Umbria in tavola
The rolling hills of Umbria are covered with olive trees and flocks of sheep. The local olive oil and sheep’s milk cheeses are served with the region’s famous lentils and prosciutto di Norcia.
Around the mountainous heart of the Apennines, you will find the green rolling hills of Umbria. The hills are covered with olive trees and are interspersed with cities full of history and artistic treasures.
Visit the small, medieval towns, blessed by the former presence of St. Francis, that contain Roman amphitheaters, temples and ruins. Perugia, the capital of Umbria, was built on top of a hill that has been governed by many different ruling parties throughout the centuries. Take a walk through the silent forests or mysterious fog that often surrounds Lake Trasimeno and seems to keep it frozen in time since the Middles Ages. It is no surprise that Umbria was home to many great Italian Saints.
Extra virgin olive oil DOP comes from olives grown on hills and is a fundamental ingredient in Umbrian cooking and gives life to the rich, aromatic flavors. Due to the hilly, mountainous terrain, only particular crops can be grown here like grains and legumes, including the famous Castelluccio IGP lentils. The region’s prized black and white truffles grow in the forests of Norci and Spoleto in the areas of Gubbio and Gualdo.
Sheep are raised and herded throughout Umbria and the other regions along the Apennines. As a result, you find a variety of sheep’s milk cheese like pecorino, ricotta salata and mixed sheep and cow’s milk caciotte. Meat is also an integral part of Umbrian cuisine and is often spit-roasted over a Ghiotta, a large pan filled with herbs that collects the fat that will be converted into a sauce after cooking. Veal, lamb, goat and pork are all raised here.
Umbrian pigs lived in the forests and ate acorns and chestnuts that gave the meat its characteristic flavor and texture. People took special pride in how their pigs were raised and treated, especially in the mountainous area of Norcia. Over the centuries, the word norcino, or person from Norcia, became synonymous with butcher. The most important cured meat in Umbria is without a doubt Prosciutto di Norcia IGP, followed by pork sausages and mazzafegati, a pork and liver sausage that can be traced back to Renaissance tables.