Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Finding Collepino

Yesterday we decided to take a drive up to Collepino, a tiny town with a population of about 13, high above Spello on Mt. Subassio.  We had been here 20 years ago, but hadn't been back and had heard of a great restaurant there, so we thought we'd go for lunch. 
Traversing the winding narrow road I kept saying, this is too far, I'm sure we missed it, but then turning a corner, we saw a town, and sure enough, we made it. 

Our welcoming committee was a new litter of kittens; the grey and white ones were hiding, but the black babies were so cute and curious. 

As we made our way through the town to find the restaurant, the views were delightful.  We got to the restaurant only to find it was closed.  October in Umbria means that many places are only open for dinner, and on certain days to take advantage of the dwindling tourist market.  So, we hopped back in the car and headed back to Spello, with these beautiful views to savor.  Ciao for now.


For the past several years, I've celebrated my birthday here in Spello accompanied by the Angelini family and Dr. C.  This year is a BIG one, and Dr. C. surprised me by flying in our daughter, son-in-law and son Ryan for the celebration.  Let me tell you no one celebrates like the Italians! 
Chef Marco Gubbiotti prepared our dinner, and for dessert, I'd requested a gelato cake from his gelateria Amandola. (best gelato in the world) 

Marco calls this one truffle carbonara: poached egg, crostini crumbs, pancetta, and truffles

Risotto with porcini and butternut squash

Pork two ways:  chop and mini-porchetta

A few days before the celebration my brother and his wife arrived for 3 days; we toured Gubbio where our grandparents were born, and enjoyed some family time here in Spello and Montefalco. 

On the day the entourage arrived, they were still here and got to enjoy lunch together with our kids.  It doesn't get any better than family gathered around the table. 

To further celebrate our family at Enoteca Properzio sent us to the Arnaldo Caprai winery for a wine tasting.  This is one of the largest producers here in Umbria, and the setting couldn't be better. 

Sagrantino, not quite ready

To say I was overwhelmed by the weekend would be an understatement. I'm so grateful to the family at Enoteca Properzio for arranging the celebration with my family this weekend, their generosity and love are astonishing, but then this is Italy, and their passion for what they do is evident every day.  Living here is one big celebration of love, food, and family.  Ciao for now.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Nobody Knows the Truffles I've Seen

Black Truffles
Dr. C. and I landed in Rome late after a 4-hour delay in Newark.  We drove to Spello and fell into bed, tired, and happy to be in our happy place.  The days since our arrival have been a joyous reunion with the Angelini family at Enoteca Properzio, as well as long-time friends from the US, UK, and Australia. 
Umbria is famous for its truffles, although the Piedmont gets the press, the truffles here are amazing.  Our first day here, we sat at the enoteca from 11 a.m. and closed it at 9 p.m.--- I'll use the excuse that we were jet-lagged, and couldn't face the walk up the hill to our apartment. 
At aperitivo time, we were served bruschetta with freshly grated truffles---this was mind-boggling. 
Simple food is what defines Umbria; this slice of heaven on a plate is merely toasted bread, a bit of extra virgin olive oil and shaved truffles.  Everything about this dish is why I love being here; simple, flavorful and satisfying.  The other dish that we love here is fresh tagliatelle with shaved truffles.  The tagliatelle is tossed with green gold (extra virgin local olive oil) and then topped with shaved truffles. 
Mama Mia!
This pasta is served with Sagrantino, the local grape that only grows here.  When you eat this dish and drink the wine, you are eating and drinking Umbria. 
As the week has gone on, we've enjoyed drinks and meals with our family and friends here. 
Prosciutto e Melone


Mediterranean Salad: mache, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, Sicilian tuna


Our host and brother, Roberto Angelini with our friend travel writer Sanghyun Baik 
So come to Umbria for the truffles, stay for the hospitality.  Each night I stand on the terrace at this apartment and watch the lights in the distance on the hills, and this week there has been a full moon to light the night. 

Ciao for now.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Celebrations and Hospitality

I often say I know something about hospitality, but I know nothing compared to my family here at Enoteca Properzio.  The other night we were privileged to join a group from Ciclismo Classico and a couple from Georgia as the enoteca offered a cooking class and wine tasting to celebrate a birthday and the return of Ciclismo Classico to the enoteca. A chef came into the sala di pranzo and prepared a 3 course meal for all of us. 
Cod over artichoke cream with roasted artichoke


Risotto with peas, and truffle

Chef Angelo and Luca

The main, being built:  pickled cabbage, tomatoes

Pork tenderloin with a "sausage" made of pork belly, prosciutto and herbs

Heaven on a plate

Chef Angelo with Roberto

Each course is served with small production, biodynamic wines to complement each food.  
While the group was being served, we were sitting in the beautiful garden.  It had been raining all week, and the temperatures were cold, but this night was magical due to the warmer temperatures and no rain.  

Happy birthday!

No celebration is complete without a cake.  When I talk about Italy, I talk about the treasure here, it is not the food, wine, art, history or culture, it's the people.  At Enoteca Properzio, you are treated like family. Each time we bring friends here, we prove our point.  Hospitality is in their DNA, and they welcome everyone to their door.  We are leaving Spello today, I leave my heart here until we return in the fall.  Saying Ciao each time my heart breaks a bit, so ciao for now Spello.