While we were in Panicale, Umbria earlier this year, we were so lucky to have friends visit. It was fun to share what we love so much about the area, one thing being the great food experiences.
Last year, we had a very fine lunch at Ristorante Masolino, right off the main piazza in Panicale. We looked forward to trying it again, and did. Three times this year!
The first time we were treated to a lovely lunch by our dear friends and guests, Christopher & Loreen, and we loved it. I think it was a special treat for us all, and especially for Christopher's up coming birthday, which arrived a day or two later. We were thrilled that they wanted to take us to Masolino. We walked by the menu almost every day, and I saw Loreen and Christopher scoping out the place a couple of times....Thanks, again, you guys!!
|Dining room at Ristorante Masolino|
We decided to share a couple of appetizers, and I suggested the ceci bean bruschetta, something I try not to pass up if I see it on a menu. We also tried the panzanella, which was divine. Made the traditional way, with lots of good left over bread and heavily seasoned. Tomato, cucumber, lots of garlic...
|A quickly disappearing lardo and truffle bruschetta!|
I had umbricelli, the local specialty, with radicchio and walnuts, while Christopher tried an interesting house special, tagliatelle in a tomato and baccala sauce. Loreen had the tagliatelle with leeks, porcini, and truffle, while Johnny tried the very interesting ravioli stuffed with fresh ricotta and wild nettles.
|My pasta, with grilled radicchio and walnuts, a favorite.|
|Christopher's presentation of pasta con baccala e pomodoro|
|Ravioli with ricotta salata on top, fresh ricotta and wild nettles inside. they were really yummy.|
|A couple of side dishes to share...grilled eggplant and cannellini beans|
Of course, I didn't get a photo of the famous Masolino special, "Crostino alla Faraone" which Loreen also had. It is raved about by everyone in the area, and beyond. I believe it is chunks of roasted Guinea fowl served on small rosemary toasts, almost like another type of bruschetta, but not quite. Loreen loved it, and said it reminded her of Thanksgiving flavors. I must get a photo next time we are with guests, and someone orders it.
We had to have dessert, too, so we shared two. Both of them rocked.
|Panna cotta with "frutti di bosco"(fruits of the forest), which I finally figured out|
|Had to share some flaming creme brulée.|
It was a great lunch, a special treat, and a perfect day. Our pals enjoyed it, and we felt so touched to be treated to such an elegant experience. I know we had a bottle of something red, and knowing Andrea, the son and head honcho in the dining room, it was just right. He has never done us wrong, that's for sure.
Speaking of Andrea, he and his sister, Stefania run the front of the house, while Mamma Bruna is busy in the kitchen, with her helper. All the pasta is made by hand, certo!
We enjoyed a second lunch with Tasha, as I mentioned, which was just as good as always.
Our third trip to Masolino's this year was for our goodbye dinner.
We were so happy that it was nice enough to take advantage, and sit on the small but super sweet terrace. The evening was beautiful, and we planned to eat at sunset, enjoying the view over Lago Trasimeno. The swallows were in full force, and it made us happy and sad at the same time, knowing we would be leaving the day after next.
|Enjoying some of our last hours in Panicale, sitting on the terrace at Masolino's|
|Golden sunset light, making the town look even more beautiful.|
So, for now, I'll just have to go back to Masolino's for my fix. Fine.
|Ceci bruschetta, please.|
Because I just had to try a bite of Loreen's pasta at our lunch together, I knew I wanted to order my own plate of tagliatelle with leeks and porcini, topped with thin slices of truffle...
|Oh, Heaven on a plate, how I do love thee......|
Johnny enjoyed the umbricelli with walnuts in a light gorgonzola sauce. Bummer, right? No......
We had our favorite mixed roasted veggies for our side dish. Always so good, simple, and pretty, too. I think I have photos of this dish from our lunch last year. Johnny keeps saying he wants to go in and just order several plates of these tasty bites.
Andrea had suggested a wonderful red wine to accompany our meal, and it was just so good. I think it was a Sagrantino di Montefalco, just not certain which label... Thanks, Andrea. We keep threatening to have him order us a case and ship it home, but it hasn't happened yet. We always wait until it's too late, and time to leave. Next year, Andrea!!!!
|The best roasted veg ever. I'm serious.|
We don't always order desserts, and if we do, we will usually share one. But for whatever reason, we really went for it. Friends we'd met in Panicale said that Masolino's had the best tiramisu around, so that's what we ordered. Two of them, please. And thanks, again, Andrea, for bringing us the wonderful dessert wine we so loved. And also want to bring back home!
|Tira-I miss- U....|
|A job well done.|
We didn't want the evening to end, that's for sure. Everyone was so nice, and we said goodbye, knowing we'll be back next year. It was fun just chatting with Andrea, and seeing the family at the end of the night, done and ready to get home.
|Calling it a night.... Mamma Bruna and Stefania chatting with customers|
|Andrea with customers, while we wait to say goodnight...|
Another little foodie memory for me to share, and also to look forward to.
As we get to know the folks in Panicale more, even if it just means saying "Ciao" to each other on the way to market, we get a real thrill. We love this double life that is slowly emerging, a life we have dreamt about, wanted, worked and sacrificed for. We really didn't know if we could make it happen, or not. So far, it's looking pretty good. Our time is short here, so why not live two lives?
Makes perfect sense to me, my friends.