One of the reasons Suzy and I have fallen so hard for Italy might be truffles. I can remember back to the days, not so long ago, when I had never smelled or tasted a truffle and in a way their discovery (at an unforgettable lunch in Milano nearly two decades ago) separates my life into two distinct eras – pre-truffle and post-truffle life. I much prefer my post-truffle period.
So, too, may truffles be the reason Suzy and I fell so hard for Umbria, because Umbria is one of Italy’s (and the world’s) best and most prolific truffle breeding grounds. Blessed by the right soil, vegetation and moisture, these wild funghi grow all over Umbria, living in symbiosis with the roots of various indigenous trees that call Umbria home.
But at the end of the day, the real reason we call Umbria our second home may be the Bianconi family. Saverio and Gabriella, the first citizens of Umbria’s upper Tiber valley’s most important city, Citta di Castello. Gabriella and Saverio have introduced us to their world, a world of truffles and their limitless possibilities. Saverio Bianconi is Citta di Castello’s most important truffle merchant, a buyer and seller of these black and white beauties. He has educated us on truffles, invited us to savor them with him and, most importantly and enjoyably, he has taken us on countless truffle hunts with his coterie of truffle dogs. And Gabriella, his lovely wife, has invited us into her home to learn the secrets of cooking with and using truffles.
This Wednesday, June 20, we are featuring a four course precious black truffle dinner in our intimate enoteca (wine room) at Via Umbria. Ten guests will savor the luxurious “precious black” truffle, also known as the Perigord truffle among francophiles. The truffle kingdom is divided into two families, the black and the white truffle, with the white truffle of Alba (tuber magnatum) at the top of that family pyramid and costing upwards of €3,500 per kilogram. At the top of the black truffle family is the precious black (tuber melanosporum), which we are having Saverio air ship us from Umbria to Via Umbria for our guests’ enjoyment. These black beauties have a very short season, packing all of their intoxicating aroma and flavor into a very short timeframe. It really is a case of enjoy them now or wait until next year!
To make the evening even more special we have air shipped our favorite Umbrian chef from Bevagna to Via Umbria to prepare this unforgettable meal. Chef Simone Proietti-Pesci will be in the kitchen and in the enoteca to make sure this is a night to remember. A native of Umbria, Chef Simone knows how to make truffles sing. You should come join us and listen to the music.
Seats for our Precious Black Truffle Dinner are $200 per person, but can be purchased online at the discounted price of $175 through Tuesday. This special dinner is limited to 10 people, so be sure to buy your tickets before they’re all sold out.
What: Precious Black Truffle Dinner
Where: in the Enoteca (wine room) at Via Umbria
When: Wednesday, January 20 at 7:30
For more information or to book your reservation visit us online or call us at (202) 333-3904.