Set in the centre of Italy, nestled between Tuscany, Marche and Lazio, is its green heart, the landlocked region of Umbria.
A small yet fertile region where the Apennines form the mountainous spine alongside hilly rural farmland producing a wealth of typical specialities, from the famous black truffles from Norcia to the black celery from Trevi.
What the region lacks in coastline it makes up for with lakes and rivers and an interesting selection of freshwater specialities, like eel from Trasimeno.
Discover the richness of the region through its typical specialities. Here are nine of our favorite typical Umbrian products that must be tried on a visit to this spectacular area:
1. Porchetta di Costano
A type of cooked ham flavoured with wild fennel, with a wonderfully enticing smell that has benn traditionally made for centuries. It even has its own dedicated festival, which is one of the oldest in Umbria, dating back to the 1960s.
This lightly spiced ham has a compact consistency and is produced using pork thigh that is dry salted with salt, pepper and garlic for 20 – 30 days. After salting the ham is washed and aged for around a year.
4. Anguilla Trasimeno
A fish with an elongated shape and very precious and tasty flesh. Fishing for eels takes place between summer and autumn. A signature dish is the traditional Umbrian Tegamaccio, a stew made with fish from Lake Trasimeno and in particular with this excellent eel.
5. Torta al Testo
A typical Umbrian dish also known as Crescia, made from flour, baking soda, salt and water. It originally came about as an alternative to bread and is served like a piadina, best accompanied by meats, cheeses or vegetables.
The black truffles, specific to the region of Norcia, are generally small or medium at most. The most difficult to find are big and round, which are especially prized for their red veins, when still immature, although the real prize are truffles with a black interior and white veins.
7. Sedano Nero di Trevi
A Slow Food Presidium product, now grown by a few farmers in the gardens near the river Clitunno. After the Second World War the variety almost died out due to the introduction of American celery. The stalks are dark green and free of strings, which makes this fragrant plant.
8. BROCCOLETTI DEL LAGO
Also called Calmette or Rapi Lake, these broccoli are grown in sandy soil, adjacent to fresh waters. Thanks to the particular environmental factors the taste of the broccoli is bitter and rather unusual.
Grown at an altitude of 1500 metres, these high quality and tasty lentils are easy to cook and popular throughout Italy, whether enjoyed with cotechino or simply in a stew. They are particularly popular eaten with galic, rosemary and shellfish. Find out more about their unique story here.
Discover Fine Dining Lovers' exclusive Why Waste? video series, featuring Massimo Bottura and his team of chefs, as they teach us how to repurpose leftovers and trimmings in delicious and imaginative ways, from vegetables to dairy. Take a look