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Henry James, visiting Umbria, wrote: «His first [visitor] care will be not to be in a hurry to walk everywhere very slowly and aimlessly preserving all that his eyes will encounter».

A handful of words that inspires this itinerary among the flavors and aromas of Valnerina, significative elements of an Umbrian identity, which wants to tell its story. Authentic tastes which come back to life thorough valleys and ancient towns where the laboriousness of man is kept.  Here it is possible to know the whises of the Umbrian people to reflect, at the table, the richeness of their land: this is the reason why  we decided to discover the flavors of Valnerina.

The trout of the Nera river

The Nera river is like a primitive flow, which for millennia has tormented the sleep of the ancient bridges and stone of Valnerina. It has shaped this superb landscape, combining its name with the territory and becoming an incomparable icon of Umbria. Valnerina is a place where biodiversity resists to the agri-food chains that aim to bury stories of the fishermen, worn by the Nera and its breeze. And it is precisely in this context that the river drags downstream the trout of the Valnerina, considered as a trophy by the fishermen coming from everywhere.

 

Honey

Honey

In Valnerina, the journey through the lands of taste can continue, crossing one of the many passes and borders and finding different souls and unexpected aromas. Visitng small companies that produce ancient flavors, such as honey, allows the visitor to meet people, faces and stories. Buying directly from the producers, at zero km, not only guarantees the quality, but also allows to follow an itinerary along the paths of an uncontaminated landscape. This part of Umbria has a strong voction for this noble nectar both precious and appreciated, which has flourished, with renewed and lively enthusiasm, derived from the source of an ancient tradition.

 

legumi tipici umbri

IGP lentils of Castelluccio

If there was a night of the gastronomy Oscars, on the red carpet of taste and tradition, the Umbrian excellences would win more than one award.  But if there is an award that certainly can not miss is that for the lentils of Castelluccio di Norcia: a product in which archaic tastes are exhibited, with an extraordinarily modern charm.
Castelluccio di Norcia, a poor land with healthy products, would be the closing title of this short film about the Umbria of genuineness. In the “tradition casting”, the main role belongs to the famous lentil, legume, that in the cold of the Apennine Mountains ‘ winter, manages to preserve an incomparable quality. A food proudly made in Valnerina that, in the shyness of an extraordinarily small seed, hides an infinitely large flavor.

 

Keep it going…

For centuries the area around the lake Trasimeno lake has been an important reference point for the cultivation of wine in Umbria.

A difficult search for identity

The production territory has always had a significative difficulty in finding an identity with regard to its wine production. Quite hard identifing a specific wine variety, as it is possible in other areas of Umbria, like Orvieto, Torgiano or Montefalco.
Since the very beginning of the millennium, the lake area, like many others in Italy, has seen the spread of the production of Sangiovese and of other international wine varieties, first of all the well – known merlot and with large use of small wooden barrels. A type of production influenced by the trend of that moment, but which leaded to a lack of common identity among the wineries of the Trasimeno.
The same disciplinary of production of the DOC “Colli del Trasimeno” is very varied, as it admits numerous international vine varieties, from the chardonnay, to the pinot noir, as well as typically Umbrian ones, such as the Grechetto and the Trebbiano.

 

Trasimeno wine, photo by Facebook

A reference point in the middle of chaos

In recent years, this difficult search for identity, seems to have reached a turning point: we are talking about the increasing discovery and enhancement of Gamay del Trasimeno, already included in the DOC, cited above.
The history of this vine variety is not one of the most lucky, since it has been confused with the most famous Gamay cultivated in France, in the Beaujolais region, for a long time.
Actually, the Umbrian Gamay  is part of the Sardinian Cannonau family, the Alicante and the Spanish Garnacha.
Its ancient origins are Hellenic and from that area, it spreaded to the rest of Europe, above all, it took root in the Iberican peninsula. Eventually, Spanish people introduced it to Sardinia, around the middle of the fifteenth century. From here, originated its journey towards our Umbria.
This happened thanks to the numerous Sardinian shepherds migrated to the Trasimeno area from the middle of the nineteenth century, who brought with them the wine varieties of their lands.

An example of adaptation to the territory

 

The Gamay of Trasimeno wine varieties has been protagonist of innumerable displacements, but it has always managed to adapt and take root in the territories in which it was brought, assuming different names, while the original one has been lost in the memory of the places. The Gamay of Trasimeno has, in fact, a twin brother also in the Marche, called Bordò, cultivated by a handful of wineries in the Piceno area. Instead, in Veneto its name is Tocai Rosso, and in France, Grenache.In any case and whatever its name, the Gamay Of Trasimeno produces many bunches and can be harvested in two moments: a first harvest, for rosé wines, while the second one, gives ruby-red wines with hints of bitter almonds and red fruits.Today Gamay Perugino or Gamay of Trasimeno is increasingly appreciated and known, as shown by the three gold medals won last April by some of the wineries from the Trasimeno lake, at the 2018 edition of the Grenaches du Monde in Catalonia. This is an international event that compared over 850 wines from all over the world, made with grapes from the Grenache family.