The flavors of Pietralunga
The woods and valleys from which our recipes are born
Mountain landscapes, wide and narrow valleys, sunny plateaus and then woods, rivers and sources of pure water. North-East Umbria is a variegated territory, a crossroads of important thousand-year-old communication routes, a land that has been able to preserve but also to contaminate its very rich food and wine culture.
The morphological aspect of the territory is certainly the one that first influences and shapes the cuisine of a people. It cannot be ignored to describe the culinary richness that we find in these valleys overlooking the central Apennines.
Umbrian cuisine made with the ingredients of our land
Pietralunga’s cuisine undoubtedly belongs to the wider family of traditional Umbrian cuisine .
Ground dishes, home-made first courses seasoned with traditional ingredients, sausages from both wild pigs and ancient bred breeds.
But the ingredients that our endless woods give us prevail over everything, truffles, wild mushrooms, cooked with ancient and traditional recipes that know how to find new guise and innovation thanks to the chefs who make Pietralunghesi restaurants unique.
Il Nuovo Appennino da Nadia
Locanda dei Fiorucci
La locanda del Borgo
THE TRUFFLE, the KING of the Pietralunghese table
; The intense green of the dense forests of oaks, turkey oaks and downy oaks are the altar to the products that most characterize the culinary imprint of our lands: the products of the forest.
Speaking of them, we can only begin our journey into the flavors of our land starting from the most prized, the Truffle .
But it’s easy to say Truffles, in reality we should talk about truffles.
The White Truffle (TuberMagnatum Pico) also known as Trifola is the king of this family.
To be born and develop, the white truffle needs particular soils with equally particular climatic conditions: The soil must be soft and humid for most of the year, it must be rich in calcium and with good air circulation.
In the vast Pietralunghese territory there are numerous so-called “Tartufaie”, that is those particular places where truffles, thanks to the favorable conditions of the soil and the climate, grow in abundance. The most famous areas for Trifola are found in the surroundings of Pietralunga and in the vast ridges that surround Gubbio , but every “quarryman” keeps his best truffle grounds with the utmost secrecy.
The less noble relative of the prized white truffle is the black truffle which is divided into its summer variety called Scorzone and the winter variety called Nero Dolce .
All these varieties, together, have extraordinary importance in the culinary culture of our territory, capable, with their excellent aromas, of making even a simple plate of gnocchi special, perhaps prepared with the renowned Pietralunga potato.
For this reason, a real industry flourishes around the truffle, made up of quarrymen, transformation and processing companies, and trade and trade fairs. The menus of all the many trattorias that offer the greedy visitor first, second and even desserts containing this precious and unique ingredient are full of truffles.
The Search and the Truffle Quarry - UNESCO Intangible Heritage
The ” Truffle hunting and quarrying ” represents an intangible cultural heritage of knowledge and practices refined by constant observations which have then been handed down orally for centuries.
The holders and practitioners of this patrimony of knowledge are called ” truffle hunters “.
The art of the truffle hunter includes a vast complex of knowledge and specific skills that allow those who hold them to interpret climatic factors, rainfall, recognition of plant associations, the spelling of the land.
It is this knowledge that allows the truffle hunter to identify the territories that favor the spontaneous growth of the truffle plant, from whose roots the underground fungus called truffle is born and then, allow the application of the traditional technique for its identification and extraction, the so-called “Cavatura “.
This knowledge transmitted and handed down between generations, also includes the particular dog-truffle hunter relationship.
The truffle hunter has privileged the company of the dog and collaborates in the search with his experience to interpret nature, to grasp the chromatic differences that highlight a truffle ground, to recognize the truffle plants by weaving a dialoguing relationship with the animal that generates success or failure of the company.
THE WHITE POTATO OF PIETRALUNGA, authentic flavor of our land
the White Potato of Pietralunga
The Pietralunga White Potato is a native sub-variety of the more famous White Mountain Potato.
Poor tuber with great adaptability that dominates the tables of the mountain farmers of the Italian Apennines.
The earth of Pietralunga, clayey but crumbly and well drained, rich in potassium and minerals, has over the centuries selected a variety of potatoes with a white and very fine texture, with a flavor so characteristic that it has been awarded the De.Co certification (Municipal Denomination of Origin ).
The small plots obtained in the clearings of the thick Pietralunghesi woods yield potatoes with typical characteristics of that particular lot. In the more sandy ones, a more regular tuber with a smooth skin is born, in the more clayey ones, instead, elongated and wrinkled tubers grow.
Each cultivation process follows the rules of nature, with little mechanized processing and still based on the most ancient traditional methods. For this reason, while not being able to guarantee the very high yields of industrial agriculture in the plains, the quality of the product that is born in our lands is simply incomparable.
The fine and floury paste of the Pietralunga white potato makes it exceptionally suitable for the preparation of gnocchi and purées , but also to be baked or stewed .
HAZELNUT, a sweet gift from our land
The story of the Pietralunga hazelnut is one that deserves to be told.
The idea of planting hazelnut groves in the pre-Apennine Umbrian hills dates back to the 1970s.
In those years the University of Perugia, in collaboration with the imported Perugian confectionery industries, decided to experiment with the cultivation of some varieties of Italian hazelnut to shorten the Umbrian production chain.
After careful evaluations, it was decided to plant in Pietralunga, in the valley of the Soara stream .
They found them unique characteristics: a perfectly balanced soil, incredibly fertile, very rich in potassium, minerals and organic matter, well drained and with enormous availability of irrigated water due to its proximity to the stream. All positioned between the hillside and the valley floor at 500 meters above sea level
Kernels of the “ Tonda Gentile Romana ” variety were planted using the ” Nocchione ” as a pollinator.
Cultivation was successful but the experimental project was however abandoned a decade later, and the field slowly reabsorbed by the native vegetation.
In the 2000s, an enterprising agricultural entrepreneur from Pietralunghese rediscovered the hazelnut grove and sensed its enormous potential. So it was that with a lot of work and immense passion it was put back into production.
The plants, now fifty years old, have found a simply unique environment in Italy , and give extremely abundant and superb quality harvests.
The fruit is skilfully processed on site, giving life to many products, among which the spreadable, very pure and organic Hazelnut Cream, capable of making anyone enthralled by it stands out.
VISCIOLA and VISCIOLATO, ancient liqueur with an unmistakable flavor
Visciola and Visciolato
Dark red in color, it has a rounded shape, and for the most romantic it resembles a heart.
Juicy and acidic, when ripe it seems tinged with blood.
It is the sour cherry, “sour” cherry ( Prunus Cerasus ) which, together with black cherries and morello cherries, differs from the “sweet” sisters ( Prunus Avium ), commonly and commercially more known.
Always widespread in the piedmont territorial areas of Marche and Umbria , it has never enjoyed rational plants and has never represented a substantial income for the peasants who, however, have never stopped harvesting the fruits and working them to give life to precious preserves and delicious drinks.
In Pietralunga you can come across small family productions that survive thanks to the ability of the stubborn inhabitants.
The local sour cherries, harvested at full maturity around the end of June, are delicately crushed and added to the wine produced with grapes from the small family vineyards. After removing the stones from the mass and adding alcohol and sugar syrup, the mixture matures for 45 days before being filtered with a cloth made on a loom and bottled.
Next to the family micro-productions there are also those who have created a real small cellar of sour cherry liqueur by elaborating the original recipe of Giuseppe Polchi , historical pharmacist of Pietralunga. The sour cherries were pitted one by one and filtered with a linen cloth: he had well understood the multiple properties of sour cherries and had thought of creating a balanced and usable production for everyone.
Visciolato today is a fortified wine, with a fragrant and complex flavor, suitable for accompanying the end of a meal but also for tastings of blue cheeses.
Explore the thousand faces of Pietralunga