Thursday, November 1, 2018


Last weekend was the Pan Olio Festival, the Olive Oil festival, in Panicale. 
Saturday was beautiful which prompted James and I to go out for lunch.
We walked to the piazza and decided to eat at Osteria Il Gallo Nel Pozzo.
Which was once an apartment and the first place we stayed in Panicale.


They have a creative take on traditional Italian recipes, like this interesting twist on
Veal in Tuna Sauce.....or in this case thin slices of veal with a mousse of smoked fish  and capers
from Lake Trasimeno, finished with capers, caper leaves and apple.
As pleasing to the palette as it was to the eye!


James ordered 'Ravioli Carbonara',
a deconstructed version of the classic Roman dish Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Inside each ravioli was
a fully cooked egg yolk surrounded by a sauce made of Pecorino Cheese, then
sprinkled with crispy bits of guanciale.
 James said, "I could have had another plateful, but sometimes, less is really more."( or at least enough).

 Since I knew we were having a pasta at dinner, I ordered the Gnudi, a type
of dumpling made of
sheep ricotta  and spinach with tomato sauce and crispy onions on top.


Dessert is not to be overlooked here. I love semifreddo, so when I saw it on the menu
I had to have it! Chocolate chestnut , passionfruit, each drizzled with a salted caramel sauce.
It nearly brought me to tears.

The creme brûlée that James ordered came in a rich shortbread crust upon which the
ubiquitous Frutta di Bosco was spread in a thin layer under the silky smooth
creme brûlée  with it shatteringly crisp crust.
Can I have another one?

The owners, Simone and Lorena, who is also the chef,
along with Giada who is part of the crew.




As we ate our lunch we noticed cases of wine and olive oil
being wheeled into the piazza for the festival.
After lunch we walked over to a table where a man, who is an artist
and musician, had set up a table. He offered us a piece of 'fish', which turned
out to be  Sicilian marzipan, almond paste. Then he showed us his book on Lake Trasimeno.
We bought one. It is all in Italian, so it will take some time to read it, but, we will try.

Monday, October 29, 2018

PAN OLIO ( Panicale)


Festivals to celebrate The Harvest are, and always have been, common
in Italy. After all, a good harvest is never taken for granted.

After a couple of disappointing years, this year's harvest, raccolto, is a 
very good one. Smiles are as abundant as olives.


Olive oil producers, wine makers, and just about anybody who is local and 
makes something delicious converge on Panicale to offer samples (and hopefully sell) 
their wares.

 The new olive oil  drizzled on bread. for a taste.

Despite some challenging weather we set out to explore some of the Cantinas.....
Our friend, Laurie, encouraged us to stop at Cantina 6 and sample the Cherry Dessert Wine. It was
very good, along with the cherry biscotti and cherry grappa! Of course, we did not walk
away empty handed!

This woman is selling local saffron. Along with the small jars of saffron,
she also has products that she has made using saffron.

Saffron.....'zafferano '

Just about every nook in town is occupied. With our tickets 
came two pouches, each equipped with a wine glass
 for tastings, and a map, with so much wine to sample we will need
it to find our way back home !

In this Cantina there was cheese, capicola, salami's  and wine to sample.
James bought some capicola.

Local honey

More wine and oil...... This years olive oil is extraordinary in taste and color.

Here is a still life with our harvest from the vendors!

Buona  giornata!

Friday, October 26, 2018



We watch the lake in constant flux. We watch as billowing clouds fill the sky. We watch
storms and lightening over the lake. The water is sometimes green, other times blue
and sometimes the shadows  overhead clouds are cast upon its water in a myriad
of patterns.

Castiglione del Lago

The Heartfelts are here in Panicale and lent us their map of Lago Trasimeno.
They have been busy touring around the lake and boating out
to the islands to explore. Yello Hoodie Boy likes visiting the castle up in
Castiglione del Lago


La Campannina

After all that walking we began to think about lunch and instead
of going back home we decided to find someplace to eat by the lake.
We walked past a Gelateria, but we thought it better to have something other
than gelato for lunch, walked on and the next place was closed. Then
we found a place with cars parked it seemed open and it was....a  pizzeria .

People that were already seated were eating pizza!
We both ordered pizza. James asked for the red pizza with anchovies
capers  and bufalo mozzarella. I ordered a white pizza, quattro formaggio.
Most  true pizzerias, so we are told, only serve pizza in the evening when the
wood ovens are, we didn't  know what to expect , but , then again, we
just wanted a bite to by the lake.

We were surprised at how crispy and thin the crust was and
on the red pizza the tomato sauce was flavorful.

The white pizza also had the same thin crispy crust and just the
right amount of cheese topping.

We had a half litre of house wine and a bottle of water, and
a view of the lake.
All good if you are craving a lunchtime pizza!

' Abbiamo finito!'

James said, "Siamo finito" .......we are finished!
The waitress gave us an on the spot Italian lesson. She said.."you
are not dead! "
Then she told  us the more correct thing to say is, "Abbiamo Finito!"....we have finished!

Then, as we left, he said to the waitress...
"Abbiamo mangiato molto bene, grazie!"

We both enjoy these type of Italian lessons!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


The Olive harvest in underway in Umbria. The trees are full of olives
that soon will be the world's finest olive oil.

The olives are harvest by hand using a variety of  simple tools that gently rake the olives from the branches and into the large nets that cover the ground under the trees.


Intervallo per pranzo

Tools are put down and ladders descended. Everyone heads up to the lunch table.

James opens the wine. The food is brought out and introductions are made.
Elida and Gunter are fabulous hosts and you can be certain
of a great meal here, meeting up with old friends and always meeting interesting new people.

The food is arranged on a table in the shade of an olive tree.

From Elida's garden.

Elida makes what could be the best bread in all of Italy, and today we have
the chance to sample this season's olive oil drizzled......or soaked, whatever your pleasure,
on a slice of her bread. The olive oil we were pouring was 2 days old and beautiful in color.
Heavenly feast.

  A two hour lunch, among the olive trees, short by Italian standards, but, after all it
was a working lunch, we headed back to the car.
Along the way these cheerful Cosmos caught my eye as well as this
view of Panicale.


Can't forget to include a picture of Mokie. He  greeted us when we arrived,
and was part of the festivities.

Thanks Elida and Gunter!
The olive oil is superb and you two are delightful!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

CITTA DELLA PIEVE ( Umbria) Saffron, Perugino and Lunch with White Truffles


 Flanked on each side by olive trees, heavy with fruit, is the town of Citta Della Pieve, 
about a 20 minute drive from Panicale.

ZAFFERIAMO,  October 19-21

This is the weekend of the annual Saffron festival, so James and I along with Betty
took a drive over to  medieval Citta Della Pieve to take a look, do a little shopping, look at some art and have lunch. The sky was clear blue and the sun was warm.
Sounds like the makings of a pretty good day.

As the vendors were setting up for the Saffron Festival we had a chance to buy some of this unique
local product, as I am quite fond of saffron risotto.

The saffron from this region comes from the stamens of fall flowering purple crocuses.
It is a labor of love to remove the tiny stamens from the flower and it takes hundreds of them to
fill a small jar, as you might imagine.


It is not possible for us to be in  Citta Della Pieve without a visit to see 
the the paintings by Perugino in the Duomo.
  On our first visit here, many years ago,
it was with great disappointment that after making the trip here James and I were not 
allowed entry because the floors had just been washed.

Behind the alter is this Perugino painting. It is hanging  quite high
above my head  as to be seen above the main alter. Although I had a difficult time
Getting a picture, I love the angels above the flags.
If you are in this church, take note of the walls and columns, they are
faux painted marble....not real marble as you would think...making them that much more interesting.

Faux marble on the Duomo wall.

A plaque dedicated to Pietro Vannucci, aka. Perugino, who was born 
 in Citta Della Pieve in 1450,
 and died  of the plague in 1523, in the small Umbrian town, Fontignano.
A true Umbrian.


 Our destination for lunch was Trattoria Bruno Coppetta. 
White Truffles are now  being found on restaurant menus, as the season has started!!
James opted for the pasta with White Truffles. Betty ordered pasta with a white Chianina
Beef ragu, and I chose Risotto with Saffron and Porcini Mushrooms, we are
here for the Saffron Festa after all!

The truffle dish James ordered was worthy of a performance....
and we got one!

The waiter was sure to toss the pasta just enough.

Then the special part, shaving the White Truffle on 
to the hot tagliatelle.

Everything was delicious!

After lunch, a walk back to the car, a look down a couple of
Citta Della Pieve's side streets.

Città Della Pieve is a lovely Umbrian city that can boast of it's art,
it's buildings and history, wonderful food, lovely small shops of all sorts, and nice people.