Explore the Region of Umbria, Italy...Festa Regionale 2005, Il Fornaio Explore the Region of Umbria, Italy...Festa Regionale 2005, Il Fornaio Explore the Region of Umbria, Italy...Festa Regionale 2005, Il Fornaio
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Orvieto Campogrande,
Antinori, 2003

The Antinori family has been making wine for more than 26 generations and has for centuries been acknowledged as masters of blending local varietals into superior wines. This refreshing, dry and delicately aromatic white wine is produced from a blend of Procanico, Grechetto and Verdello grapes grown near the hilltop village of Orvieto. Bright citrus aromas and flavors are balanced by a crisp clean finish. A nice match with the Salmone Tartufato.

$3.25 half glass $6.50 glass $24 bottle

Sangiovese, Poggio Bertaio,
Stucchio, 2001

This medium-bodied red is produced from 100% Sangiovese grapes cultivated in Casamaggiore near Perugia. Full of blackberry, plum and cherry aromas and flavors, this well balanced wine has excellent structure and is a great complement to the Duck.

$5 half glass $10 glass $38 bottle

Muffato della Sala,
Antinori

Rich and full-bodied, this Antinori dessert wine is a wonderful way to end your adventure in Umbria. Chock-full of heady aromas of honeysuckle, apricot and spice, it has a great balance of sweetness and acidity and a long luxurious finish.

$12.50 glass

 

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Chef Gianluca Sarti

 

 

Gianluca Sarti was born in Bologna, considered by many to be the culinary center of Italy. Both his parents worked at the family’s restaurant. So it’s not surprising that he developed a passion for food at a very young age. When Luca was fifteen, he left home to pursue his dream of becoming a chef. “I loved to eat as a child. You can imagine, with all the great food I was exposed to that I would want to enter the culinary profession!”

When asked by a friend in 1994 to come to Los Angeles to create an Italian menu for a new restaurant in Beverly Hills, Luca jumped at the opportunity. Once in Beverly Hills he met some of the Italians at Il Fornaio, who later asked him to join them as a sous-chef in the Beverly Hills restaurant. Luca’s passion and skill led him to positions as Chef-Partner of Il Fornaio in Beverly Hills and Pasadena. Yet he still manages to return to Italy to visit his family and enjoy meals in his parent’s restaurant in Bologna, Ristorante Marco Polo.

Sarti explains why he feels so happy in charge of his own kitchen: “It is here that I can truly express myself. I respect the traditions of the regions of Italy, yet create new dishes that are unique to my vision. This menu of Umbria takes advantage of the bounty of unique ingredients you find there -the pecorino, extra-virgin olive oil, black truf-fles - but allows me to offer them to you in a way you may not have experienced before.”



 

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Umbria's Valentine
February brings us Valentine’s Day, so this month we celebrate
Umbria, the birthplace of Saint Valentine.

Saint Valentine, Terni’s first bishop, served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Realizing the injustice of the decree, Valentine defied the Emperor and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, the Emperor ordered that he be put to death. His life and martyrdom prompted the citizens of Terni to proclaim him the patron saint of the city and patron saint of lovers in 1644.

Another legendary story for which Saint Valentine is known throughout the world is that he would give flowers from his own garden to young visitors. Two of these young people fell in love after receiving his flowers. Their love resulted in a union so happy that many other couples, after hearing their story, gave flowers to one another as a sign of love. The exchange became so popular that the Saint was forced to dedicate one day of the year to a general benediction of the state of matrimony, that day being February 14th.

The food of Umbria depends on the ingredients found in the moun-tainous countryside for flavor. Central to any menu from the region is the black truffle, or tartufo nero, and those from Norcia and Spoleto are especially prized. Black truffles are featured tonight in the Salmone Tartufato and Cannelloni alla Ternana.

Olives are another key ingredient featured in every trattoria in Umbria. In particular, the Trevi area is home to some of the greatest olive oil producers in the world. Many years ago, the olive growers in Trevi forged a collective, where they bring the fruit of their trees to a central bottling plant. In the middle of this plant sit two gigantic stone wheels, between which tons of olives are squeezed each season. It is this extremely low-tech process that we call ‘cold-pressed.’ Il Fornaio’s cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil that we pour at every table is produced in the little town of Campello Sul Olitunno, just outside of the city of Perugia, in Umbria.

Umbria has a grand tradition in the making of cheeses. Tha heritage continues today to produce cheese with the milk of sheep that graze in the natural valleys and mountains of Umbria. Often used in Umbrian dishes for its tanginess, Pecorino proves to be the perfect foil for the flavorful and earthy black truffle.

detail map of the region of Umbria Umbria, Italy

 

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