Tag Archives: seasonal

Dining: Just in time for Umbrian White Truffles at Spirito di Vino | Montefalco, Italy

My series of entries from my time in Umbria concludes with our last dinner in Montefalco at the award-winning Spirito di Vino. If I could go back in time to the day of our visit, I would change only two things:

-I wouldn’t have over-ordered.
-I would have made arrangements to stay in Montefalco instead of driving back late (in pitch black darkness) to Perugia.

Spirito diVino has got to be one of my most favorite dining destinations in Italy. Why? Because they’ve got a ridiculously solid wine list (boasting hyper-local and natural wines), and their simple farm-to-table cuisine is rustic yet luxurious. Aside from the copious amounts of Paolo Bea’s wine, it was one pasta dish that particularly blew me away. This, my friends, was the BEST pasta dish we had in Italy:

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Handmade pasta with a light truffle cream sauce, generously covered in fresh white truffle shavings. OMG.

Need I say more? Had the meal ended right then and there, I would have been happy as a clam. My error was in thinking that this needed to be a multi-course affair. Once my (still delicious) pork tenderloin came out with a melange of sweet peppers, I began to fade into the depths of too much food & too much wine sleepiness. My couple of bites of the boy’s eggplant dish was cheesy, comforting goodness which also didn’t help in aiding my looming exhaustion from the day’s wandering.

Luckily, dessert helped put the pep back into my spirit. A clever dessert of sorbets and gelato utilizing the shells & bodies of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that lend them their flavors was an almost meta dessert experience. Walnut ice cream made with the walnut meat and then shoved back into the shell, a sweet green bell pepper turned into sorbet and scooped back into it’s body…flavors I wouldn’t have dared to consider as a sweet end to a meal. And on top of that, a small tiramisu because I’m just a sucker for those it seems.

Overall, this intimate meal was a memorable one. And while the prices weren’t as economical as other places we visited on this trip, it surely didn’t break the bank and was worth every penny. Be sure to make advanced reservations, and be patient with the service. Our lovely hostess was also the only waitress of the evening, but with that wine list, who can really complain?
Spirito di Vino is located at Piazza Mustafa 2, Montefalco, Umbria, Italy, 06036. www.spiritodivino.net. 

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Filed under seasonal foods, local eateries, fruits and vegetables, organic, Comfort Food, wine, local food, Vacation, Travel, Italian, Dinner, Travelogue, Pork, Pasta, Italy

Sunday Bloody Sunday: Homemade Blood Orangello

Inspired by the beautiful blood oranges that are still available at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, we decided to make some blood orangello (a variation on the Italian limoncello/orangello) to help kick start the impending summer. I have made limoncello before with some of my favorite citrus, but it’s the delicate blood orange version that I often have a hankering for.

Orangello is incredibly easy to make. All you really need for the base is a couple dozen small oranges, a good microplane zester, an air-tight jug, simple syrup, and a whole lot of patience. You can use your choice of clear liquors (vodka, gin, or grain alcohol like Everclear), but I like to use a neutral-tasting vodka for a more delicate result. Absolut 100 does the trick without breaking the bank. The quality of the vodka does not need to be anything too fancy, but it is recommended that your spirit have a proof of 100 or more so that the mixture does not freeze when the simple syrup is added later on.

I have put my own spin on the simple orangello recipe by using high-quality, organic blood oranges. I also make a blood orange simple syrup as to not waste the wonderful juice — this gives it a really bright punch of flavor at the end, making it all the more flavorful. The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it yields enough juice to use for the recipe and enough left over to store blood orange simple syrup for other uses including cakes, Italian sodas, and cocktails. Continue reading

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Filed under Cocktails, fruits, Liquor, seasonal foods