Todi, together with another 10 Umbrian towns, is a CITTASLOW, “where man is still at the centre of the slow, beneficial succession of the seasons”. Umbria also boasts no less than 22 of the most beautiful ancient villages in Italy, bearing witness to the various ages that have shaped these places which have remained almost untouched by development and modernity.
In this magical context, the local culture doesn’t just reveal itself in monuments and works of art, but also in the way in which nature and the countryside, over the centuries, has shaped the region’s traditions, rituals, festivals and above all its recipes.
Traditional rural food is the mainspring of Umbrian gastronomy, and within this one area there are a thousand different presentations and intriguing elaborations, from a snack at a wine-bar to a sumptuous dinner, from famous chefs to local cooks.
The list of Umbrian specialities is simple but never boring and includes some unique and noteworthy products (such as Castelluccio lentils, Monteleone spelt, Colfiorito red potatoes, pecorino DOP (sheep’s cheese), Norcia ham), and true rarities: la roveja of Civita di Cascia, an ancient vegetable which has been fondly (and incredibly) revived, the Trasimeno bean, the Trevi black celery.
And then the biggest star of all: HRH the truffle, in its prized black variety (tasty, typical of the area of Norcia) white (rare but present above all in the northern part of the Tiber valley) and Scorzone (which appear in the summer in nearly all of Umbria).
Not to be missed: the Truffle Exhibition markets at Citta di Castello, Fabro, Gubbio, Norcia and Valtopina.
olioThe secret to all Umbrian recipes is the magical ingredient of extra virgin olive oil. The delicacy of this precious mixture derives from a variety of olives: il Moraiolo, il Leccino and il Frantoio from the groves that line the rolling Umbrian hills.
When visiting the old towns and cities, don’t forget the oil mills that are so common in Umbrian. To plan visits and tastings to discover precious little secrets and tasty recipes, just follow the itineraries drawn up by the “Associazione Strade dell’olio DOP Umbria” – the Umbrian DOP olive oil route association.
No trip to this panoramic region would be complete without one final element of Umbria’s cultural and eno-gastronomic wealth: Wine.
To help you discover the wine-growing areas and vineyards, to appreciate the tastes and the origins of a product which features on the wine lists of some of the best restaurants in the world, you have at hand:
Wine tastings can be organised on request, taking you to some of the best wine cellars of our region, or you can spend a day on a wine-tour with mini-bus and driver.
For those who want to deepen their knowledge in an entertaining way: Cookery courses.
Olive oil tasting course: led by experts who can teach you to recognize and appreciate the flavours and aftertastes, qualities and shortcomings of olive oil in a convivial context. On request, with a minimum of 6 participants.
A curious episode which gives you an idea of “slow” living at Todi.
There is a small barber shop where you don’t just go to have your hair cut. A group of devoted clients have been going there for ages to exchange a few words, read and comment on the newspaper, just like at the bar and local social club. One day a client enters and sits down and waits in the queue amongst those chatting away. After a bit he notices that the barber isn’t there and asks the others what’s happening. They answer: Ernest has gone for a week’s skiing holiday. And he asks: if that’s the case then why is the barbers’ open? Their answer was: he left us the keys because otherwise we wouldn’t have had anywhere to meet…