Monthly Archives: November 2012
If you’ve traveled to central Italy and visited Umbria, you’ve explored the picturesque medieval villages, and enjoyed the breathtaking mountains and lush valleys of this “Green Heart of Italy,” or “il cuor verde d’Italia.” Umbria is known for its sumptuous cuisine (The wines and oil olive oil are exceptional.) remarkable artisan jewelry and Deruta ceramics. If you love fashionable cashmere knitwear, you know you will be able to purchase some of the most chic outfits in Milano, Italy. Well, Umbria is an important hub of a cashmere knitwear manufacturing district in Italy.
Though traveling to Umbria may be not in your immediate plans, you are fortunate because Umbria has come to the U.S. If you are in New York City the month of November until December 8, you will be able to experience the best of Umbria in various locations around the city like Eataly, Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria and Di Paolo’s Fine Foods.In an official proclamation Mayor Bloomberg has declared November “I Love Umbria Month!”For the rest of November until December 8th, the city will be hosting cultural and culinary events in celebration of the best that Umbria has to offer in its wine, ceramics, olive oil, cuisine, jewelry, even music.
Eataly’s restaurants are currently serving traditional Umbrian fare paired with Umbrian wines like the signature Sagrantino. Eataly chefs are hosting cooking classes that focus on typical Umbrian recipes. Their wine store is holding its final wine tastings the next two weeks on Fridays and Saturdays, and there will be tastings in La Piazza.
Additional trade and consumer tasting events have been featured at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria in the heart of NoHo. Around the city, participating jewelers are still offering exquisite Umbrian jewelry. In Little Italy, Di Palo’s Fine Foods has hosted olive oil tastings and wine tastings, some of the finest from the region.
The month long festivities were heralded with the first of a number of events, a luncheon: Umbria, “A Land Rich in Time.” Held Wednesday, November 7th at Eataly’s La Scuola Grande, it was hosted by the Centro Estero Umbria(Umbria Trade Agency) and renown chef Lidia Bastianich. The sumptuous luncheon featured dishes typical of the region with Umbrian wine pairings. For the Antipasto, diners lunched on Chef Alex Pilas’ exceptional “Porcini con Crescione, Finocchio & Tartufo,” paired with a white wine of the region.
Eataly’s wine director, Dan Amatuzzi, Marco Caprai of The Caprai estate and Marco Petrini, President of Monini North America, Inc., discussed Umbrian cuisine at length. Amatuzzi and Caprai explained the wine pairings for each dish and emphasized the Sagrantino as the signature Umbrian grape whose wine with its gripping tannins and ability to be aged for years makes it a classic of the region.
Petrini spoke about the olive oil produced as unique to Umbria in its mild, nutty taste profile that marries perfectly with porcini and legumes, ingredients widely used in Umbrian cuisine.
After the antipasto, guests enjoyed the Secondo which was Porchetta con Lenticchie Umbre. The combination of roasted pork resting on a bed of lentils prepared with Umbrian olive oil, nutty, fresh, smooth, and accompanying regional seasonings was a sensational meld of flavors. The dish was perfection and exemplary of the region’s select recipe for culinary delight.
To describe the Dolce course as tasty would be an understatement. The Torta Umbra all’Olio d’Oliva & Gelato was not cloyingly sweet, nor heavy as one might expect as it was made with Umbrian olive oil. The cake was light, airy and extremely flavorful; its gentility coupled well with the dessert wine, Tenuta Rocca di Fabbri, Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito DOCG 2005. The pairing pinged my palate and completed the progression of dishes with an intriguing finish, leaving me with thoughts of returning to such dishes and pairings again and again.
The schedule of the last two weeks follows below.
Week Three: (November 23-30) Focus on Truffles and Legumes
Week Four: (December 1-8) Focus on Cuisine
You will be missing out if you don’t make it to Eataly or one of the other venues during the “I Love Umbria” month’s remaining festivities. It’s not too late to enjoy a glass of Umbrian wine or dine on some superb Umbrian fare. You’ll be glad you did.