We spent a long weekend in Umbria this past weekend, a lovely fall getaway where we could finally see some fall color, the leaves of olive trees don’t change, remaining a silvery green all year long. Umbria is a very special region, with its beautiful medieval hilltop towns and an infrastructure that despite the many earthquakes, has kept everything spit spot. We spent an afternoon in Assisi, making pilgramage to San Francesco’s basilica at the bottom of the hill, and we spent an afternoon in Perugia, famous for its chocolate, but should be more famous for the incredible public transportation of getting from one level of the city to the next, escalators, elevators and mini metros.
We ate porcini mushrooms, truffles and lovely bean stews for the most part, but since we were staying on Lago Trasimeno, we decided that it was a must to try some of the fresh water fish that the region is known for.
We went to a restaurant called I Bonci in San Feliciano, right on the lake, which looked like nothing from the outside and seems to have a very slow business during the cooler months, but were pleasantly surprised by the wonderful things that they brought us to eat. We started with an antipasto di lago, smoked eel served over ricotta with a drizzle of honey, a crostino with carp roe, a potato and smoked fish gratin, crawfish with green salsa and a frittura of some teenie lake fish. I should have taken better notes, but it was all absolutely delicious. Those crawfish were out of this world, and lucky me, I only had to share a few with my daughter, she was more into popping the little fried guys in her mouth, though we had to pull the tails out because she was going to eat those too.
I only made it through the first course, leaving no room after all of those crawdads for the second course and had egg tagliolini with a persico ragu which was heavenly and really a ragu in every sense of the word. My husband went for the gnocchi and had room for a seond course with a spiedino of baked persico, apparentlt very good, but I could barely look at it I was so full.
We didn’t have any dessert that evening, but did enjoy looking in all of the chocolate and pastry shops in Assisi and Perugia. I was able to find chocolate letters for Sinterklaas, a Dutch tradition, my Oma used to bring me and my sister chcocolate letters from Holland every year to put in our shoes on December 6th. A tradition I was happy to be able to continue this year for my little girl.
One Year Ago: White Bean, Fennel and Barley Stew
Six Years Ago: Mushroom and Celery Salad, Risotto alla Milanese, Ricotta and Spinach Pie, Roasted Cauliflower, Raisins and Anchovy Vinaigrette, La Sicilia I, La Sicilia II, La Sicilia III, Fusilli with Swordfish and Pistachios, Salsicce sulla Pietra Ollare & Sfogliatella