Food is a quintessential part of life in Umbria and the magnitude of choices available often leaves visitors crying out for more. Day to day life is often interrupted by festivals celebrating seasonal produce.
For people in search of fresh produce, there is a local market on every day of the week and early morning risers will be well rewarded. The Umbertide Market on Wednesday mornings is one of our favourites and no visitor to Umbria should miss the delicious porchetta. This roast suckling pig, seasoned with sage or rosemary and fennel and plenty of salt and pepper is served warm in fresh bread rolls is classic Italian fast food. Also available in abundance are the fresh pecorino cheeses, wild porcini mushrooms, local cured meats and vegetables. The atmosphere is fantastic and it is always busy throughout the year, a sure sign of quality.
Umbria is famous for its truffles and olive oils and it produces the highest percentage of extra virgin olive oil in Italy and almost 80 percent of black truffles found in Italy. The quality of the oils has to be tasted to be believed and an oil produced by Lungarotti winery in Umbria recently won best oil in the world. When in season, truffles are incorporated into everything from omlettes to pasta, salads and meat dishes. While nearby Lake Trasimeno yields fresh water fish, Umbria is meat eating territory and game features strongly on all menus with various birds, hare and wild boar being staples.
Umbria is also famous for the tiny lentils from Castelluccio and the pork products from the southern town of Norcia, norcino has come to mean ‘pork butcher’, so famous are the salami, sausages and hams produced here. Salsiccia di cinghiale (wild boar sausages) and stringozzi pasta are other delicacies worth sampling. We can recommend a large variety of great restaurants in our local area that show the finest of Umbrian food.
No visit to Italy is complete without sampling some of the stunning wines of Umbria and Tuscany. These are two of Italy’s most famous wine producing areas and Casa San Gabriel is ideally situated to visit both. From the communal library guests can loan wine touring maps, guides and access information on where to taste the best wines of these regions.
Visitors interested in wine touring should be sure to visit Orvieto, Torgiano and Montefalco for the opportunity to see and taste from some of the finest vineyards in Umbria. Wines not to miss include Orvieto Classico, Sagrantino di Montefalco and Torgiano Rosso Riserva. Also worth trying are the wines of Lake Trasimeno and Assisi. It is also worth spending a few hours visiting the superb wine and olive oil museum at Lungarotti Estate where two of Italy’s finest reds are produced.
In neighbouring Tuscany the wine heritage is equally rich especially in Montepulciano and Montalcino. From Casa San Gabriel both these regions are easily accessible by day trip and visitors must sample the sublime Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino.
This is a highly recommended vineyard close to Montepulciano which holds wonderful daily tours, tastings and lunches. Please see the attached brochure for information. www.avignonesi.it
I Girasole di Sant’ Andrea
At our local vineyard, I Girasole di Sant’ Andrea, guests are able to participate in a wine and olive tasting followed by an evening meal, this is a very popular activity with many of our guests and very good value. Please see the attached brochure for information.
The wines of nearby Carmine estate are made at Vineyard Palazzone and guests can enjoy a guided tour of the vineyard and cantina, tasting of the wines of the vineyard, including the famous Orvieto white wines, followed by a gourmet seasonal lunch.
There are a number of cooking courses available in our area, please ask us and we can give you details.
L’Antica Osteria arrange guided truffle hunting trips in the woodlands surrounding Montone and then this will be followed by a truffle degustation lunch held at the restaurant.
Please do let us know if you are interested in this and we can book it for you.