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"Slow food ? or the discovery of dishes? soul" Top 5 Page for this destination Umbria Favorite Tip by Trekki

Umbria General: 13 reviews and 38 photos

  Umbrian saffron and tiny green asparagus
by Trekki
  • Umbrian saffron and tiny green asparagus - Umbria
      Umbrian saffron and tiny green asparagus
    by Trekki
  • Umbrian Cannara onions in Sagrantino sauce - Umbria
      Umbrian Cannara onions in Sagrantino sauce
    by Trekki
  • Bevagna, Arte in tavola festival, food of course - Umbria
      Bevagna, Arte in tavola festival, food of course
    by Trekki
  • Slow Food - dishes for the soul :-) - Umbria
      Slow Food - dishes for the soul :-)
    by Trekki

Favorite thing: When the first McD place was about to open in Italy, a group of people in Piemonte were so furious with this act of sacrileg in Italy that they founded the opposite, called “Slow Food”. It soon became a big movement throughout whole Italy and also in some other parts of the planet. Their major goal is to preserve the local specialities and also regain cultivation of heirloom specialities.
The most fascinating example here is saffron in Cascia. Slowfood’s website mentions that saffron was very popular near Cascia in 16th and 17th century, but over the years almost got extinguished. Initiatives by local farmers made it possible that by now it is cultivated on 22 farms and yields in approx. 3 kg per year. 150.000 flowers are needed to produce 1 kg of dried stems. Each g costs about 25 €. There is even a Saffron Fair held each October in Cascia. I can certainly judge that Umbria's saffron is very much delicious. To be precise, it was the first time I actually sensed the taste when I had my saffron dish in Bevagna (photo 1).

Another plant which almost got forgotten and is recultivated now is the red onions of Cannara (Cannara is north of Bevagna). They are very delicious, less hot than “normal” onions and even a bit sweet. In Umbria, they are often served with beef (photo 2). And of course, Cannnara also helds a festival for their famous product: Cannara, in September.

On the Slow Travel website is an article about black celery. I haven’t tasted it when I was in Umbria, as I was foucussed so much on truffles, Sagrantino wine, asparagus and saffron that I obviously forgot. But Anne Robichaud’s article Slow Travel – black celery festival makes me hungry once more.
Anne Robichaud, by the way, offers also cooking lessons in Assisi. That’s another possibility for Umbria travel planning: visit a cooking class. Given what I ate during my holiday, to learn how to make these heavenly dishes would be an excellent way of spending a couple of days.

But my most favourite food while in Umbria was the tiny green asparagus. I don’t like our German thick white asparagus at all and was astonished about myself after my first bite into this soft and tasty little green one. I came to the point that I was craving for the next dish with green asparagus almost the moment when I left a restaurant.

Fondest memory: I think that you got the idea behind Slow Food. I can only speak for my own experience with this all. It was as if I needed to become 48 years to learn what food is all about. The dishes taste real (as opposed to what I call plastic food wrapped in supermarkets) and all of it is grown organic. My saffron experience was only one example, the green asparagus another. But already now I long to go back to Umbria just for the heavenly pleasure of eating.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 9, 2008
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