Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saturday in Assisi

After several days of soaking rain, yesterday dawned with bright blue skies, dotted with beautiful cloud formations.  I hadn't been to Assisi, and wanted to see my friend Franca, who owns the restaurant, La Fontanella,.  Assisi can seem like Disneyland some days, with hordes of tourists shoved into the town from 40+ passenger diesel spewing buses, but Saturday seemed quite calm, as you can see from the photos. 
Santa Chiara

As I walked the narrow streets approaching Franca's restaurant, I saw this.....

Such a beautiful day for a wedding, and the look on their faces was pure bliss

 there were at least 5 photographers with varying amounts of equipment running down the street trying to catch the one great shot
They turned up the alleyway, and I was on my way to La Fontanella once again.

Franca's Secret Garden
Although the view from here is spectacular, it's the food that is the prize

Franca forages for wild mushrooms in the hills above Assisi and Spello, and turns them into dishes that are superb, you can taste the earthy flavors accented with hints of grassy olive oil; something to be savored. 
Franca calls this dish, pasta al tartufo di povera, or pasta with truffles of the poor.  Truffles are prized here in Umbria, but very expensive.  After picking the mushrooms, she chops them finely, into a duxelle, and sautes with a bit of garlic, rosemary, and olive oil to bring out the flavor.  She preserves the just picked flavor by cooking them as soon as she gets back to the restaurant.  This dish was so delicious, and I used bread to spread the leftover sauce on, it was heaven!

Although any normal person would have stopped there, I of course had to have another course, and I got a bit of delicious Chiannina beef with salad.  I couldn't finish all the beef, but Franca's new dog Argo helped me out. 
It is such a joy to spend time here, Franca's beautiful garden, the food rivals the surroundings, and having a friend here makes my life so much richer. 

Grazie Franca, for the beautiful time in your garden! 
As I drove home to Spello I saw 5 para-gliders that had taken off from Mt. Subasio; just another day in Umbria.  Buona Sera!

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