Where does cooking inspiration come from?
We had a liberating, inspiring weekend. After work and chores were done on Saturday, we headed out to see two Caravaggio paintings that were being shown in the nearby town of Monte Santa Maria Tiberina. It’s a remote hilltop village, but as we got within parking range, there were cars everywhere and jolly parking attendants in their fluorescent outfits. We assumed there must be a festival going on, but no, the crowds were there to see the Caravaggio and Guercino paintings. It was amazing, parents with kids in tow, old, young, rough, polished…everyone was there for this rare opportunity to view these masterpieces.
Could you imagine a gathering like this in the States? Where young children would be expected to want to know about these paintings? In the States, I imagine there would be a primary colored video playing in the corner to distract the kiddies while the adults took in the paintings. If they even allowed kids in.
Our reverential Caravaggio viewing was followed by an aperitivo and dinner in Citta di Castello. There was a celebration for the local boy’s rugby team going on in the piazza; with kids running and shrieking in pure puppy abandonment and energy. Rugby?? Talk about an underdog sport!
Truffles are just starting to come into season, so we indulged at Le Logge, our favorite restaurant in Citta di Castello.
Picture this: a poached egg, served next to a nearly poached egg, covered in shaved white truffles, on a bed of pureed potatoes. The yokes broken and swirled into the potatoes, the steamy heat releasing the fragrance of the truffles. Inspiring.
Sunday morning we got on our bikes in search of a restaurant that we had discovered last year, also on our bikes. Al Palazzaccio in San Giacomo di Spoleto is a venerable, traditional trattoria. With kitties running around, long wooden tables and the best ricotta cheese cake in the whole world, it is the embodiment of a ‘trattoria tipica’. Not in a theme park way, this is simply how they have always done it.
We finished off the day discovering an enormous antique fair in Pissignano where we fell in love with a putti enhanced crystal chandelier that will hang in our boudoir (formerly known as our bedroom). Then a last minute discovery as we were leaving Pissignano: the evocative Fonti del Clitunno, a strangely manicured and tranquil park. Umbria isn’t know for manicured anything, so this park seemed so charmingly out of place.
It’s inspiring to give yourself permission to cross train, to think about something other than cooking. Thinking about the way Caravaggio manipulated light, or how a runny egg yoke is transformed by fragrance…all of this leads somewhere, even if the answer isn’t right in front of you.
Ristorante Le Logge, 075-864-2304
Piazza Giacomo Matteotti
Al Palazzaccio da Piero 0743/520168
SS Flaminia KM134, San Giacomo di Spoleto