Umbria, on the pursuit of flavor
06 October 2022
Perugia, a matriarch of times past
A trip across Umbria in search for its flavors must begin from Perugia, a town of ancient origins and great traditions, comfortably located on the Perugia hills from which it overlooks the Valnerina. In the charming historical center, the Fontana Maggiore - in Piazza IV Novembre - built between 1275 and 1278 and formed by two pink and white stone basins, surmounted by a bronze basin, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the Rocca Paolina are definitely worth a visit. Of course there are many more wonders to explore in Perugia, but in this case it is just the starting point to the discovery of the precious Umbria region’s food and wine, and there is not much time to explore further. It is always possible to head back here another time... even if just for the chocolate!
Torgiano, cheered by the Americans
Leaving Perugia and heading towards Todi, the trip will take you across extensive areas cultivated with vines, especially of the grechetto, sangiovese and trebbiano varieties, also used to make Vin Santo joined in recent decades by international varieties such as pinot grigio, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Ready for your tasting session? The first stop is in Torgiano, for the insiders the symbol of a great Sangiovese, among the first Italian DOCG. Here you will find a travel destination that has been praised by the New York Times: according to the authoritative American newspaper the Wine Museum is the best wine museum in Italy. Close-by, to celebrate another delicious product of Umbria, you will find the Museum of Olive and Oil. If you take a lunch break here, we recommend the tagliatelle with chicken entrails and the rabbit “alla cacciatora” or the original “torta al testo” with wild herbs. Recommended pairings? Rosso di Torgiano, of course!
Todi, mission Grechetto
Todi is a small yet important town of Etruscan origins full of unique charm. It survived unscathed, actually strengthened, over the course of the Middle Ages and reached us with its majestic architecture and extraordinary buildings. Immersed in one of the most charming areas of Umbria, the historical center features a clearly medieval plan, and hosts - among other wonders - the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione, a monument to Jacopone da Todi and the temple of San Fortunato. The protagonist of the town’s DOC is Grechetto, historically cultivated in the vine variety known as "di Todi". A truly ancient vine, so much that Pliny the Elder mentions it in the pages of his Historia Naturalis.
Valnerina, the Eldorado of taste
If you want to travel to meet norcini, cheesemakers and truffle hunters, you have to head to Valnerina. A valley that takes its name from the river that crosses it, the Nera. It is an area rich in history and traditions, with a very characteristic landscape, where the industrialization of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has not distorted the unspoiled landscape. Imposing rocky hills, forests, and very fertile valleys blanketed by pastures alternate with farms and cultivated fields. Thus, even today, this area boasts a large number of typical products. The treasures of the Valnerina are found, knowing how to look for them, in the woods: they are the Precious Black Truffle of Norcia, the Summer Truffle and finally the Winter one. That's why this tasty tuber features in so many typical local recipes!
Norcia, a place, a profession
The particular geographical position, the right altitude, the currents: in addition to these unique characteristics, Norcia adds a centuries-old tradition in the processing and preservation of pork meats, so much so that it has given its name to this specific meat processing profession. Norcino, in fact, is the professional who, by following the right processing ranging from the dosing of spices to the checking of aging, brings to the table cold cuts appreciated everywhere. Since 1998, one of the local products, the Prosciutto di Norcia, has obtained the PGI recognition, further confirming the quality it expresses.