Slow Food at a Fast Pace

Orvieto, January 28 weather sunny, crisp & cool.

What is that I nose in my glass. Vaguely honey/ muscat-like aroma, with a flinty fruity palate. This is nothing like the bland Orvieto that I have tasted stateside. It’s been a hectic first day with the —trying to stay with the tour.

Our first stop in Umbria is the cobble-stoned town of Orvieto with its jaw-dropping duomo and historical caves. New world architecture captures historical ambience in the town’s enoteca where we are seated and treated. Walked and talked through to three of the region’s wines, Custido Orvieto, Calenco Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon and Cardito Muffata (a sauternes-like sticky). The red smacks of berry fruits, the sweet wine of apricots and almonds.

Orvieto, town and landscape is also wedded to the Slow Food Movement. The head office Citta Slow has its head office there as well. As we taste and learn about the wines our hostess shares he knowledge of the charcuterie, wild boar, cheeses, grains and pulses, (fave beans in particular), for which the region is noted.

At La Pergola, fat noodles are a vehicle for those favas which get pureed, sauced and dotted with guanciale (pig’s cheek). Wild boar too shows up as pate, stew, and sausage for another thinner noodled dish—and surprisingly good with another Orvieto—Il Caio but better with Elicius a blend of indigenous montepulciano/sagrantino grapes. Falesco (a blend of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc) slowly evolved, perfect for two off the menu surprises; a casserole of the boar’s “fifth quarter” (aka the animal’s naughty bits) and a dish of tripe with tomato sauce.

Another sweetie, Palazone, neither vin santo or sauternes hints strongly of marmalade and nutmeg. What a tops off our lively food and wine  evening.  Bread and silence are firmly broken for our week to come

Stumbling back to our gracious digs, the Hotel Piccolomini I crawl between the smooth, silky sheets.

Umbria already comes off as distinctly different from more famous (and touristic) Tuscany. I say bring it on.

Looking forward to Montefalco. Stay tuned…

Julie Pegg
Freelance food/wine/travel
Vancouver Editor/Senior writer/EAT Magazine
Kitsilano Wine Cellar/wine retail