Tag Archives: truffles

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


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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

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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:

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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.