Sights and sounds are one thing, but when it comes to craving Italy carbohydrates are top of the list.
Five things you can only get in Italy that I’d love to eat again soon:
1. Brioche from Bar dell’ Accademia. There are smarter bars in Perugia, but this one in via dei Priori has the best coffee and pasticceria by a long way. When in Perugia, my day day starts here with one of their exquisite, sweet-but-not-too-sweet oval brioche and a cappuccino made the same way for years by the snowy-haired owner. But it’s not only about the brioche. Some mornings I just can’t resist a flaky, golden, sugar-iced veneziana to take away and eat from the bag a few minutes later while taking in a view somewhere! (Pride dictates I always try to make it look like I’m buying it for a friend, but I think they’re on to me.)
2. Bread without salt. Of course from far away Melbourne I could say Italian bread full stop, but I especially love the traditional pane sciapo you find in Perugia. I get mine from Ceccarani di Santino Panetteria in Piazza Matteotti,16. There are various shapes and sizes but I think the filetta has the perfect ratio of crust to bread. And while you’re there, they also do a deceptively simple but absolutely delicious high ring cake, il torcolo al latte. Perfect with coffee or with a splash of liqueur or sweet wine on top. Yum!
3. More pastry. The cornetto vuoto (empty croissant anyone?) from the Panetteria COFAPA in Piazza Matteotti runs a close second. Super light with just a hint of sweet from the glaze. Not buttery at all. So simple and yet after a few weeks back in Melbourne this is probably the one I crave the most.
4. Pizza al taglio. Well more than the pizza, I actually miss the wafting profumo as you pass the door. It’s Marabella who misses the pizza. The best pizza al taglio (that’s fresh pizza baked in big trays and cut into single portions and best eaten straight from the paper) in Perugia is just a few doors down from Corso Vannucci in via dei Priori. But just follow your nose.
5. Torta al testo – the exquisite traditional Umbria flat bread cooked on a cast iron ‘testo’ and filled with things like pecorino e cicoria (my fave), stracchino e rucola or prosciutto di cinghiale e funghi. Leaves pizza in the shade. The best I’ve eaten is from ristorante enoteca Degustibus in Ponte San Giovanni just outside Perugia proper. Perfect dinner fare but you might need a friend with a car to get you there. Make it your treat. It’s worth every euro.
Now that I’ve given myself a serious appetite, I would love to hear about the Italian food experience you’re craving right now. Just leave me a comment.