Thursday, August 09, 2007

prepare for PERUGIA--the center of Italy and heart of her cuisine

We are here in the center of Italy in Perugia for two nights and last night we headed to a small local eatery with Samuel which was simply excelllent (I think probably anything here is like that), La LOCANDA DEGLI ARTISTI is located just outside the Porte Erculano at Via Campo Battaglia 10 and offers both outside and quaint inside seating. As this was the first night in over three weeks abroad that the temperature had dipped below 70, we opted to head inside. Our servers were helpful and friendly. Samuel insisted that his simple (yes, again) Pizza Margherita was the best he had ever had in his whole life. While, I felt that Rome's pizza was better, he is entitled to his own opinion. We started with a bottle of CASTELLO de MAGIONE MONTERONE 2006 GRECHETTO which is as local as you can get here in Umbria (Perugia is the capital) and it was crisp, refreshing and wonderful with the CROSTINI al TARTUFO, which were slices of bread (a bit too hard for me) with a bruschetta topping made from the amazing local black truffles (along with some parsley and garlic). The plate of mixed meats came with local salami, the local prosciutto nad bresaola all of which were spectacular.

Will and I split the local pasta special, UBRIACELLI (sp?) all NORCINA which were spinach and wheat thicker than spaghetti pasta with a magnificent cream-black truffle-sausage sauce that was to die for. We switched to a superb red from Domenico Pennachi SAGRANTINO di MONTEFALCO "Terre di Capitani" 2003 that was intense but not tannic and had a slight sweetness as well, but not like a sweet wine--more like sweet cherries and chocolate--thing BIG chianti without the tannins.

Our first choice for entrees was the Beef with arucola and balsamic (another local specialty) that they were out of, so we had the simple grilled VEAL CHOP that was superb, but nothing spectacular, though we did adore the local rustic and spicy SALSICCE (Sausage) before we headed home without dessert as we were so full. Sam did enjoy a big bowl of yummy PEACH Gelato.

On our second night, we headed about 30 minutes east, just past Assisi to the town of SPELLO to discover the Michelin-starred LA BASTIGLIA in the hills of this beautiful tiny town.--more on this later.