

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Wines are largely European, mostly organic and all are from small producers. The accompanying platters of artisan cheeses and organic meats are served with baskets of fresh bread – all delicious.

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Vinosofia also offers an excellent range of cookery books and gifts for the wine lover. We had to buy one of these wonderful wine measures – we had never seen anything like this before. As well as measuring the wine, it also aerates it. It is such a beautiful object.

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Brenda and Graziano pride themselves on being a green business, in everything from the products they sell to the materials used in renovating the building. They source food, wines and gifts locally and minimise their environmental footprint wherever they can.

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia. A glass of man….or am I seeing things?

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

Wonderful liquor bottles…and they taste as good as they look!

Spello: Vinosofia

Spello: Vinosofia

A visit to Vinosofia is an experience not to miss if you ever have the pleasure of visiting Spello.

Advertisements

I Dug Up A Diamond

Some women lust after diamonds and pearls. Not me. What I really wanted was my very own fresh truffle: a “black diamond”. Or as the Italian composer Rossini called them “the Mozart of mushrooms”.

We were in La Bottega di Teresa (see earlier post “Bringing Home the Bacon”) choosing a little cheese, when Ascanto unscrewed the lid of a large glass jar and invited us to sniff its contents. It was an unmistakeable aroma: earthy, musty, black truffles. “How much would the smallest one cost?” I enquired in my best Italian, expecting it to be a very large number. “Four Euros” Ascanto responded.

And that is why yesterday I fulfilled my truffle-owning dream.

Spello: Black Truffle

Spello: Black Truffle

The truffle has long been prized. The Romans ate them, no doubt with a lark’s tongue chaser. Premium truffles are found in France, Spain and Italy. Umbria is the best known Italian truffle region, although they are found elsewhere in the country.

It is a subterranean fungus that grows amongst the roots of trees in dense woodland. Truffles are normally found buried a few centimetres underground, so they cannot be spotted with the naked eye. Pigs were commonly used to sniff out these treasures, however pigs like a nice truffle so they often ate their discoveries. Now it is more common for trained dogs – who don’t enjoy the taste – to hunt for them.

The fruit of the truffle is a tuber, covered with a tough but edible skin. Nine varieties are recognised in Italy as being edible, but the black and white truffles are the most widely known. Black truffles can be harvested for most of the year, but the Winter variety has a more pungent aroma and a stronger taste, so they tend to be cripplingly expensive. I assumed mine was a black Summer truffle based on the season and the reasonable cost.

We have eaten truffle in many different ways since arriving in Umbria. My only previous experience of them had been at superior restaurants where it was used as a garnish rather than an ingredient. Here in Umbria it is lavished in pasta dishes, added to salami and, in salsa form, spread thickly on bruschetta.

I soaked my precious truffle in cold water and cleaned it gently. I thinly sliced some of it and roughly chopped the remainder.

Spello: Sliced and diced fresh truffle

Spello: Sliced and diced fresh truffle

I mixed the chopped fragments with a good olive oil and seasoning, then tossed it into some fresh pasta. Finally I added the sliced truffle – e vai!  Eaten with a glass of crisp white wine. Four euros well spent.

Spello: Pasta with fresh truffle

Spello: Pasta with fresh truffle