Speciali della Umbria
We are delighted to bring you specialties from the central region of Umbria, the “green heart of Italy.” Like many regional cuisines, Umbrian cooking relies on the fresh local produce, especially olives, sheep cheeses and game. Its capital, Perugia, has been home to Perugina®, maker of Baci (kisses) and other fine chocolates, since 1907.
Umbria, east of Tuscany and west of Marche, is the only Italian region with neither a coastline nor an international border. With its lush, rolling countryside, Umbria is called “the green heart of Italy.” It is also known as Tuscany without the tourists. The region boasts many splendors of Medieval and Renaissance Italy. Umbria is dotted with magnificently preserved hilltop towns such as Perugia, Collepini, and Assisi, the latter home of Saint Francis and his follower Saint Clare. Impressive cathedrals as well as more modest stone churches and monasteries also abound. Umbria’s undulating plains provide glorious vistas from atop every hill and, once you venture down into the valleys, you’ll find many vineyards with a fine array of wines, most notably the full-bodied Sagrantino, a very tannic red wine unique to Umbria, and the white Orvieto, which accounts for 80% of the region’s wine production (though overall wine production is less than one-third that of Tuscany). Meanwhile, if you prefer beer, in 2000, a group of mostly American Benedictine monks established the Birra Nursia brewery in Norcia, the birthplace of Saint Benedict cradled in a a steep-sided valley in southeastern Umbria. Under brewmaster Brother Francis from Dallas, Texas, the monks have breathed new life into the ancient monastery abandoned since 1810. For those with a sweet tooth, check out the International Euro-Chocolate Festival of Perugia. Begun in 1993, it has become one of the most sought after chocolate festivals among chocolate lovers. Every October, the Umbrian capital turns into a huge open-air chocolate market and tasting extravaganza. EuroChocolate lasts for nine days and draws nearly one million tourists, Italians and foreigners alike. Buon appetito!