Tasting Truffles and Porcini in Sant’Agata Feltria
We recently posted about the seafood feast we had at Balnearea Beach in Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot). Well, here is another taste of Italy, this time in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna. The area is well known for its rich agriculture and specialty foods grown there, including their abundant funghi — porcini mushrooms and truffles (remember our truffle hunting fun in Portico di Romagna?) .
During our stay at Le Case Antiche in Verucchio, we took a day trip to Sant’Agata Feltria, which is widely known for its white truffle festival in October. There we met with Giancarlo Dall’Ara, president of Associazione Nazionale Alberghi Diffusi, and other townspeople whose delightful tour of the village we’ll cover in future posts. But for now…it’s about the food!
In the village, we were welcomed at Sant’Agata Feltria Tartufi by shop owner, Loretta. With a gracious smile, she served us samples of the cheese and truffle specialties she produces, accompanied by a lovely sparkling wine. On the crackers in the photo below was served Loretta’s delicious “Salsa Funghi i Tartufi”, a spread with mushrooms, summer (black) truffles and black olives.
Look at these beautiful truffles!
With our taste buds fully charged, we drove just a few miles into the Apennine foothills to Pereto. The name of the village is the Italian word for “pear”, acknowledging Emilia-Romagna’s importance as a pear-growing region in Italy.
They were expecting us at Trattoria Ciccioni, a family-run restaurant in a pastoral setting with a view of the Apennines and valley, but we did not expect such a grand feast of freshly prepared, traditional local dishes. The trattoria is not a place that is on many tourist radars. We were fortunate to be with the locals who know the area so well and are regulars at the restaurant.
I wish that I had taken notes as the courses were served, but I’ll have to ask you to make do with a few photos without any detailed description. However, I’m sure you’ll be able to imagine exactly how delicious everything was! Most of dishes in the photos were made with local porcini mushrooms as a main ingredient, but each recipe was a creative variation.
It’s not all about porcini
There were also plenty of other options, including this delectable prosciutto.
Porcini for dessert?
No, not for dessert. But I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had come up with some creative and tasty funghi dessert concoction!
We were ready to burst with fullness, but made room for this pudding that our English friend, Teresa, likened to trifle. Trifle or not, it was not only pretty, but refreshing and delicious. I believe we finished it all, too.
Ah, limoncello! I became quite fond of ending meals with a bit of limoncello, the Italian lemon liqueur that we enjoyed throughout Italy. It’s totally habit-forming.
After the feast
We took some time to look around at the many photos, letters from former patrons, and other memorabilia decorating the walls of the restaurant.
In talking to our hosts, we learned about the traditional osterias in Italy which were small places where locals would come to drink wine, have conversation and play cards. The restaurant staff brought out this deck of Napoletane playing cards that were commonly used.
We said our goodbyes to our wonderful hosts and Trattoria Ciccioni staff and made our way back down the hill to Sant’Agata. We had more to see of Emilia-Romagna and more to eat back in Verucchio!
Via Pereto, 11, 61019 Sant’Agata Feltria, Italia
tel: (+39) 0541 929633 – fax: (+39) 0541 929633 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclosure: Thanks to Al Vecchio Convento for providing our accommodations, meals and activities. Thanks also to Alessandra of 21Grammy and Associazione Internazionale Alberghi Diffusi for making this project possible.