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.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Chateaus, Le Mans, and Au Revoir France

Our last night with the Classic Travelling group at a beautiful Chateau in the Loire Valley

After a long drive through the Loire Valley from the Dordogne, we arrived at Chateau Beauvois. The drive was through beautiful towns, and on a Sunday when we would have expected the locals to be out and about, we found villages empty and no one around. 
Finally got the top down

A few classics

Entry hall at the Chateau

After the long drive, we relaxed a bit with the group in the beautiful garden courtyard and then headed to our last dinner, which was bittersweet, since we had so enjoyed all of our driving buddies.  
Starter: pressed fresh vegetables in aspic with a carrot sorbet

Sea bream with truffle, asparagus, and red pepper coulis
Farewell Chateau Beauvois
The next morning we were up bright and early. Our route was going to take us to Le Mans, and our plan was to stop at the museum , spend an hour or two, and then head to Paris on the motorway.  When you approach Le Mans, you are actually driving on part of the 24 hour race circuit, so I ticked that off the bucket list.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, I was behind some very slow trucks.  The museum is well worth a visit with some amazing classic cars, and great videos about the race. 

Notice the leather straps holding the hood down

I have been enamored with these cars forever; they are so ugly they are cute

A Woody!
After another 2 hour drive, we arrived at Charles DeGaulle airport to spend the night.  We said au revoir to France, and the next day we were sitting at Enoteca Properzio enjoying our first (of many) glasses of wine.  France, you were grand, but there is no place like home.  Ciao for now.  

Rosso di Montefalco