Saturday, October 19, 2013

5 Star Lunch in Assisi with Franca

Memorable meals; you know the ones, where you can’t stop thinking about the food, the ambiance, the wine, the service….these things happen so infrequently in our fast paced lives, that they stand out like little jewels in our memories, ready to be plucked again, when we remember that particular day in our lives. 
Yesterday our group had what I describe as a Goldilocks day in Assisi; not too hot, not too cold, but just right.  Bright blue sky, crisp air and a light breeze, just the type day you would want to be eating outside.  And so it was that we wound up at La Fontanella, a tiny ristorante off the beaten path in Assisi known to our guide Anne Robichaud.  

Walking from the frenzied Piazza del Commune onto a side street, then down another, we entered this secret garden, where the food is lovingly prepared by Franca Mariani.  Franca believes in the tradition of not preparing anything that isn’t grown within 12 miles of Assisi, and she also prepares whatever is fresh that day.  We were in for a treat, but none of us could imagine the delights awaiting us!  I tell people when they ask about restaurants to go where the locals go, ask your concierge, or a friend in the local area where they go because this is where the authentic foods of the area are served.  Most Umbrians will not tell you to go to a Tuscan restaurant, since they are so proud of their heritage and their foods. 
Franca loves what she does; and she puts out food that is not only memorable, it’s some of the finest I’ve had in Italy.  There are 3 courses each day, no menu, and if you are gluten intolerant, make sure to call ahead and let her know---she’ll accommodate you.  

First course, from left:  potato and truffle torta, pumpkin flan(to die for) homemade salami on walnut bread (only made in fall), and pickled red onions (agra dolce)
 Any of you that take my classes, will hopefully be able to partake of these when I develop the recipes and teach later on in the spring/winter.

Home made prosciutto tortellini, with hand picked wild mushroom sauce and Parmigiano cheese (heaven on a plate)

Who knew simple ingredients could produce such amazing results?  In the hands of a skilled cook like Franca, magic happens.  At this point, we thought we were done, but Franca blew us away with the next course....
Homemade sausage with green grapes in white wine
This is a true Umbrian dish, especially at harvest time; it is sweet, salty, meaty, porky, oh it's just one of the best things I've tasted in a very long time---again, simple, fresh, ingredients, cooked with amore.Between the beautiful outdoor garden, great new/old friends, the simply delicious food, and our hostess and cook Franca, this was one of those memorable meals that will stay with all of us for a long time.  Our dessert was a chocolate cake with candied figs, which came from her trees in the garden.  Can't get much more farm to table than that! 

Should you or any of your friends be near Assisi, I highly recommend calling Franca and going for lunch or dinner; there is no set menu, the menu is whatever is fresh that day, and you will have a delicious meal,no matter what is served.  The restaurant is tiny and fills up fast, so make sure to call so you are not disappointed.   Grazie Franca, per un pranzo incredibile;è stato un piacere conoscerti.  

La Fontanella
Via B. da Quintavalle.7 -06081 Assisi
Tel: +39075812272
Mobile:   +393495585108

1 comment:

  1. Cara Diane grazie a te!!!! e per favore torna presto....ciao