Umbria on the table
Umbria on the table
Everyone knows Umbria as ’the green heart of Italy’, a title earned from landscapes of vines and ancient olive trees, the gentle undulation of the hills, and land that is unspoilt and almost wild. The morphological characteristics of the Umbrian lands make this region unique for the variety of places of great natural and scenic interest. Starting from the Valnerina and climbing as far as the Upper Tiber Valley, Umbria offers a series of fascinating points of interest related to nature and the environment which make it famous all over the world, such as the Cascata delle Marmore (waterfall), the National Park of the Sibillini Mountains and Lake Trasimeno. In fact, Lake Trasimeno, only a few minutes from La Petronilla, has received ‘The Five Sails’award in the Legambiente and Italian Touring Club Blue Guide, which recognises beach destinations that respectand protect the environment. Among the best lake sites reported by the guide are Tuoro sul Trasimeno, Castiglione del Lago, Magione, and Passignano sul Trasimeno. The hills that caress the shores of Lake Trasimeno, together with the large expanse of lake water, have created an ideal microclimate for cultivating grapes, and indeed the hill slopes are home to ancient vineyards protected by the DOC label (controlled designation of origin). Umbrian wine has a history dating back over 2000 years to the Etruscans. Nowadays, starting from the first DOC appellation ‘Colli del Trasimeno’, modern viticulture methods have developed 13 wonderful DOC wines: Assisi, Colli Altotiberini, Colli Perugini, Torgiano, Colli Martani, Montefalco, Lago di Corbara, Orvieto rosso and Colli Amerini, and Orvieto Classico. Other prized wines are Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG and Sagrantino di Montefalco. A good way to discover the wines of Umbria is to follow the wine routes of the Sagrantino, del Cantico, Colli del Trasimeno and Etrusco-Romana. Umbria is also the only Italian region to have obtained for its entire territory the protected area appellation (DOP) for its wonderful olive oil. The major production zones are the hills of Assisi, Spoleto, Martani, Amerini, Trasimeno and Orvieto. These excellent products accompany traditional Umbrian dishes. There are first courses of peasant origin,such as umbricelli and strangozzi pasta, or handmade tagliatelle topped with a hearty tomato and goose sauce, l’imbrecciata, a cereal and legume soup, and chickpea soups. Traditional meat-based second course sare wild boar, stuffed duck, pigeon or lamb chops. Pork deserves a special mention because the processing in Umbria is renowned for its quality. Just some of the delicacies are porchetta (stuffed, spitroast young pig), Norcia sausages, and cured ham accompanied by the famous torta al testo flat bread. Freshwater fish from Lake Trasimeno is another excellent Umbrian treat. Specialities are stuffed regina carp, tegamaccio fish stew and fried perch. A visit to Umbria would not be complete without tasting Trasimeno beans, Cave beans, Cannara onions, Colfiorito red potatoes, Trevi black celery, Monteleone di Spoleto spelt, Norcia lentils and black and white truffles, and saffron from Cascia and Città della Pieve. An excellent Umbrianmeal is not complete without one of the many traditional desserts, such as torcolo, strufoli, il torciglione, sweet maccheroni, tozzetti, fave dei morti, panpepato and ciaramicola.