Eating out: when Rob has difficulty getting to sleep, he counts local eating places – far more interesting than sheep (even New Zealand ones!) – and can arrive at approximately 50 which are within a half-hour’s drive…. These include ‘trattorie’, which serve simple traditional local fare, pizzerias and restaurants catering for all tastes and pockets.
Local specialities: these include ‘tartufi’ (truffles), ‘porcini’ and other wild funghi, ‘porchetta’ – suckling pig stuffed with a secret recipe of herbs and spices (i.e. salt, pepper, garlic and wild fennel fronds!), then cooked in a wood-fired oven and sold from vans at local markets, ‘pecorino’ – sheep’s milk cheese, local buffalo-milk mozzarella cheese, chestnut honey, locally produced olive oil, vin santo’ – literally ‘holy wine’ – a dessert wine usually accompanied by ‘cantuccini’ almond biscuits.
Wine: most restaurants in the area serve house wine of a good standard. Many also have a wine list with a range of good quality Italian wines.
Vegetarians: Jane is vegetarian and can affirm that, even though meat-eating is a strong part of the culture in this part of Italy, there is plenty of choice in restaurants among starters and first courses (pasta dishes), and generally there are salads and at least one vegetable side-dish offered. As far as pizzas are concerned, you can just choose the topping ingredients you wish for. In general, eating places are happy to cater for any particular dietary needs and take pride in good service.
Bars and cafés: An important part of a holiday in Umbria, as in any part of Italy, is to rest your feet at a bar or café and watch the world go by as you enjoy a cappuccino, perhaps accompanied by a pastry (“cornetto” or “pasta”), or a drink such as a prosecco or refreshing cocktail, the latter frequently accompanied by tasty bar snacks. And then of course there are the delicious “gelati” where the only problem is which flavours to choose!