Events

A Note from Bill and Suzy

I am constantly amazed by Suzy’s and my absolute good fortune in being able to devote our time and energies to developing relationships with incredible Italian artisans in sectors that span food, wine, Italian culture and beyond.  And I often remark that “I don’t deserve this” – meaning that I’m not particularly distinguished or expert in anything having to do with Italy yet I constantly fall into situations where I get to rub elbows with some truly remarkable Italians  – and am able to share them with our friends and customers.

I am truly overwhelmed by an opportunity that came my way recently that I want to share with you.  Recently a friend and customer of ours asked if I had heard of an Italian violin virtuoso named Luca Ciarla, whom she had come across at some point during her travels.  I confessed I had not and she suggested I contact him, believing we would hit it off.  I did a little googling and found some videos of Luca in concert.  I was hooked, literally overwhelmed by his talent and creativity and so I immediately reached out to him by email.  A few emails and phone calls later, he and I were finalizing plans for an art exhibition for late August in our Galleria that would feature the works of a contemporary Italian artist named Keziat, with whom Luca often collaborates in a multimedia, interdisciplinary way.  Luca offered to give a brief performance – “Music for the Eyes” – at Keziat’s opening reception and he suggested that we organize a dinner where he and Keziat would be our special guests and Luca would perform a private mini-concert for our dinner guests.  To say I was blown away by the thought of such a one-of-a-kind experience would be a gross understatement.

I brought this opportunity to our executive chef Liam LaCivita who was intrigued by the idea of preparing a special menu for an “Artists at the Chef’s Table” dinner.  Liam checked out Luca’s concert performances online but was even more moved when he visited Keziat’s website and saw her hauntingly beautiful work.  He then set out to create not just a dinner, but to use the table as a canvas, painting a seven course menu that was inspired by Keziat’s art.  The result is our Artists at the Chef’s Table dinner on Friday, August 30.  As with all of our Chef’s Table dinners, seating is limited.

I want you to be there.

Yes, I want you to join me at this dinner.  I know it’s not cheap.  Tickets are $125 and non-refundable, but this is the type of “I don’t deserve this” experience that I want to share with you.  This sort of thing – an incredible art exhibit, the chance to spend time with the artist in the gallery and over dinner, a private performance by Luca and an inspired menu from Liam – is what makes what Suzy and I do truly special.

You can purchase your tickets online or call the store (202.333.3904).  Or just reply to me by email.  If you can’t make it I would still appreciate it if you would not only spread the word, but urge your friends not to miss this opportunity.  Let them know, too, that Keziat and Luca will be at a special reception for the opening of Keziat’s Introspective exhibition on Thursday (August 30).   Admission is free but tickets are required for any of the three separate hour-long timed receptions at 6:00pm, 7:15pm and 8:30pm.  Light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

I thank you for taking the time to hear me out and look forward to seeing you on Friday.

Best regards,
Bill and Suzy

I am constantly amazed by Suzy's and my absolute good fortune in being able to devote our time and energies to developing ...

Inside the Galleria

The combination of a love for all that is art, those who produce art, and the concept that is Via Umbria all make for a very happy art curator of the Via Umbria Galleria! Put that all together and we have 3 years of of showcasing incredible art from both international and domestic artists in one of the most intimate and inviting galleries in Washington, D.C. I have had this fortunate opportunity to curate from the beginning when Via Umbria first opened.  It is always a wonderful surprise for the those wandering thru the shop, having a relaxing dinner, drinking fantastic Italian wine, or just hanging out with friends, when they open the door on the second floor terrace, and stumble upon the gallery!

Approximately every 6 weeks, a different artist opens a new show with an opening reception that kicks it off. These two hour receptions prove to be different every time making for a fun and educational experience. The artist is available to discuss the works being displayed with any that are interested. The artists clientele and friends, as well as many of our art loving customers all join us in making the evening or afternoon receptions a truly enjoyable time. All while viewing and enjoying the show, you are invited to have some prosecco and small bites coming directly from our kitchen across the terrace. These receptions are open to the public and free of charge. The gallery is also available for private events, and what better venue for your next party or gathering than one surrounded by original art produced by carefully selected and talented artists?

I love the process of finding the next artist and making the decision to show their work. The first meeting, getting promo work figured out together, installation and the opening reception gives me the opportunity to get to know the artist what they want out of their show.  It is a challenging and exciting process, as so much incredible art is out there! Having had everything from abstract expressionism to photo – realism, each show has its own unique feel and every artist their own unique personality. Returning guests will experience a different vibe each show! This is the excitement of art and artists that create. Every person has their own preference of art that they prefer, but opening the doors to new possibilities for them to is what I aim for and enjoy doing in the process.

Guests welcome for the duration of the show and all artist’s pieces are for sale. Don’t forget to check out this hidden gem, a very special part of Via Umbria, if you haven’t already!

The combination of a love for all that is art, those who produce art, and the concept that is Via Umbria all ...

St. Patrick was Italian?

As you could probably guess from the title of this blog post, we are going to suggest an unpopular and rarely heard theory about St. Patrick or San Patrizio: His heritage means he is Italian!

Of course this theory is in jest and is more of an excuse for us to celebrate the holiday that holds his name and celebrates his importance to the island nation of Ireland. Just to give our theory some relevance, St. Patrick was born in modern day Britain, but was during his time, in fact, part of the Roman Empire. By our records, this means that he would be the descendant, like many modern Italians, of the Roman population.

But poor St. Patrick was captured by Irish pirates at a young age and taken to the neighboring island where he would go on to famously banish all snakes and use the three leaf clover as a way to teach about the Catholic Church.

Putting the boring history aside, we will be honoring this “Italian” historical figure with St. Patrick’s weekend specials in our cafe! Come in to enjoy:

Traditional Irish Scones with Currants

Roasted Pear and Cashel Blue Crostini

Prosciutto Cotto(Ham) with Braised Cabbage, Potatoes and  Parsley Sauce

Irish Cheese Board

Pitchers of Beer

 

IMG_7087

IMG_7074

As you could probably guess from the title of this blog post, we are going to suggest an unpopular and rarely heard ...

MELT!

Our annual MELT Fondue Fest is a good excuse for us at Via Umbria to throw a party and celebrate one of our favorite foods: Cheese! This was our 3rd year of hosting and we changed the cheese to keep the event fresh and fun. This years cheese extravaganza focused on 4 signature melted cheese dishes:

1)Italian Fonduta–  Melted Fontina Val D’Aosta with Grappa
2) Queso Blanco– Melted Queso Blanco with Jack Cheese, Cumin, Green Chiles and Cayenne
3) Alpine Fondue– Classic Melted Gruyere
4) Carnaroli Risotto-Carnaroli Risotto Made in a wheel of Grana Padano

Each cheese was also specially paired with a beer or wine to perfectly compliment it’s flavors.  Below you will find some of our favorite shots of this year’s event, and if you weren’t able to attend then we look forward to seeing you next year!

IMG_9665
IMG_2132

IMG_5117

 

IMG_7574

 

IMG_9651

IMG_9536

IMG_9444

 

IMG_8888

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 3.10.09 PM

Our annual MELT Fondue Fest is a good excuse for us at Via Umbria to throw a party and celebrate one of ...

Erin’s Thoughts: Right is Wrong?

A question in the restaurant industry that has been up for debate for years: which is the correct way to serve and clear each guest’s place settings? Is it better to serve and clear the guest’s dishes from the left or from the right?

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 1.46.46 PM

Some go by “service on the left, clearing on the right”, which originated from when butlers would present food to their guests on the left side. The guest would then either take food from what the butler had showcased or the butler would serve them but both would be served on the right side. This is also thought to be less intrusive to guests as more people are right handed than left handed; therefore, you won’t be reaching over your guest to deliver their meal.

Others seem to believe that “service and clearing from the right” is the correct way to serve. This is because wine is always served on the right as the wine glasses are set on the right side above the plate. The only food that should be presented on the left is bread because each guest’s bread plate is on the left.

I personally have seen servers do a little bit of both but I think it all comes down to whatever the guest is comfortable with. Every server’s goal is to make the diner happy and to make the overall experience pleasant.

And although there are many ways to serve, we here at Via Umbria think that it is most important to enjoy your meal, your company, and your dining experience. If you haven’t already been to an event or dinner at Via Umbria, I highly recommend that you do so you can see what we’re all about! We have so many different options to offer; whether it be a delectable meal at one of our Chef’s Table dinners, eating a quick lunch or dinner in our Cafe, or attending one of our many cooking or cocktail classes. Come hungry and we’ll do the rest from there!

A question in the restaurant industry that has been up for debate for years: which is the correct way to serve and ...

Honoring Suzy Menard

I was fortunate to be born to two amazing people. My parents raised all of us to be confident that we could do anything and to always feel comfortable speaking up. We enjoyed dinner together every night with lively discussions around the table. As children we were meant to be seen and heard.

My parents were leaders in all they did and they passed on a strong sense of family and community to all of us. My mother came from a large family – I have 41 first cousins on her side. Whether it meant babysitting for my younger cousins for free or having family live with us in hard times – we took care of each other. We always had room for everyone My mother would throw huge elaborate parties for business and for us kids. We loved hearing a knock on the door signalling that someone was driving by and wanted to drop in. We never ran out of food at the table or space for someone who needed to crash. Sometimes as an adult it is tough staying friends with my relatives on Facebook – but the memories of playing football and cards together balances out their crazy political positions.

My father was the youngest state senator ever elected to office in Iowa and went on to hold many political positions and ran for Governor in the ‘70’s. We knew from a young age that our behavior would reflect on our parents. It was not an option for us to misbehave or get into trouble. So minor infractions like being 5 minutes late on curfew or neglecting to unload the dishwasher were the biggest trouble we got into (boy were my folks lucky). As Iowans we were used to seeing all of the presidential candidates around town – as Worthington’s we were used to seeing all the Democratic candidates around our kitchen table. Dad was pretty influential and it was important to get his early support. So while other kids would be playing video games (like Pong) I was knocking on doors collecting peanuts for Carter.

My passion for politics lead me to DC. I loved Iowa, but after visiting Georgetown as a teen-ager – I knew that DC had my heart. No longer collecting peanuts for Carter – I was part of a new, inspired Fundraising team with the audacious goal of raising $12 million for Walter Mondale. The money was raised (really does seem like peanuts today) but unfortunately was not enough and we suffered the biggest political landslide in history. It wasn’t enough to discourage me – and the upside was that I made a best friend who became my husband. The family back in Iowa had heard me talk throughout the election about my buddy Menard – they hadn’t met him but clearly liked him. Toward the end of the campaign when I started talking about my new boyfriend Bill – there was some slight hesitation and disappointment. Cleared up easily when I started referring to my new beau as Bill Menard. At least something good came out of that election

We continued to work in politics and made many friends over our wins and losses. Today it is strange to see friends we knew in their 20’s & 30’s become Top Level Advisors and Party Leaders.

After much thought we decided to start a family in Washington – we were both hooked on the city. Austin was born the summer after our big Dukakis loss (again – at least something good came out of that election!) We decided to take a break from politics – Bill started at Georgetown Law and I decided to stay home with Austin. I have always felt fortunate that I had the choice of working outside of the home or staying home. I was one happy housewife. Lindsey was born just shy of Austin’s second birthday. We had two great kids, Bill was working at a big firm downtown, we were making new friends in our neighborhood. Life was Good. Why not make it better – we had always talked about having a big family with the number of kids ever changing – but we definitely wanted to have more. We were surprised, frightened and excited when we discovered that we were expecting twins. Identical boys – Teddy and Davis.

Bringing the twins home to a house with a three year old and not quite five year old was probably the most daunting task of my life. But as always we settled into a routine that worked. With so many children running around there was no chance of just one of us raising the children – it was all hands on deck. If someone offered to help out I never said no. Bill has always been a great dad and involved in the kids lives. Its truly been a partnership raising our kids.

We have had several adventures in Italy over the years. After Bill’s first year at law school he signed up for summer school in Florence. We had a little apartment on the other side of the Arno. Bill would take the bus to Fiesole to study American Constitutional Law in the mornings and Austin and I would explore Florence. Visiting the parks and public pool, shopping and eating a lot of Gelato. Bill would finish class and we would leave Austin home with my cousing who was traveling with us and Bill and I would go out discovering Florence. Over the three months there we met several Italian friends who we are still in touch with today. Bill proudly graduated Law school with Lindsey on his shoulder a proud father and JD.

When the twins were turning 5 we took all four children to Italy. We were in the Cinque Terre and took cooking classes with a local Chef who was fabulous. It was the early stages of the internet and he was a big early believer. He promoted his courses with great success online and wanted to set up a small company where he could provide extra virgin olive oil, traditional balsamic vinegar and coffee to his clients in the states. Always looking for a challenge – we immediately agreed to work with him and went through the process of figuring out how to import food products from Italy.

When this hobby turned into more of a full time responsibility we had the option to shut down or go all in with a bricks and mortar store. Never one to walk away from a challenge we set our sights high and joined forces with good friends to open up Bella Italia in Bethesda. Now we were really learning how to import products from Italy.

Our trips to Italy became more focused and we travelled throughout Italy finding new products and meeting new families who were passionate about their craft. Eating, drinking, and shopping became my full time job. The more we travelled the more people we met and the more we became rooted in Umbria. Several of the artists we were doing business with had become part of our family. All trips to Italy had a stop in Umbria. When we decided to buy a home in Italy – there was no doubt that we would buy in Umbria. And as a result our Italian family has expanded. Zia Augusta joined us for Teddy’s graduation, our oldest son Simone calls me Mommy, and of course we practically kidnapped Jennifer and her two children last spring when we were short in the kitchen. When we visit in Italy we have friends and neighbors (our family) who will drop by with a piece of cheese they saw at the market and wanted to make sure we had an opportunity to try or stop by for a drink and stay for dinner.

Our summer dinner parties in Italy are a blast – often introducing our Italian neighbors to each other. Their talents, their commitment to their art, their promise to continuing tradition is inspiring and makes us return to DC wanting to shout from the rooftops – come and see what these amazing people have done.

I am fortunate to have met my partner in life at a young age. Hard to believe it will be 32 years in December. Raising four kids together was a challenge – running a business 24/7 is an even bigger challenge! Only possible remembering at the end of the day we love each other and we love what we do.

Anyone who knows me knows that I use a lot of inappropriate words. The only word to me that is truly inappropriate is NO. When we began the buildout of Via Umbria our vision was confusing to others. Contractors and Architects are used to cookie cutter projects – is it a Restaurant? Is it a Market? Is it a Cafe? Can you sell wine? By design we are a bit of everything – an Italian Village under one roof. It truly is the reflection of all of our many amazing experiences in Italy and a tribute to the incredible artisans, chefs, winemakers, and people we have met there. It took a lot of patience and a lot of guidance to create the feel that we wanted. And then came the permitting – DC is definitely used to cookie cutter projects and there is no permit for “Italian Village under one roof”. But we knew what we wanted to create and weren’t willing to give up until we found the permits that we needed.

Now the task of building a team to work with us who shared our vision. Finding a team who believe in what we are doing is no easy task. But over time and with a lot of on the spot learning we have created our Italian home in Georgetown. Going from Bethesda with a staff of 4-5 to Georgetown with a staff of 40 was a challenge.

Walking into the store today puts a smile on my face – I am greeted with a Buongiorno and I see people taking care of people. I love the people I work with.

Via Umbria is a family business. Our kids are all involved in some way. The boys clock in when they are in town visiting and they spent two weeks this summer travelling around Italy with Bill meeting old friends and discovering new producers. Our daughter Lindsey works with us full time. Who better to look out for the store than family? Lindsey grew up visiting Italy, she knows the families and she definitely knows the products. She is my daughter and my best friend. She is the perfect sounding board. She is my fashion consultant and my voice of reason. She is a talented young woman and I feel blessed to have her running the business alongside us.

Suzy’s Words of Wisdom:

Think outside the box
Treat people with respect
Everyone is family
Set Expectations High
Speak your mind
Always take the risk
Love with your whole heart
Never say No

Lord & Taylor Local Iconic Women Series Read more

I was fortunate to be born to two amazing people. My parents raised all of us to be confident that we could ...

From Campari to Camparti

At Via Umbria there are no secrets when it comes to sharing our love of cocktails. Our Mixologist Matt Demma is the “professional”, but our cafe staff has lots of experience and can seriously whip up a mean drink. While I like to think of myself as a pseudo-professional, I’m more of a self-proclaimed alcohol aficionado.

In our nation’s capital, the first week of June is dedicated to the Negroni. Another great reason to live in DC.  To celebrate Negroni Week we are throwing a storewide event where Campari meets Party: Camparti.

Who/What is Campari?_DSC0301

Gruppo Campari is a company based in Milan that makes awesome spirits.  Most notably

Campari and Aperol.  Campari is a beautiful red, bitter liqueur and probably the world’s best known apéritivo (side note: an apéritivo is a liqueur meant to be drunk before the meal to aid in digestion). Since 1860, for over 150 years the Campari recipe has been untouched, unchanged.  Aperol is Campari’s younger, flirtier sister.  With a rich orange color, less bitter it is changing the Apéritivo scene across Italy and here in the States.

What is a Negroni?

A little background for those who do not know: the Negroni is a classic Italian Cocktail made with gin, sweet vermouth and Campari or Aperol garnished with an orange peel. As an avid gin drinker and Italophile, the Negroni is everything I ask for in a drink: strong and bitter.

Dating as far back as the beginning of the 20th century, the Negroni has been a staple cocktail across Italy. Many variations of this drink have been crafted, however the truest Negroni you’ll ever get is made with gin, sweet vermouth, and most importantly Campari (without Campari the Negroni would never have been conceived).

What is this deliciousness called a Spritz?

Around the same time the Negroni surfaced in Italy, another lesser-known (equally-as-good-if-not-better) apéritivo was concocted: Aperol. In 1919, the Italians swooned over this orange liqueur and by the 1950s Aperol had made its mark with the “3,2,1 Spritz”  recipe. As any bottle of Aperol could tell you. Magic, this drink is pure magic I tell you: very refreshing, good for any occasion…Brunch, Lunch, Happy Hour, Dinner, beyond. Love for Aperol and the Spritz spread like wildfire across Italy. Yet for 150 years Campari has owned the apéritivo market, so much so that Gruppo Campari acquired the rights and recipe to Aperol in 2003. Now, this unstoppable duo inspires a variety cocktails essential to the core of Italian lifestyle.

Negroni Week – Who Knew?

IMG_1612As the unofficial ambassadors of Umbria to Georgetown, Negroni Week is the perfect opportunity for us to share our love of cocktails combined with our appreciation and understanding of the Italian lifestyle. Although we do celebrate these apéritivos on a regular basis with our Spritz O’Clock menu in the cafe, Camparti is our way of celebrating all of our favorite Negroni and Spritz secrets. When I realized our latest catch phrase became “It’s Always Spritz O’Clock!” I just knew we were the right venue to host Camparti. From the Negroni to Aperol Cotton Candy, this Campari Party will have it all! We’ll have different stations featuring variations on the Negroni and a full Negroni/Spritz bar with drinks made to order.

How Can I Join in on the Fun

Camparti is on Thursday June 8 at 7pm, for tickets and more information please visit: //viaumbria.com/june-8-camparti.html

A Spritz O’Clock Celebration Read more

At Via Umbria there are no secrets when it comes to sharing our love of cocktails. Our Mixologist Matt Demma is the ...

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

IMG_9113-X2IMG_9121-X2IMG_9203-X2DSCF6337

IMG_8948-X2DSCF6210DSCF6216DSCF6222DSCF6359DSCF6348DSCF6227DSCF6231DSCF6224

 

IMG_9238-X2IMG_9256-X2IMG_9277-X2IMG_9290-X2IMG_9309-X2IMG_9339-X2IMG_9363-X2IMG_9377-X2IMG_9392-X2IMG_9421-X2IMG_9433-X2IMG_9448-X2IMG_9482-X2IMG_9488-X2IMG_9520-X2IMG_9544-X2IMG_9561-X2IMG_9597-X2IMG_9622-X2

DSCF6208IMG_8778-X3IMG_9125-X2 IMG_9191-X2 IMG_9212-X2 DSCF6492 DSCF6500DSCF6240DSCF6237DSCF6239DSCF6512DSCF6554DSCF6566DSCF6245DSCF6531

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 ...

Via Umbria’s Very Older Brother

It is difficult to overstate just how well regarded the name Roscioli is in Rome and throughout Italy.  A complex of food businesses (described by Anthony Bourdain as “an empire”), Roscioli is a family affair built over 4 generations that started with a renowned bakery, and now includes a wildly popular salumeria, ristorante, caffe/pasticceria and more recently the Rimessa and wine club.  Roscioli built its reputation on unrivaled quality and the breadth of their offerings.  They have been recognized through features in the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveller and even garnered a visit by Anthony Bourdain on his show No Reservations.

 

For the past several years they have sought to meet the customer where he is through a program of curated tastings they call Rimessa Roscioli.  Sommelier Alessandro Pepe and a team of top rated food and wine experts lead small groups on food and wine tastings in a relaxed, casual setting that they describe as “an educational and convivial lab.”  We think it describes perfectly Via Umbria.
Roscioli-blog-2
Rimessa Roscioli tasting dinner on left; Via Umbria Laboratorio on right.
When we first met the acquaintance of Alessandro and his partner, American born ex-pat Lindsay Gabbard, we were immediately struck by just how similar our passions were.  They, like us, love food and wine because they can create connections between strangers.  And they strongly believe that food and particularly wine, can and should be “democratic.”  Although an expert sommelier, Alessandro scoffs at wine tastings where the conversation focuses on arcane trivia such as malolactic fermentation.  Enjoying wine and getting in touch with your own tastes and sharing that with others is the what sommelier should strive to teach and it is precisely what Alessandro and Lindsay have been doing for the past decade.

 

Rimessa Roscioli is taking their show on the road and coming to Washington, DC and for one night Via Umbria is honored to be hosting them, preparing a special evening of food and wine tasting in the company of these fascinating and engaging people.  Limited seating is available on Wednesday, March 8 at 7pm for an evening that promises to be unforgettable – a small group tasting around a communal table featuring eight hand selected wines paired with a dozen small tastes, including a pasta dish and a dessert and lots of conversation and enjoyment.  This is a rare one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience and savor true, authentic flavors imported directly from Italy by one of Rome’s most respected sommeliers.  Tickets, which are non-refundable must be purchased in advance and can be bought online or at Via Umbria.

Located in Rome Read more

It is difficult to overstate just how well regarded the name Roscioli is in Rome and throughout Italy.  A complex of food businesses (described ...

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 ...