Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

Le tre vaselle (Torgiano, Umbria)

June 22, 2009

This restaurant is part of a small hotel in the centre of the village/small town of Torgiano, headquarters of the Lungarotti wine group, located south-east of Perugia, just off the E45. From Citta di Castello it is something under an hour by car…

I am not in a period of my life when I am much taken with expensive restaurants. I seem to get cheaper as I get older, or at least I place ever more value on things that are good and at a price that puts them within reach of (almost) everyody. Nonetheless, we had a good lunch at Le Tre Vaselle, which is quite pricey (though not, of course, by London or other big city standards). I can’t tell you what it actually cost because a Sicilian friend snuck out and paid for everybody, offering the lame excuse that as the only person born in Italy he was constrained to do this. Antipasti and primi are around Euro10-12, secondi more like Euro16-26. We didn’t drink wine, apart from a nice half glass of prosecco which they gave us unsolicited.

The portions are made so that some people will want to eat three courses and a dessert. We started with zucchini flowers stuffed with a light mix of lake Trasimeno freshwater prawns, passed momentarily under the grill; these and the accompanying sauce were pretty good. Then I went for pastry-wrapped veal (not had this in Italy before) with three types of pepper, while others had topinambour-stuffed half-moon ravioli with a truffle sauce, and bavette pasta (like tagliatelle, but thinner) with tiny prawns. Topinambour is what the English call Jerusalem artichoke; according to the wife, the Italians named it after a Brazilian dance troupe that was popular in the country when the root vegetable was introduced; whereas the English name Jerusalem is here believed to be a perversion — as a result of mishearing — of girasole (sunflower plant), to which family topinambour is related. Anyhow, everyone was happy, especially the consumer of the seafood bavette, which I always think is tempting but very hard to do well (the ‘amatriciana dilemma’ if you like). To finish we ate some cherries and shared a plate of cinammon ice-cream.

What can I say? We hadn’t seen each other for a long time and there was a new baby, so it was always going to be a good lunch. The restaurant has a somewhat institutional feel, but it was actually rather nice to be somewhere quiet and a little formal. And the food fits with the modest formality. The deal sort of reminds me of the Taverna del Lupo at Gubbio. We will, at some judicious moment, return.

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