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Eating in Spoleto

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Olive oil and wine

In the southern part of Umbria, in a predominantly mountainous and hilly area crossed by the waters of the river Clitunno, Spoleto boasts an excellent production of wines but, above all, of extra virgin olive oil. The dry, stony and rather limey soils, the mild climate and the hills rising up to 400 meters above sea level have constituted, since the time of the Etruscans, the fundamental conditions of a microclimate that allow Umbrians to produce top quality wine and olive oil. Over time, experience and modern technology have been added to the mastery of tradition, creating a winning combination that has made it possible to include Umbrian vineyard and olive orchard products among the most high-quality foods not only at regional and national levels, but even worldwide. The prized extra virgin olive oil obtained from the centuries-old olive trees of the surrounding area has earned the DOP classification (Denominations of Protected Origin) from the European Union for its unique characteristics. More precisely, its production falls under the sub-class called UMBRIA DOP of the Assisi-Spoleto hills characterized by a mixture of carefully chosen varieties of olives: Moraiolo 60% minimum, Leccino and/or Frantoio 30% maximum, other varieties maximum 30%. The extraction of extra virgin olive oil is a principal activity  of the local economy; expert artisans, heirs of a tradition that has been handed down for generations, guarantee the excellence of the products at local companies such as those of Pietro Coricelli (since 1939) or the Frantoi Feliziani (Feliziani Olive Press) (since 1762).

The Spoleto wine production boasts the classification Colli Martani DOC, whose products range from white to red, up to sparkling and passito wines, thanks to the pedoclimatic characteristics of the territory that guarantee optimal acidity levels of the soil. A special mention goes to Spoleto DOC, produced on a predominantly flat area of over 23 thousand hectares occupied by the Trebbiano Spoletino vineyards that produce five varieties of excellent wine. The historic cantinas that preserve the art of ancient production are Spoleto Ducale, Casale Triocco, Colle Capretta and Colle Uncinano.

 Traditional dishes

Spoleto will also thrill food-lovers! Local specialties, in fact, range from first courses based on homemade pasta to second courses with an intense flavor of game, whose meat recalls the aromas of the surrounding woods. Then there are the traditional desserts, full-bodied and anything but diet food, but with an intense and decisive taste that will make your mouth water. And the star of the show, being in Umbria of course, is always him – the black truffle. You will absolutely have to taste the spaghetti and the omelette, both with black truffles, with their distinctive taste. The omelette, in its simplicity, will amaze you with its soft fluffiness and unusual dark color. The skill of the cooks lies in being able to cook the eggs to perfection without burning the precious truffles that are mixed in with them. Before going on to the main courses, remember a local specialty: stringozzi, or strengozze as the Spoletans call it, is a very simple pasta made with flour and water, cut into thin strips and boiled for just a few minutes so as not to overcook it. It is then seasoned with a sauce of garlic, olive oil and red chili pepper and has an intense flavor. At this point, you will be ready to switch to strong dishes based on meat and game: the lamb coratella, flavored with salt, pepper, white wine and rosemary will make it difficult to decide between it and the traditional castrated mutton chops in scottadito, grilled and spread with a mixture made with ground lard and ham fat, flavored with rosemary, garlic, sage, celery, onion and marjoram. Your nose and taste buds will be lost in the myriad of tastes and aromas. Don’t forget to try the “pillotto,” a particular cooking technique that consists in melting over the meat on a spit a nice piece of fat rolled up like a funnel and wrapped in a thick sheet of straw paper. The paper is burned halfway through cooking, letting the grease drip down on the meat. It makes no difference whether it is goat, lamb, chicken, pigeon, quail or doves, you can be sure of the excellent result!

And finally it’s time for dessert! The crescionda is a soft and tasty egg-based dessert, flavored with a mixture of flavors expertly blended together – from milk to macaroons, to grated dark chocolate, cinnamon, a tablespoon of mistrà (an anice flavored liqueur) and lemon zest. Another delicious traditional dessert, with a typical spiral shape, consists of a soft mixture of eggs, sugar and liqueur (alchermes or rum), to which apples, grated dark chocolate, walnuts and raisins are added. It is brushed with oil after baking and sprinkled with sugar. A feast for your palate!

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