After “just” two months, I was finally able to redeem the birthday gift which I had bought to myself: a short holiday in Trevi, Umbria, in an historic hotel, with wine (which I forgot and the hotel didn’t remind me), oil and truffle tasting.
The day didn’t start in the best of the ways: the flu was just gone, so I didn’t feel very strong, and also highways, which, since it was the first day of a long weekend, were full of cars. Six hours to get from Rome to Bastard (a burg, 50 km from Perugia), where we stopped to eat at Laura’s restaurant, and then we set off to a search of that “lost” country.
Lost because of the navigator which, as usual, only finds the streets and the towns he wants. Eventually, however, with onthephone indications which the hotel gave us and the (very rare) people we met on the street, we were able to get to Trevi.
The first thing I realized about this burg, is that it has to be tasted. Here you can find the Umbrian food excellence.
The hotel where we stayed was the Antica Dimora alla Rocca, a 4 star in the town center (I do treat myself on birthdays!). It overlooks a small square, and I got enchanted from the entrance as soon as I saw it. There’s nothing special or glamorous, only tables and wrought iron chairs, flowers and plants which climb the walls… and it all reminded me of the Parisian cafes as I always imagined them (but which I didn’t actually find in Paris).
At the cost of 100 € per person (not cheap, I know, but after all it was a gift) for two nights, breakfast and “experiences” included, I chose the Junior Suite. The palace is old: it has ceilings at least twenty feet high, stairs of stone made smooth by the use, frescoes on the walls… The decor and the style of the rooms fits the rest of the hotel, with green/gold colors and oldfashion design. The bed was very comfortable, high and pleasant. I know I always speak of bed comfort when talking about hotels, but… what sense has a hotel if it has an uncomfortable bed?
But the thing that I loved the most, by far, about this hotel (besides the extreme kindness and helpfulness of the persons working there) was the breakfast. I did not see a table so full since I don’t know how many hotels. I felt like Pinocchio in the Land of Toys, facing the set up table, there was everything you can come up with to eat and drink for breakfast, both sweet and salty.
You know it already, I don’t love the old style in hotels , but… among the comfort of the bed, the breakfast of dreams and the kindness, I would definitely go there again. And I would recommend it!
Perhaps the delay in redeeming the gift was actually a lucky thing: without programming we happened to be in Trevi during the Festival of olive Oil and, most importantly, it coincided with the first weekend of open oil mills in Umbria. The hotel, for that matter, has made us a wonderful gift: a face and hands massage made with olive oil based products.
The whole weekend was relaxing, but those twenty minutes were amazing. Not only the girl, from the 53 Studio Beauty of S. Eraclio di Foligno, was very good, but the creams they used, produced by an oil mill company, had an extraordinary effect on our skin.
During the threeday festival, from morning to evening, followed events of music and art, tastings of olive oil of any kind (especially of “new oil”, pride of Trevi), slow food, markets and hand-crafted PDO products from all over Italy, the restaurants prepared specially designed menus, street artists performed their arts and they set a special bus route which run mill to mill.
Walking along the road to the viewpoint , by chance , and fortunately , we stumbled across “the oleoteca” in the right moment to have a kitchen course held by the chef Emilio Pompeo, also owner of “L’Hosteria dei Folli”, a restaurant famous in Trevi and its surroundings.
This chef simply enchanted me. Accompanying him was a couple of guys who were performing live voice and guitar, and everything sounded like a poem. The way Emilio talked, his way to explain with heart, he could turn each step in pure art, passion, food made with the soul. It was a pleasure to hear him, even before tasting the dishes. He hold courses also at his restaurant, of course, and if only I lived closer, I wouldn’t miss them.
San Pietro a Pettine
From oil to Truffle, other specialty of the place, but most of all of the farm San Pietro a Pettine.
You can get there by taking a road that goes down from the village, along meadows, olive groves and traditional Umbrian landscapes. The only flaw is that there are no indications yet (but they are working on it!), so you have to be careful to understand where to turn. After a big iron gate, the first thing you notice of the estate is the Romanesque church, which has been restored with pride, and I think it was worth the effort.
The path that passes in this estate, it’s the first, authentic, Via Francigena. From here St. Francis went to visit Santa Chiara in her convent, near Trevi.
But here the thing that impress you more than any other, is not the Umbrian valley on which the estate overlooks, or walking on a secular path, or the old church… No, there is one thing that impresses you even before and you can feel it already from the fist words you hear: harmony, serenity. It’s in the air, soaking everything.
From the feeling that Bruno has with Molly, mascot and talented truffles hunter, to the enthusiasm with which Sara talks about their job, to the passion and love that you read in Carlo’s eyes when he tells their story and their truffles, and also to the admiration and the affection with which the guys who work there speak of them.
Great people make everything they do extraordinary.
That’s what I thought when we went away from the estate.
We followed Molly into the truffle ground, and it was amazing to see her go many meters first, direct to the exact spot where she knew for sure to dig for truffles… which did always be there!
After the hunt, it was time for the tasting… and calling that way is a big understatement. It was a lunch. Carlo, the owner, was not scrimping on grating the truffle to prepare the bruschetta.
Normally this tasting costs 5 euros, but I think just a spoonful of the truffle they give you costs more than 5 euros. And damn if it was good. Do you know the smell of gas that truffle seems to have to the nose? Forget it. Smells and tastes of allnatural, genuine… the most delicious truffles I’ve ever eaten (not a case they are working with the best restaurants in the world).
Can you see the difference in getting things done with love and passion, and for interest (not meaning profit) and duty?
Every Friday evening, at the estate they organize tastings (dinners) of white truffle. From starters to the two main dishes, all covered with white truffle. Did you know that white truffle costs eight thousand euros per kilo? Do you know how much this tasting on Friday costs? 45 euro.
Seriously, is there anything else to add?