Comings & Goings

Strong Women in Fashion

Rolling out the red carpet, last Thursday we joined forces with three other local businesses, here in Georgetown, to create an experience like no other. With gorgeous gowns from Signature Dresses and Lili the First, breathtaking hair and makeup done by Illusions Salon of Georgetown, this fashion show was not really about the looks. Rather, to us Strong Women in Fashion was more than just a fashion show, it was a way for us and our collaborators to reach out and give back to the community.  All proceeds from the event, including ticket sales, were donated to Suited for Change. For those who do not know, Suited for Change is the leading nonprofit organization that provides professional attire, mentoring, and job-readiness skills to women seeking financial independence in the DC area. Overall we want our message to be clear: Female Empowerment. Uniquely yet unsurprisingly, the four businesses that collaborated to create this event are owned by women. As the idea for this event sprouted, the owners began to ask themselves, what does it mean to be a strong woman? Every person you ask will give you a different answer, but we agreed across the board that a strong woman is someone who believes in herself and believes that nothing can hold her back. In fashion, the runway is the epitome of strength, all eyes are on the model, what she is wearing, and how she wears it. And in life, clothing has the innate ability to empower women; when she looks fierce she feels fierce, and when she feels fierce she is fierce. For this fashion show we did not go out and hire runway models, instead we found women that everyone can relate to: DC Fashion and Lifestyle bloggers. These bloggers are the women we take the final word from regarding what to do, what to wear, and where to eat. Truthfully, any woman could have strutted her stuff down our red carpet runway, and that was the point. Strong Women in Fashion was never about us, it was and still is about the people we can inspire.

Photo Credits: Jeremy Goins & Snapshots by Sierra

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More than a Fashion Show Read more

Rolling out the red carpet, last Thursday we joined forces with three other local businesses, here in Georgetown, to create an experience ...

Smoked Salmon Tasting

There isn’t a single event at Via Umbria that I don’t look forward to but the Ivy City Smoked Salmon tasting particularly piqued my interest. I know I’m not alone that for me and my family, smoked salmon is a kind of simple luxury. We enjoy smoked salmon by itself as a snack or for breakfast in our bagels or for dinner in a salad or a pasta. Our affinity for smoked salmon can let us tell you that not all brands are created equal which made Ivy City’s appearance much more intriguing.

Salmon-with-Smoked-Cream-Ch

It was an intimate event which fostered intimate connections. I was seated next to some Via Umbria regulars, and by regulars I mean almost daily customers, whom I had been acquainted with before. As always, conversation flowed freely while we noshed samples of five of Ivy City’s smoked fish paired with a variety of spreads, my favorite of which was a creamy goat’s milk butter. An Ivy City rep explained to us the kinds of salmon we would be tasting which was an educational experience in and of itself. I did not even know there was such a thing as hot and cold smoking!

The salmon itself was divine which makes it no surprise that Via Umbria has started carrying it. smoked salmonddThree in particular stood out to me; the traditional smoked salmon was superb and as someone who appreciates the classics, I wondered as soon as it hit my lips if there was any way I could send this to my mother who lives 2,000 miles away. This is the kind of salmon that you want on a Sunday morning when you want to feel decadent without leaving the comfort of your home. The other two surprised me, one that had hints of dill and the Ivy City signature “Salmon Candy” which carried notes of honey without being overly sweet. The savoriness of the salmon and the honey played so well together that I only wish I could have more.

If you missed the tasting and are in the neighborhood please stop by to take a look at the Ivy City products Via Umbria has started carrying. You will never regret an opportunity to let what Via Umbria has to offer meet your taste buds.

Author: Judith Crews

The Only Kind of Smoking Mothers are OK With Read more

There isn’t a single event at Via Umbria that I don’t look forward to but the Ivy City Smoked Salmon tasting particularly piqued ...

Celebrate the true Venetian-style Carnevale in DC

Grab your masks and celebrate Carnevale with us!

carnevale di venezia

Ready to pack your masks and fly to Venice? No worries if you can’t make it to the other end of the world for a weekend, because we are here to give you the real Carnevale experience (without the long flight)!

To give a little bit of background, Carnevale is the final celebration before Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. During the 40 days of Lent, many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penance – hence, people have to get rid of all of their rich food and drink (and partying of course!) out of the way before then. In fact, it is often rumored that the word Carnevale itself may have derived from the Latin words “carne” and “vale”, meaning “farewell to meat”!

Although there have been some interruptions and political bans throughout years, Italians started celebrating Carnevale in the 13th century. Traditionally, the fanciest and most glamorous celebrations take place in Ivrea, Viareggio, Putignano, Acireale and -of course- in Venezia! Today, Carnevale di Venezia is celebrated for two weeks by about 3 million tourists from all over the world, and is best known for its elegant masks. Even though many events- especially the most glamorous masquerade balls- are invite only and have expensive ticket prices, many others such as the concerts and street performances are free and open to public.

Have you already started feeling upset that you are missing this exciting and trendy festival? There is no reason to! Luckily, Via Umbria is hosting a Carnevale Celebration, a raucous party featuring all-you-can-eat Carnevale foods and special Carnevale cocktails. Join us for food, fun and masquerade and cut loose as we count down the days toward Lent.

For information on our Carnevale Celebrations please visit our website: viaumbria.com/events

Wednesday February 22 – Carnevale Masquerade

Tuesday February 28 – Cocktail Class: Fat Tuesday

Buon Carnevale!

Ready to pack your masks and fly to Venice? Read more

Grab your masks and celebrate Carnevale with us! Ready to pack your masks and fly to Venice? No worries if you can’t make ...

How To Pasta The Time

Three o’ clock is a blissful hour at Via Umbria. Late afternoon sun streams through the storefront windows, bathing the shelves in soft, golden light. Since I started writing for Via Umbria last month, this has always been my favorite time to pop downstairs and taste the scrumptious samples scattered throughout the shop: perhaps a morsel of mostaccioili by the register, or a cheddar crumble at the cheese counter.  But yesterday, tantalizing aromas of bacon and freshly grated parmesan wafted from the cafe, and I had a hunch that an even greater snack lay in store.

Ernesto Parziani, chef and owner of the celebrated Umbrian restaurant Perbacco, was in the midst of a mouth-watering pasta and sauce cooking demonstration. With his week-long visit drawing to a close, I knew that this was an opportunity not to be missed.

Rolling pin in hand, Ernesto smiled and waved me over to his station, which was scattered with eggs, flour, parmesan wedges, and an array of pasta-making instruments. Water boiled next to a sizzling pan of bacon on a portable stovetop. I trotted over as Ernesto began to press a small, yellow mound of dough into the table.

I thought of the trays of delicate, ribbed tubes of Garganelli pasta that participants fashioned in his cooking class on Sunday, and wondered what was in store for this dough.

“I like to teach fresh pasta,” Ernesto told me as he rolled the mound of dough into a circle the size of a tortilla. “But you must find right consistency. If it’s too hard, it is difficult to roll. If it’s too soft, it sticks to everything.” He began to dust the dough with fine, white flour.

“My favorite dish to make is pasta. For us, in Italy, it’s like bread,” he explained, We eat it all the time, everywhere, with vegetables, with meat sauce, with fish, with eggs.” I gulped, mouth watering at the thought of such a world. Ernesto began pressing the dough into the taut steel strings of a chitarra, a guitar-like cooking instrument that Ernesto used to slice the flat yellow circle of dough into delicate strands of pasta before my eyes.

This dough will become spaghetti a la chitarra.
This dough will become spaghetti a la chitarra.

I hovered over him in awe.  “How did you learn to do this?” I asked.

“It was obvious,” he shrugged. Of course. I should have known.

“When you see your mother, your grandmother make pasta three days a week, it is obvious,” Ernesto smiled. I glanced down again at the spread of ingredients, and wondered aloud about the presence of the eggs. Wasn’t pasta just … water and flour?

“In Umbria,” Ernesto explained, “we used to make pasta without eggs. Just flour and water, or perhaps one egg white without the yolk. It’s called Strangozzi.” Ernesto pried a strand of pasta from the chittara and brought it to his neck, feigning strangulation. “We eat it simply, at home, with tomato sauce.”

“You see,” he continued, “in Umbria, we started to add eggs when we began selling eggs to make money. But in the North of Italy, they have always used a lot of eggs. For example, where my wife comes from–Parma, Bologna, places in the region of Emilia-Romagna–they use a lot of yolks … and this.” Ernesto gestured towards a large bowl of white flour.

“But in the South, like Sicily, near North Africa, they make dry pasta, with semolina.” He pointed to a smaller dish of tan, coarse flour. “They make pasta, but they make couscous too. Whereas in the North, they make pasta, but also they use corn flour to make polenta.” Ernesto arranged his raw pasta into a nest on the table.

This pasta-making instrument is called a "chitarra" (Italian for guitar) because of its strings.
This pasta-making instrument is called a “chitarra” (Italian for guitar) because of its strings.

“It’s too much for one person,” he sighed.

“I could eat it all!” I exclaimed.

Ernesto shook his head. “No. Too much for one person.”

As he dropped the pasta into the boiling pot, I remembered that in Italy, pasta is just one of many courses in a meal. But before I could finish that thought, Ernesto had tossed the pasta into a pan, where he speedily sautéed it in bacon and carbonara. Suddenly, a masterpiece lay before me. My heart fluttered–even if it was “too much for one person,” no one else was there to eat it with me! But as Ernesto grated a pile of fresh parmesan onto his creation, I heard Bill’s voice ring out from across the cafe.

“We got here just in time!” he called to us, an old friend following just behind him. I sighed as Ernesto divided the spaghetti onto four plates. My glutenous, gluttonous dreams had been dashed, but that ceased to matter as soon as I took the first bite. It was absolute heaven, and once I’d cleaned my plate, I realized that Ernesto had been right. Any more than that would have been too much. I thanked him heartily, and walked back to my desk feeling sated, but not gorged. And for that, I was grateful.

 -Lizzie

Pasta Making with Ernesto! Read more

Three o' clock is a blissful hour at Via Umbria. Late afternoon sun streams through the storefront windows, bathing the shelves in ...

Dishing With Chef Jennifer McIlvaine

Acclaimed chef Jennifer McIlvaine has lead a whirlwind of dinners and cooking classes this week at Via Umbria as part of our Terre Margaritelli Takeover. Today, we sat down to chat about camp grills, eno-gastronomic tours, and her transcontinental culinary journey.

How did you get your start as a chef?

Like most people, I started out working in French-based restaurants. Eventually, I worked at an Italian restaurant in Seattle, and then opened a street food business called Bruschettina. This was way before all of the food trucks. I was one of the first people doing street food in Seattle.

What made you decide to do that?

People would go to these hip, chic farmer’s markets all over Seattle to buy organic produce, but there was nothing to eat at the markets except hotdogs and crepes. So I had this idea to cook at farmer’s markets. I would get vegetables from the farmers, bread from the organic bread guys, and then I’d make toppings. I had camp grills, so I would toast the bread and then list the toppings on a little chalkboard saying where I got all the ingredients. It was huge, actually.

Jennifer working the camp grills.
Jennifer working the camp grills.

How did you get from Seattle to Italy?

While I was doing Bruschettina, I won an internship through the women’s chef association to work on an agriturismo in Tuscany. While I was there I would cook private dinners, which is how I met my husband, Federico. Like any good Umbrian, he was like, “No, you can’t be in Tuscany! Come to Umbria!” So on the weekend I would visit him and meet various producers. Then he worked a lot in Seattle after I went back, and eventually we moved to Umbria.

This way for Umbrian agriturismo !
This way to an Umbrian agriturismo !

And that’s when you started working at Il Bacco Felice in Foglino.

Right. I worked for a very well-known chef Salvatore Denaro. It was a crazy learning experience. I had to jump into the Italian way of cooking, which is completely different. Half the time, Salvatore would lay out ingredients and I just had to magically know what to do with them. And I didn’t know! I had no idea. And I didn’t speak the language. But that’s also where I learned how to work a fire grill. We don’t have those in the States unless you’re camping! It was great. After working there on and off for about a year, I opened up my own restaurant, Trattoria Basiliko.

What was that like?

My partner was a woman who had a restaurant around the corner in Foglino. I was in the kitchen and she was in the front of the house. We ran that for about two years. but we both got pregnant at about the same time, so that was the end of that.

How did you get into leading eno-gastronomic tours?

It started very organically. About a year after my daughter was born, somebody was visiting and asked me to to take them to a farm, because when I had my restaurant I was one of the few people who actually went to the farms to buy the meat and produce. Then somebody else asked me to do a cooking class. It started slowly, through word of mouth, and just kind of took off. When people rent villas, especially Bill and Suzy’s house, I cook for them and teach cooking classes. I also do food and wine tours of the area. Lots of cycling, hiking, horseback riding. It’s active stuff, but there’s always food and wine involved. So maybe after cycling, there’s a picnic lunch in the middle of the valley, or after horseback riding we have lunch at Federico’s winery.

The perfect spot for a late lunch.
The perfect spot for a late lunch.

How do you like to cook at home?

We live in the center of an old medieval town, so we have a fireplace in the middle of our kitchen. In the winter, it’s going all the time. I do a lot of cooking on the fireplace … meat, fish … I’ve done pasta over the fire. It’s not easy, but it’s great if you have time.

Learn the tricks of the trade from Jennifer before she leaves town at our Hands On Pizza Party this Sunday! And if you’d like to meet her in Umbria, you’re always welcome to stay at the Via Umbria villa.

 

 

A chat about her transcontinental culinary journey Read more

Acclaimed chef Jennifer McIlvaine has lead a whirlwind of dinners and cooking classes this week at Via Umbria as part of our Terre Margaritelli ...

Talking Olive Oil with Expert Federico Bibi

In late 2015, scandal rocked the Italian olive oil industry. An anti-fraud investigation found that several major olive oil companies were passing off low-quality oil as extra virgin, and charging customers accordingly. Wondering what all the fuss is about? We sat down with visiting olive oil expert Federico Bibi of Trampetti Olio to figure out the difference between extra virgin and everything else.

“Extra virgin olive oil is mechanically extracted olive oil. There are no chemicals involved in the process,” Federico explains. “It’s very simple.”  Farmers harvest the olives and bring them to a mill, where they’re pitted and smashed. The resulting pulp is processed first in a centrifuge that divides solids and liquids, and then again in another centrifuge that separates water from oil.

“If chemicals are involved in any part of this process … like, to make the oil easier to extract, or if there is heat involved … it’s not extra virgin olive oil,” Federico clarifies.

Trampetti, Federico’s small olive oil company, has done things the extra virgin way since the beginning. In 1999, while studying at university, Federico and his friend Massimo wanted to get into the food and wine industry. But wine was tricky. “Growing the vines … it’s complicated,” Federico says. “For olive oil, it’s much easier. You need olive trees, then you process the olives, and you get the oil.”

A view from the Trampetti olive grove.
A view from the Trampetti olive grove.

The flip side? “Earning money from olive oil … it’s really, really hard. The process is very expensive. Sixty percent of the production cost of olive oil is just about harvest,” he laughs.

Growers have several options when it comes to harvesting their crop, but not all are methods are created equal. “Basically, you can decide to pick the olives at peak harvest,” Federico elaborates. “You can do that when olives are still green, but harder to harvest, or you can wait till they are more mature, which is much easier. The same person in the same season can harvest almost double the quantity in one day just because the olives are more mature.” This route cuts production costs in half.

Even more cost-effective is the popular approach of stretching nets under the trees and waiting for the olives to fall. “That costs nothing,” Federico smiles. “But here is an example I use all the time when I do olive oil tastings: would you prefer to eat an apple straight from the tree when it’s nice and perfectly mature, or from the tree when it’s overly mature, or from the ground?”

Trampetti does things the hard way, and harvests olives at their freshest. “Our focus is to make an olive oil with the maximum amount of antioxidants,” Federico notes. This makes Trampetti olive oil healthier, and gives it a longer shelf life.

Via Umbria is flush with Trampetti.
Via Umbria is flush with Trampetti.

“The flavor is damaged by oxidation, so a high level of antioxidants means the flavor will stay.” With Trampetti olive oil, “whatever you get in January will be the same in June, or September.” But that’s not common among other brands. “Too often, people will buy oil that stays good for 3, 4, maybe 6 months, then loses its flavor and starts to become sweet.”

Trampetti’s product, of course, costs more than the average $7.00 bottle at the supermarket. “It’s very important to explain to people why there is such a big difference in price for different olive oils,” Federico adds. At Trampetti, quality isn’t compromised to slash retail prices.

But all this is just the tip of the olive branch. Learn more on Wednesday, February 24th at 7 pm for a guided olive oil tasting with Federico himself. See you then!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The difference between extra virgin and everything else Read more

In late 2015, scandal rocked the Italian olive oil industry. An anti-fraud investigation found that several major olive oil companies were passing off low-quality oil as ...

Spritz O’ Clock

When the clock strikes cocktails, know where to go! At Via Umbria, Spritz O’Clock is every cocktail connoisseur’s favorite time of day. Featuring local spirits from area distilleries, our daily happy hour offers the finest libations this side of the Potomac.

Wipe a long day away with a light, bright Aperol Spritz. Prosecco and an orange garnish give this Italian favorite a crisp, fruity finish. Request Campari in lieu of Aperol for bittersweet notes.

A classic Aperol Spritz. For a bittersweet finish, replace Aperol with Campari.
The Aperol Spritz debuted in Italy in the 1950’s, and has been a national favorite ever since.

Nurse a Negroni made with Green Hat Gin from New Columbia Distillers, the first craft distillery to open in Washington, DC. Gin aficionados will also savor our classic G & T, featuring Vigilant Gin from DC’s oldest-newest distillery, Jos. A. Magnus & Co. 

Invented in Florence in 1919, the Negroni is an Italian classic.
Rumor has it that the first Negroni was mixed in Florence in 1919 at the behest of Count Camillo Negroni.

Or, if you’re feeling old school, kick back with our timeless Manhattan, the grandfather of American cocktails. Our rendition sings with a healthy dose of award-winning Roundstone Rye by Catoctin Creek Distillery, the first distillery in Loudon County since Prohibition, and a splash of Capitoline Sweet Rose Vermouth, jointly produced by New Columbia Distillers and Etto Restaurant. An elegant Luxardo maraschino cherry adds the finishing touch.

Whether shaken or stirred, even Mr. Bond would agree that our martini is to die for. This quintessential cocktail derives its smoothness from Royal Seal Vodka, another Jos. A. Magnus specialty spirit. After one sip, you’ll see why the martini has been called “the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet.”

Quench your thirst Italian-style with a simple Campari & Soda, or revel in a sweet spot of Limoncello, MandarinettoConcerto, or ‘5’ Cinque Aperitivo, courtesy of artisanal liqueur producer Don Ciccio & Figli.

So, what are you waiting for? Breeze by any day after 4 pm for Spritz ‘O Clock, the happiest hour at Via Umbria.

Watch and see how to make a perfect Aperol Spritz with ease.

 

All about the Italian Happy Hour Read more

When the clock strikes cocktails, know where to go! At Via Umbria, Spritz O'Clock is every cocktail connoisseur's favorite time of day. Featuring local spirits ...

A Blizzard To Remember

On Friday afternoon when the flakes began to fall, owners Bill and Suzy Menard said they weren’t going anywhere. Restaurants and businesses shuttered up and down Wisconsin Avenue, but Via Umbria had no such plans. The store had recently moved to Georgetown, and everyone agreed this blizzard would be a perfect opportunity to get to know the neighbors.

A snowy Wisconsin Avenue.
A snowy Wisconsin Avenue.

Scott Weiss, Via Umbria’s resident charcutier, stayed until close that evening with a handful of other staff. “I saw a lot of cases of wine leaving,” he recalls. “We probably sold 6-8 chickens that day … normally we sell about 6 chickens a week.”

By nightfall, the blizzard was in full force. Everyone trekked over to the Georgetown Inn, where they stayed two to a room and made the journey back to the shop on foot the next morning. The glow of the Via Umbria storefront was the only light as far as the eye could see, and the neighborhood took note.

“We were packed all weekend,” Scott remembers. “All the seats were filled in the cafe downstairs, and the communal tables up in the Laboratorio and Galleria were full too.” Chef Simone cooked for coworkers and patrons alike in the Via Umbria demo kitchen, and Scott trotted out his barista skills to keep a steady stream of espresso flowing all weekend. Guests tucked in to the cafe’s stash of boardgames, enjoying endless rounds of Battleship, Quiddler, and Apples to Apples.

“It was fun, because we got to see a lot of people who otherwise would have been busy or working,” said hospitality and events manager Lindsey Menard, who spoke with the Georgetown Current about what it was like to be one of the few neighborhood spots open during the storm.

Many thanks to everyone who dropped by. We hope to see you soon!

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday to DC's big blizzard Read more

On Friday afternoon when the flakes began to fall, owners Bill and Suzy Menard said they weren't going anywhere. Restaurants and businesses shuttered up ...

Via Umbria’s Top 7 Resolutions

We make New Years resolutions for many reasons (and break them for many more). This year, make a resolution you are excited to keep, and aim to change your lifestyle in small ways that will feed you emotionally and physically.
With the New Year looming, resolve to bring new experiences into your life, and have fun while doing it.

Via Umbria’s Top Seven Resolutions for a Fuller Life

Rissa Miller Ravioli

Resolution #1: Learn to Cook.

Solution: Stop squinting at recipes on your computer screen and join one of our fun, relaxed, interactive classes. Sip a glass of our Italian wine while you laugh with new friends and learn simple techniques from our favorite Umbrian Chef, Simone!

Italian cooking is simple at its heart, and there’s no better place to learn the basic steps you can take to improve your kitchen game than in our brand new laboratorio.

Make 2016 the year you answer the question “what’s for dinner?” with enthusiasm and ease. Take the first step towards that goal by signing up for one of Chef Simone’s Umbrian cooking classes, here for a limited time in January.

Bill Menard at Ernestos Perbacco Canara

Resolution #2: Indulge in the finer things in life.

Solution: Italians know that nothing makes a day special quite like surrounding yourself with the finest things life has to offer, and for us, that means making every meal a celebration.

Every time we return to Italy we are reminded that Italians know how to work the finer things in life into their daily routines, and in 2016 we are dedicated to following their example.

Did you forget to celebrate the New Year in style with caviar and bubbles? Via Umbria now has sparkling wine, caviar, and blini – stop in and stock up and turn any day into a momentous foodie moment in the New Year. Or stop by our store to peruse our ceramics collection – eating off a work of art is a luxury that will make every meal feel special.

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Resolution #3: Travel more

Solution: What are your favorite memories from 2015? Do some of them involve traveling with loved ones? Here at Via Umbria some of our most cherished moments from the past year are our times in Italy.

In the upcoming year, book the remarkable getaway you’ve always dreamed of. Spend a week at the Fattoria del Gelso with those you love – with spacious accommodations that can house up to 16 of your closest friends and family, there is no excuse for leaving anyone behind.

For those of you eager for a family-free (and stress-free) excursion, Bill and Suzy’s tours are a perfect opportunity to relax and let someone else guide you through the wonders of Umbria. Engage with a new part of the world as Bill and Suzy show you their Umbria and help you experience the ‘Green Heart of Italy’ as locals, not as tourists. They will take you to their favorite restaurants, run by families who have become close friends and whose love for the land and its bounty is apparent in every dish. They’ll share with you the history and art that is found in the area’s museums, galleries and excavations, as well as in the streets of the many significant towns of the region. You’ll spend time in the company of locals who embody the hospitality and grace of Umbria.  Sign up now before it’s too late! Vinopalooza (April 17-23), Cucinapalooza (April 11-17), and our Food and Wine Tours (October 15-21 and 22-28) are three fantastic options.

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Resolution #4: Savor Richer Flavors 

Solution: Eat amazing cheese! Come in and talk with our friendly cheesemonger (the Cheese Whiz) and find your new favorite snack, or let them help you create the perfect cheese plate for your next party, hassle free.

Just as Italians make a weekly stop at the local latteria, getting the most flavorful cheese at our counter is guaranteed to improve your quality of life. You deserve some good, quality cheese in the New Year.

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Resolution #5: Discover a new favorite wine

Solution: Be a little adventurous. Come browse our selection of unique, small production wines, large enough to comprehensively cover Italy but manageable enough not to be overwhelmed. Our nonjudgmental, Italian-only approach to wines will make you feel stimulated and satisfied. Come to one of our complementary tastings every day to learn about our curated selection – our Wine Director would love to talk to you!

For a unique experience, sign up to wine and dine with Chef and Wine Director Vickie Reh as she hosts a series of curated wine dinners in our Enoteca throughout January. Be surrounded by the wines you drink with your food in this immersive experience!  For reservations, book here.

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Resolution #6: Discover the perfect “happy hour”

Solution: Italians know how to relax. Bring some of this spirit to your new year and wind down in our cafe during Spritz O’Clock!

Every day in the cafe from 5-7 PM, enjoy a new take on the traditional ‘bar snacks’ with our rotating menu of small plates for one or to share, and pair it with our favorite Italian cocktails or a glass of wine.

Meet new people as you snack on the bites found in bars and cafes across Italy. It’s an Italian piazza here in Georgetown.

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Resolution #7: Share new experiences

Solution: Would you like to expand your network of amici in 2016? To make meaningful connections with your neighbors? Make new friends (and bring the old) when you dine at one of our communal tables.

Whether you are enjoying a lively feast in our Laboratorio (kitchen), or a more intimate celebration in our Enoteca (Wine Room), there is no better place to come together for an exceptional, one-of-a-kind evening. With our ever-changing menus, we have an approach to dining that will redefine the idea of “eat local” with “eat convivially.” Combine that with our open kitchen design, which gives you the ability to watch your food being made, and interact with your Chef throughout the meal, and you will find that this is one resolution that you’ll be sticking to long after the New Year.

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At Via Umbria we strive to create Italian experiences right here in Washington, DC. So our ultimate resolution for 2016 is to enrich our lives with the things that really feed our soul – starting with the above list. In the words of our owner, Bill Menard:

“After our first night back in Umbria, following a day of discovery, of enjoyment, of relaxing and of peace and contentment, perhaps we are inching closer to understanding the secret that is Italy. Perhaps it is not one thing that makes Italy Italy, perhaps it is the sweep, the bounty of this place. But those things – the food, the wine, the landscape, the history, the art, the lyrical language, crazy drivers in tiny cars and museum-like cities – they are not the answer themselves. They are the things that satisfy the cravings that Suzy has. That I have. That our tour guests have. That Ernesto and Simone have. Each craving personal, each craving as deep as the soul and each craving desperately in search of satisfaction. Put simply, Italy feeds what you hunger for.”

 

Happy New Year from Via Umbria!

 

Resolve to bring new experiences into your life Read more

We make New Years resolutions for many reasons (and break them for many more). This year, make a resolution you are excited ...

Pasta Making Party at Via Umbria

With the arrival of our liquor license, we can now host events in our upstairs labratorio and Galleria! So we kicked off our events schedule with an pasta making party to remember.

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Spritzes in hand, our group had a riotous time learning how to make pasta from scratch, including squid ink pasta and ravioli.

Chef Rissa Miller offers pasta making tips
Chef Rissa Miller offers pasta making tips
Squid Ink Pasta
Squid Ink Pasta
Guests get their hands dirty!
Guests get their hands dirty!

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After learning the techniques, they moved to the Galleria for a leisurely, family-style meal featuring a pasta bar of their own creations and wonderful Umbrian wines.

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If you are interested in hosting a party at Via Umbria in the future, please contact events@viaumbria.com or call 202.333.3904 – we would love to have you!

 

Ci Vediamo!

 

– Via Umbria

Celebrating our Liquor License! Read more

With the arrival of our liquor license, we can now host events in our upstairs labratorio and Galleria! So we kicked off our events ...

Meals To Go, Now At Via Umbria

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This week we will begin offering meals to go in our cafe. Chef-prepared meals for two, made primarily from local and organic ingredients, will be ready from the late afternoon through 7:00 PM to pick up, then simply heat at home. Our meals are prepared by Chef Jodie Steiner in our upstairs kitchen, and then paired with an Italian wine from our Sommelier Vickie Reh, which you can opt to include. Prices will range from $25 to $65 for two people, before wine pairing.

Chef Jodie
Chef Jodie

 

Wednesday, December 9:

Braised Lamb with Fig and Lemon, Barley Pilaf, Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

$40 for two people

Pairing: Adanti Arquata Rosso dell’Umbria 2007

Thursday, December 10:
Umbrian sausages braised with Castelluccio Lentils, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Potatoes
$30 for two people
Pairing: Pardi Montefalco Rosso
Friday, December 11:
Chicken with Salsify (scorzanera) and Hazelnuts, Sauteed Spaghetti Squash, Braised Kale
$35 for two people
 Pairing: Montefalco Rosso Sololoro 2011
Saturday, December 12:
Sunchoke Soup, Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Red Cabbage Braised with Red Wine and Chestnuts, Farro Pilaf, Sauteed Spinach, Cheese Plate selected by our cheesemonger
$60 for two people

Pairing: Terre Margaritelli Rosso torgiano Mirantico 2010

Sunday, December 13:
Beef Pepato al Sagrantino, Mashed Potato, Sauteed Peppers
$35 for two people

Pairing: Tabarrini Sagrantino Colle Grimaldesco 2009

 

Email feedme@viaumbria.com to place your order click on the item to buy online, or call us at 202.333.3904 to order, and we will bring the meal out to your car if you pull up!

So you can enjoy our delicious Umbrian tastes at home! Read more

This week we will begin offering meals to go in our cafe. Chef-prepared meals for two, made primarily from local and organic ...