As the excitement of future travel begins to tickle my belly, I can't help but go back through photos of meals from past visits to Umbria. I always plan to write more posts while actually there, but the internet connections can be slow and sometimes difficult, so lots of "moments" become stashed away in folders on my computer desktop…just waiting to be discovered anew.
A perfect example is right here, right now.
Dinner in nearby Panicarola.
Nearby to Panicale, that is. I wish it were nearby my current location, but I can wait.
This post is about a really fantastic meal Johnny and I had back in 2013. We totally planned on going back again this past 2014 trip, but just never made it. So many trattorias, so little time. A problem I am more than happy to have, by the way.
Not more than a fifteen minute drive through the lovely countryside, DivinPeccato, or "Divine Sin", is fairly new to the area, and serves a more modern take on the local cuisine. They have a cantina as well as a few nice rooms to rent.
|I noticed the sign a couple of years ago, and we just had to try it.|
|The front of the restaurant, which is right in the middle of|
this very small village.
|Outdoor seating for the warmer months…|
|One of the cozy dining rooms.|
We hadn't heard anything about DivinPeccato, therefore I had Johnny stop the car one afternoon so I could take a quick look at the menu.
I had a chance to speak briefly with the young couple, Mirko and Nicola, who own it. Evidently, they both worked at a nearby country resort that had recently sold, so they opened up this place of their own. They were happy to point out the various vegetarian options available.
They also talked about their philosophy for the restaurant, which was local, seasonal, sustainable…all good! Of course, the specialties of most places around Lake Trasimeno are the fish dishes, which I imagine are wonderful. We did see some very interesting vegetarian dishes to try, so we made a date to come back for dinner.
When we finally came for dinner, it was close to the end of that trip, so we even dressed up for the occasion.
The wine list was extensive, but we opted for the house wine, which was fine. I tend to go for white wine, and stay away from reds, as they can trigger my migraines…so here, we were each able to order what we wanted by the half carafe. White for me, red for Mr. J.
|Two glasses for two happy campers.|
Our waiter was very nice, happy to answer any questions, and also non-intrusive. Perfecto! As is often the case, Johnny just sat back and asked me to order for both of us. This works out well most of the time. Here, it really worked because there were so many things I wanted to try.
We started with a dish to share…sadly. Sadly because I should have ordered two! It was wonderful...
|"Cipolla Rossa di Cannara in Parmigiana"|
Local red onions, special to the region, layered with parmesan, and roasted until gooey.
Since we knew this would be a last "special" dinner out, we decided to go for it, and order more than we usually do. It was nice to really take our time, and sit back to enjoy a night out. I had a couple of dishes in mind as our "primi", or first course. In reality, these would probably be starters, and our main course choices would be first course. We skip the "secondi", or meat course, so we often order extra things from the first course menu, as our main dish. Are you following me? I hope so….More importantly, the waiter understood, so no problemo!
Now, for Johnny (but also for me, because we switch plates back and forth) I thought we should try the "Coccetto di Pecorino e Tartufo in Crosta Sfoglia".
I wasn't exactly certain, but I knew it had pecorino, truffles, and some type of baked crust….It did.
|Oh! You mean like a "pot pie"!|
I get it..
|Of course it wasn't rich….ahem. Sure.|
It was so #*%&$#! good!
Good thing the alternate dish was a bit lighter. Not much, though.
|"Crema di Asparagi con Gnudi di Ricotta"|
Asparagus soup with ricotta dumplings.
The gnudi were good, and I remember that the crunch was a very nice texture to have here. This is a dish I would love to try and recreate. I bet it wouldn't be that difficult, either.
But then I get to a point where I say to myself:
"Self, when are you going to realize that you are someone who likes the idea of cooking, but in all actuality, you just like to eat, and are pretty lazy when it comes to the cooking part "?
So, instead, I'll probably just make a point to go back to DivinPeccato for the soup, and call it good.
Ok, back to the dinner we were enjoying.
First of all, I do want to mention again how great the staff is here. We were so happy to just hang out, sip wine, watch all the goings on…it was a long, slow evening of perfectness, with nobody trying to move us along at any point. They just don't do that here in Italy. Your dinner should take all evening. It's just that we usually go out for lunches, and order much less, so this was sort of special.
Ok, NOW… back to the dinner we were enjoying.
Johnny can never have enough pasta, so I ordered a plate of "Stringhelli al Tartufo e Pecorino" for us. Of course, the pasta is all handmade, in house. Always such a mindblower. The texture is nothing like packaged dry pasta. Nothing wrong with the dry pasta at all, it's just a different experience. Both are just fine.
This was fresh, though, and it was a perfect match for the sauce of truffles and pecorino cheese.
|We both really liked that the sauce wasn't too heavy with creme.|
Just really tasty, with a good truffle accent.
I also ordered an omelette. Yes, you do see omeletts every once in a while on dinner menus here. The filling was fresh fava beans and caciotta cheese. The cheese is usually a soft textured, young cheese from either cow, goat or sheep. It's a cheese that is pretty typical in Umbria. It was nice with the fava beans. It has a mild flavor.
We also ordered some roasted potatoes and some excellent artichokes cooked country style with "mentucchia", the wild mint that grows all around the fields of the area.
(don't tell anyone, but I snuck a small plant of this home in my luggage. It's doing nicely, too)
|This looks really good to me right now.|
|I would say "perfectly" roasted potatoes.|
|There is a tiny sprig of mentucchia…not like any mint we have here.|
This is a very typical recipe, the artichokes and mentuccia.
They are cooked in olive oil until totally creamy.
We did share all the way along, passing our dishes back and forth throughout the evening. Everything was delicious. Everything.
Why, yes, we did have dessert, thanks for asking!
| Apple & Cinnamon Strudel|
in White Chocolate Sauce.
|And here we have Banana and Chocolate Flan in Caramel Sauce.|
More cake like than flan, but with a very soft interior…"lava" like.
It was a lot of food for us. But, you know…you just need to do this every once in a while, and this menu just made us want to overindulge some.
We both look forward to returning, and I think for dinner again. It's close enough to home that we can handle the roads at night, which is huge. We can actually find our way back….!
So, until we meet again, Dear DivinPeccato…Arrivederci!
DivinPeccato is located in the town center of Panicarola, Umbria
|A warm summer night in Panicarola, Umbria.|