Over the next several weeks, Marist Italy will be posting about the gastronomical specialties of the 20 regions of Italy. These guides were created by Alessandra Bianco, Marist Italy MA, 2013-14.
Next in our series is the region of Umbria, Tuscany’s neighbor to the southeast. Umbria, a small region with great tastes, has enough variety to satisfy all palates. This landlocked region is a home to one of the most valued and sought after food items in the world, as well as the other famous chocolate kiss. Read on to find out what culinary treasures await you in Umbria.
The best dish for meat lovers is pork, masterfully treated by Umbrian butchers who turn the meat into delicacies like sausages, tasty hams and salami, like those of Norcia, to eat with unsalted bread that brings out the flavor of the meats.
Prosciutto di Norcia IGP – The Norcia area does not have ideal conditions for agriculture. Historically, the people of Norcia tended to focus on raising animals instead of growing crops. This naturally aged, salted meat comes from the rump of mature hogs. It is known for its savory aroma and flavor, without being overwhelmingly salty. The color of Prosciutto di Norcia ranges from pink to red. The Valnerina district is home to the production zone for this meat, as long as the land is 500 meters above sea level.
The most precious product in Umbria is truffle, and the most common variety in the region is the black truffle. Black truffle is very popular with pasta or with game, especially in the area of Norcia and Spoleto. The more valuable white truffles can be found in Umbria as well, particularly in the Tiberina Valley, Orvieto and Gubbio.
For dessert, you must try the typical Umbrian cake, panpepato, a dark spice cake made with dried fruits and nuts, as well as other regional desserts made according to centuries-old recipes.
Umbria is particularly suitable for wine growing, and its mild climate gives this land top-quality white and red wines. Among the many well-known wine labels from Umbria are Assisi Grechetto and Sagrantino di Montefalco.
And finally, possibly Umbria’s most famous culinary delight of all…
Their most famous product are the “Baci” chocolate “kisses” filled with hazelnut, wrapped in a multilingual love note. These love notes are written in Italian, English, French, German, Greek, Spanish, or Portuguese.
Perugina’s history began in 1907 in Perugia when Francesco Andreani, Leone Ascoli, Francesco Buitoni and Annibale Spagnoli founded the Perugina Society for the manufacture of candies. From a basement the lab moved to a plant in Fontivegge and added the production of candies, chocolate and cocoa powder to their confections. In this way the “Luisa” chocolate bar was born, dedicated to one of the founders of Perugina, Luisa Spagnoli, and the Bacio Perugina and Rossana’s candies, classic products of the factory. In 1939 Perugina opened on New York’s Fifth Avenue, with the aim of winning the American heart and it did this with a new product: a gianduiotti (chocolate in the shape of an upturned boat) bag with an affordable price for everyone. Today Baci Perugina has become symbolic of love, and more and more couples exchange these sweet kisses on Valentine’s Day.
All information about Perugina Chocolate © Nestle