Autumn treats to eat
Fall is the ideal season for a gourmet shopping spree in Umbria!
Autumn is the perfect time of year to visit Umbria, especially if you want to taste (and take home with you) the fruits of this green and fertile land. This is the season when Umbria's white truffles surface (for freshly-picked black truffle, you'll need to come back in February) and when the region's ancient towns and art cities host any number of fairs and festivals celebrating their much-loved hypogenous fungi.
An autumn escape in Umbria? Take a look at ItalyTraveller's unique selection of luxury and boutique hotels in Umbria
Gubbio: white truffles on black plates
One of Italy's most important truffle fairs is held in Gubbio each autumn. A great opportunity to combine a tasting of precious white truffles with a tour of the medieval masterpieces lining the streets of Gubbio, the Mostre Mercato del Tartufo sees the city's piazzas filled with stalls selling every type of truffly treat (make sure you try the truffle honey - served with a selection of local cheeses).
Shopping in Gubbio is not just about food and, in fact, this ancient Umbrian city is as famous for its centuries-old pottery tradition as it is for its tasty tubers. Of Etruscan origin, Gubbio's "bucchero nero" or black bucchero is made with a precious, hand-burnished clay, baked in a wood-burning oven. Those in-the-know buy their pottery from: Rossi, via Savelli della Porta - Gubbio Tel +39 075 9222050.
Looking for a unique location in which to taste a truffle-trimmed lasagna? Book a table in the 13th century Grotta dell'Angelo under Piazza Grande! via Gioia 47 - Gubbio Tel +39 075 9273438
Citta di Castello: woodland wonders
Città di Castello's gastronomic jamboree celebrates not only Umbria's highly-prized white truffle, but all the other magical morsels which spontaneously grow in the woods surrounding this beautiful Umbrian town too, such as wild mushrooms, chestnuts, and berries.
Whilst you're at the fair, make sure you stock up on the cheese, cold meats, olive oil and honey for which this part of the Upper Tiber valley is renowned.
Norcia: welcome to sausage city!
Proof of the long-standing link between the town of Norcia and artisan charcuterie, in Italian the word "norcino" is synonymous with "sausage-filler". Historically, it was in this little town that Umbria's best pig butchers were born. To this very day, the town is famous for its pork products.
Where to shop
Fill your shopping trolley with Norcia's prosciutto, salsicce, lonza, capocollo and salame coralline here:
- Brancaleone da Norcia corso Sertorio 17 Norcia Tel: 0743 817534
- Antica Norcineria Fratelli Ansuini viale della Stazione Norcia Tel: +39 0743 816809
- Il Norcino - località Campi di Norcia - Norcia (PG) Tel: +39 0743 820133
Sausages are not the only gastronomic delicacy for which this town dominated by the Sibillini Mountains is famous. Just outside Norcia, the district of Castelluccio is renowned for its IGP lentils. In autumn, the 'slow' variety of this tiny lentil is used to make delicious, protein-packed soups.
Purchase your pulses at the Azienda Agricola Emilia Perla, via Pian Grande Castelluccio - Norcia Tel: +39 0743 821105
In the town's typical restaurants, autumn menus might easily include seasonal pasta dishes such as strangozzi with truffle and homemade tagliatelle in wild mushroom sauce, to be followed by a plate of lamb and, of course, lentils.
- Member of the Locali Storici d'Italia association, the Granaro del Monte, in via Alfieri 12, has been in the business for 150 years!
- In Piazza San Benedetto, Norcia's main square, the Enoteca Beccofino stocks a selection of extremely quaffable local wines, served with a plateful of the town's famous cold-cuts.
Cascia: harvesting gold dust
Just a few kilometers from Norcia, Cascia has become famous for the cultivation of one of the world's most costliest spices: saffron. Each Autumn, the inhabitants of the hamlet organize a 3 day festival celebrating Cascia's edible gold. Guided visits of the farms where the saffron is grown and tastings of dishes prepared with the precious spice are organized throughout the festival. If you want to buy some authentic artisan-made saffron, make sure you purchase it from a certified member of the Zafferano Purissimo di Cascia Association. One such member is:
Azienda Roberto Persiani, località Colmotino - Cascia (PG) Tel: +39 0743755322
Dates for 2012
Gubbio - Mostra Mercato del tartufo bianco: 31 October - 4 November
Città di Castello: Sagra del tartufo bianco e dei prodotti del bosco: 2-4 November
Cascia: Sagra dello zafferano: 1-4 November
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