Tag Archives: truffles

Osteria dei Re – Farm to Table dining in Gubbio

Osteria dei Re - signOsteria dei Re
Via Cavour, 15/B
06024 Gubbio (PG)
Owner: Moreno Brunelli

Osteria dei Re is on the only true osteria in Gubbio, so it is important to owner Moreno Brunelli, that it maintain its authenticity. What is an osteria? In the past, it was a simple tavern where the townsfolk would come mostly to drink wine together, enjoying whatever simple fare was offered on the side. It was never a restaurant, and therefore, the offerings were few – simple, local, and freshly prepared. Moreno adheres to this, offering a limited menu that celebrates a tradition his grandmother enjoyed in this very same osteria nearly eighty years ago.  It is like a step back in time to be having lunch in this rustic tavern.  There is also outdoor dining in the piazza.

This is truly a farm to table experience, with ALL the products carefully selected from local farmers who do not engage in raising factory-fed animals, but rather on a small scale, practice sustainable, organic farming. From the olive oil to the wine, from the pork to the poultry, Moreno personally knows the source or he would not be serving it. He even barters wine and bread with a local peasant who brings him fresh rosemary, sage, and other herbs from the mountainside. No elaborate recipes are needed to show off this cuisine.

Osteria dei Re - Piattone del Re

So what better way to experience what this osteria has perfected than to indulge in the Piattone del Re – otherwise known as the King’s Platter? Serving two persons, but enough for four, the platter is about 18 inches in diameter and is a feast of flavors. Starting with the warm crescia, the traditional flat bread of Gubbio, we first sample the two small bowls of cottiche e fagioli, an immensely flavorful bowl of borlotti beans in a tomato sauce with pork rind. Going clockwise around the platter, there is bruschetta with crispy thin slices of quanciale, polenta with lard, puréed zucchini, roasted potatoes, fried sage, prosciutto and caciotta cheese with truffles. How we had room to share a decadent chocolate dessert is a mystery.

Osteria dei Re - birthday board

The Osteria dei Re recently celebrated 18 years in business. Moreno does it right and his grandmother would be proud!  Congratulations!

copyright Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.menus-and-memories.com

A Simple Feast at Il Granaro del Monte

Il Granaro

Il Granaro del Monte
Hotel Grotta Azzurra
Via Alfieri 7
06046 Norcia (PG)

We feasted at our hotel’s restaurant, Il Granaro del Monte, considered a national culinary monument.  I was in agreement from the very first savory bite.  What makes their cooking so extraordinary?  Ordinary, wholesome ingredients prepared with a love and respect for the land that produces them – Norcia!  The Black Truffle is king and is an essential part of the cuisine of Umbria.  Truffles are best consumed shortly after being extracted from the ground, as their particularly strong scent and taste fade quickly.   At the Granaro, the chef does not allow this to happen and he prepares the truffles in countless ways.  For me, they are absolutely divine simply perched on a mound of handmade tagliatelle.   But a meal would not be complete without sampling Norcia’s lamb and cured pork specialties, the lentils of Castelluccio (presented here in a velvety soup), the spelt, the cheeses…

Picture the sheep as they graze in the flower-filled meadow of Castelluccio, the cheeses made from the sheep’s milk, the honey of a thousand wildflowers.  These are the elements that are used to recreate traditional dishes following ageless recipes, held dear by the Bianconi family and presented daily to their guests.


copyright – Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com


Truffle Heaven at Ristorante alla Balestra

Alla Balestra

Ristorante alla Balestra
Via della Republica, 41
Gubbio (PG)

Owners:  Marco Paciotti & Gialla Bianconi

If there is a truffle heaven, then my daughter and I are seated at the banquet table in one of its palaces. We are enjoying the shade of its canopied terrace with a view of the terracotta rooftops of Gubbio, a medieval hilltown in Umbria. Ristorante alla Balestra provides the magic. Twenty years ago when a local restaurant was closing, present owners Marco and Gialla had the foresight to purchase it and turn it into what soon became and remains today a favorite with the local eugubini. The unsurpassed quality of their Umbrian cuisine – a cuisine that is exquisitely simple and wholly satisfying – is the reason why. Their truffle offerings put them right over the top.

The pumpkin-colored table linens and sleek putty-colored chairs blend well with the warm ancient stone of this centuries-old palazzo. Subtle beauty enfolds us. It is quiet as we embark on this truffle journey, led by the owner who chooses for us. A dish arrives, like a temple offering, holding a thin slice of pork with pear and caciotta cheese, crowned with delectable truffle shavings. Our panzanella is topped with a large prawn, Marco explains, “to far figura” and indeed we are impressed. This is followed by scrambled eggs with truffles. What do you call an antipasto that follows an antipasto? Divine!

Our banquet in paradiso continues with a sampling of umbricelli alla norcina al tartufo – thick hand-made noodles bathed in a cream sauce of sausage, porcini and truffles followed by a tasting portion of tagliatelle con sugo d’oca (duck sauce). In Umbria, pork is king and it reigns here prepared in a reduced Rubesco wine sauce with red onion from Cannara. Our wine? A DOC Grechetto from Vigna di Clara,

We were wise to have Marco guide us through the this multi-course meal. If we had looked at their menu, truly we would never have been able to decide. La Balestra, by the way, means cross-bow or catapult. It might take a catapult to remove us from this table.

Alla Balestra - Owner Marco

Marco Paciotti, Owner


copyright Ginda Simpson – http://www.rooms-withaview.comhttp://www.gindasimpson.com


A Truffle Feast in Montone

Antica Osteria WEB

Ristorante L’Antica Osteria

Piazza Braccio Fortebraccio, 5/6
06014 Montone (PG)
Owners: Luca and Filippo Fumanti

In the main square of the small town of Montone, a hilltop gem outside of Umbertide, one will find Ristorante Antica Osteria, an unpretentious restaurant that offers unforgettable cuisine. An old restaurant under the new ownership of two young brothers, this charming restaurant is not to be missed. Antica Osteria - carpaccio with truffles WEBThe dining room is decorated is tones of burgundy and dark chocolate, heart-healthy colors. The cuisine is simple, yet rich and perhaps not ideal for the heart but perfect for the soul. And the view of the Umbrian countryside from the panoramic windows only enriches the experience.

Filippo serAntica Osteria - Taglierini al tartufo WEBves while brother Luca, a self-taught cook, prepares the most delectable dishes focusing on the prize of local gastronomy – the truffle. The house antipasti are generous and varied – Chianina beef carpaccio al tartufo bianchetto, eggs scrambled and topped with the prized black truffle from Norcia, pork liver paté on crunchy bruschetta. The delicately flavoured black truffle is featured again in our first course, topping handmaAntica Osteria - Tagliata al tartufo WEBde taglierini, followed by Tagliata of beef with white truffles. All of these dishes are made even better by the use of some of the finest olive oil I’ve tasted.

The entire meal has been a Tartufo celebration, the ingredients perfectly balanced to create enticing flavours and beautiful dishes. How does one learn to cook like this on one’s own? An innate passion for food coupled with a deep respect for the land that provides it. Luca is not unlike many Italian chefs, but he is young and has already achieved real excellence. Bravo!

Antica Osteria - Filippo and Luca Fumanti WEB

Filippo and Luca

All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.


Gnocchi from Heaven – at the Taverna dei Consoli

Via della Fortezza, 1
Piazza del Comune
Owner: Maria Rosa Tiradossi


Taverna dei Consoli is a restaurant in the heart of Assisi that has been satisfying folks since 1936.  When Maria Rosa, the current owner, inherited the family ristorante founded by her maternal grandmother, she inherited more than a business – she took over the willingness to work hard and pursue with unrelenting passion, like her family before her, their  love for Umbria and its cuisine.  Her husband, Moreno, offers equal amounts of hard work and dedication.  He contributes an amicable presence in the dining room, seeing to his guests personally, proudly explaining the Umbrian specialties they serve and his part in creating some of them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe menu offers almost exclusively Umbrian cuisine, pure and simple.  One of the three exceptions is Moreno’s signature gnocchi made with gorgonzola – a non-Umbrian cheese – and local truffles.  We start with this dish.  These potato gnocchi are light and fluffy, the creamy sauce delicate and the added truffles, divine.  My daughter and I agree.  The gnocchi have simply fallen from the heavens onto our plates!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATagliata of tender beef with porcini mushrooms are accompanied by a tangy salad of fennel “slaw” with pecorino cheese and a bright radicchio salad with walnuts, pecorino and balsamic.  A perfect marriage, as they would say here in Italy. 

We shamefully indulge in a shared dessert of puff pastry with Chantilly cream and dark chocolate. The sunshine warms our shoulders on the outdoor terrace on this late October afternoon inviting us to linger.   As if good food were not enough OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAreason to choose this popular Assisi restaurant, its location is ideal.  Overlooking the Piazza del Comune, in the heart of the city, one gets a view of rooftops and balconies, potted geraniums and colorful flags.  No background music is necessary.  The murmur of voices and the trickling waters of the central fountain below are the only concert one needs to feel content.


Maria Rosa & Moreno

Read more about other lovely hotels and restaurants in Italy,  Rooms with a View and Italian Wanderlust, by clicking on their covers:

Rooms cover      italian wanderlust 2

All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.