Food and wine are as much a part of Umbria's charm as its scenery and history. Regional dishes are flavorful without being fussy or fancy. Umbria is known for its olive oil, salami, farro, lentils, grilled meats, game birds, chocolate and honey.

Regional Pasta & Legume

Strangozzi

When it comes to pasta, each region of Italy has its own particular favorites. In Umbria, the native pasta is strangozzi (sometimes called stringozzi). Related to the word ‘strangle,’ it is a rough noodle, long and thick. 

Castelluccio lentils, are the typical legume, and have been awarded the IGT (Indicazione Geografiche Tipiche). These beans are famous for their delicate taste and tiny size.

Meats of Umbria

Porchetta

Considered a delicacy, Chianini beef is from cattle that have been raised in Umbria for over two millennia. But the king of meats here is the pig – cooked in a wood-fired oven or roasted on a spit. Norcia is famous for pork processing, this is where you will find one of Italy’s best prosciuttos. Umbria’s lakes and rivers mean plenty of fresh fish, too.

The Black Truffles of Norcia

Truffle Dog

Truffles are underground fungi that grow among the roots of trees. Their season is late October through February, and this alone makes Umbria well worth visiting in wintertime, when truffles adorn grilled meats and pastas and are shaved and grated onto every kind of dish imaginable. Truffles are usually hunted by dogs that can detect their scent even a foot underground. Sometimes pigs are used, but they tend to eat the truffles once they find them!

Umbrian Wines

The wines of Umbria include the “magnificent thirteen” – eleven DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) wines and two of the highest quality DOCG wines (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). Montefalco is known for its Sagrantino di Montefalco (DOCG) and Montefalco Rosso (DOC), but the most prestigious Umbrian wine is Torgiano Rosso “riserva” (DOCG). Orvieto produces one of Italy’s best-selling DOC white wines. There's an old story that says that, when Luca Signorelli was asked to paint the fresco in the cathedral in Orvieto, he had it put in his contract that he be given as much of the wine of Orvieto as he wanted.

When you visit Umbria, take advantage of your location in the heart of the famous Orvieto Classico white wine region to visit some of the smaller local vineyards. Call a day or two ahead of time to arrange a tasting at Decugnano dei Barbi, between Todi and Orvieto; or just stop where the vineyard attracts or the cantina sign entices you.

Regional Specialties of Umbria

  • Lenticchie di Castelluccio – The most sought-after lentils in Italy, so tender they require no soaking. Look for them in flavorful meat stews featuring anything from rabbit to sausage.
  • Minestra di farro – spelt soup
  • Torta al testo con i ciccioli – focaccia bread baked on a stone disk and stuffed with little pieces of pork
  • Pan nociatio – bread specialty made with pecorino cheese, walnuts and pine nuts
  • Spaghetti alla Norcina – pasta with black truffle, sausage and cream
  • Ciaramicola – sweetheart cake
  • Tozzetti – almond biscotti
  • Tegamaccio – fresh-water fish stew from the area around Lake Trasimeno
  • Fagiana all'uva – pheasant cooked with grapes

 

Try cooking Umbrian style at home, an easy to make favorite recipe of ours is Pasta with Olives, Umbrian Style.