Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Here in Italy, as in the rest of Europe, meals are shared with family and friends, and you don't eat; you dine.  Webster defines dining as partaking of a meal.  Here that means slowing down, enjoying the food, the company and your surroundings, whether it is a beautiful terrace, a small subterranean dining room, or your own eating space, meals and the conversation that is shared are meant to be savored.  Dining here is not a track meet, with loud music blaring in the background to get you out as fast as they can.  (yes, that's why some restaurants blare music, so they can turn over their tables faster) Don't believe it? Check this out.
On Monday after our tour at Arnaldo Caprai, we headed up to the top of the hill to the town of Montefalco and one of our favorite restaurants, L'Alchimista.  The Giro d'Italia would be coming through town on Tuesday and we figured this was a great day to come and sit in the piazza and enjoy the day with our London friends.  Our family here in Spello helped to put together the wine list for the restaurant, and we were in for a treat.
Located in the square, there is indoor and outdoor seating; on perfect days, you want an outdoor table

The square is all dressed up for the Giro (think Tour de France, Italian style)

We sat down at a lovely table under umbrellas, on the piazza.  As we were deciding to order, we sipped a lovely Rosato: before you turn up your nose, this is not your mamas rose, but Sangiovese grapes, and the flavor is fresh, light and refreshing.  I'm in love with it for an aperitivo.
 Deciding what to eat was difficult but we decided on a special homemade ravioli stuffed with pecorino and ricotta, topped with fava beans and oil.  As they say here, Spettacolare!
I decided on the fava souffle with artichoke sauce

Artichoke parmigiana
As the clouds turned darker we heard rumbles of thunder, and then came the rain.  We headed inside to finish our lunch.  To pair with our main courses, we decided on a Montefalco Rosso called Ziggurat from Lunelli.
Chicken stuffed with sausage--Mama Mia!

Described as a lasagna, this was really thin crepes, again, simple food, elevated

As we were eating, our friend said, I'm not leaving without having dessert.....who could argue with that?  Three of us had what they describe as their cappuccino and one had a chocolate and pear tart with cinnamon ice cream, again, Mama Mia. 
Creamy chocolate on the bottom, meringue pieces in the middle, and mascarpone creme on the top.  No words!

Chocolate and pear tart, cinnamon ice cream, and pastry cream

As the weather cleared, we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant, and down the hill to car.  We'd spent 2 1/2 hours at lunch and it was a joy to enjoy each and every bite, along with great conversation.  We did a bit of a walk about and then headed home.

Pink bicycles were everywhere in celebration of the Giro arriving on Tuesday.  The riders went from Foligno up the hill through Bevagna and into the square in Montefalco for this stage.

For over 17 years,  when we come to Montefalco, I take a photo of this garden, tended by an older gentleman, it is beautiful year round.

You never know what is behind a door, this small chapel is usually closed, but we were able to enter and see the amazing frescoes on the walls here.

Perfect days here in Italy include great meals, wine, and conversation. Our two days with our friends from the UK were exactly that.  So grateful to be here and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.  Ciao for now.

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