Local foods and wines

Assisi Celebrates Olive Oil

Here in Assisi, we certainly hope that the November UNTO festival will not in any way be the final or last oil (as in “Extreme Unction”); after all, for Catholics, Extreme Unction has a finality. The final anointing for those in danger of death takes its name from the Latin, unguere (“to anoint”) – and one nearing death here in Italy is “in extremis”.

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The Sign of an Umbrian November? Chestnuts!

“Nel tempo delle castagne il porco ride e la pecora piange” (“At chestnut time, the pig laughs and the sheep weeps”), says an Italian proverb. Yes, the pigs relish the earthy goodness of chestnuts, but the flavor is not enticing to a sheep. For me, the rich taste of roasted chestnuts is a sign of autumn about to slip away, winter creeping in. When the weather chills in Umbria, the rural people gather around their woodstoves at night.

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La Fontanella, Eating “Kilometro Zero”

Called in English, “eating farm-to-table”, the Italians call the savoring of fresh foods grown as locally as possible “mangiare kilometro zero”. Franca at La Fontanella (“the little fountain” – you can see it on the wall just to left of the wooden doors opening to this garden/eating spot)

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