Umbria, known as the “Green Heart of Italy”, offers more than just lovely landscapes of rolling green hills – it’s also a food and wine paradise. Nestled between Tuscany, Lazio and Marches, this hidden gem may be small in size but it’s big on personality and unique gastronomic experiences.
Imagine strolling through medieval towns straight out of a fairytale that lead you to cozy trattorias, artisan shops and dazzling churches. From the enchanting city of Perugia, the region’s capital, to the captivating hilltop village of Assisi, where the spirit of Saint Francis still lingers, Umbria’s towns are like a collection of precious jewels waiting to be explored.
No matter where you visit in Umbria, the celebration of local produce and culinary traditions is strong. Dive into bowls of hearty lentil soup, savor plates of hand-rolled pappardelle pasta drenched in rich truffle or ragu sauce, and indulge in melt-in-your-mouth porchetta. And let us not forget the quality wines of Umbria – both wine connoisseurs and casual sippers will be clinking their glasses and saying “cin cin” in no time.
The Unique Flavors of Umbrian Cuisine
Umbria is your gateway to a symphony of flavors that will make your taste buds dance with joy. Truffles are a staple of Umbrian cuisine and the region is teeming with truffle producing hotspots. Be it the earthy black kind or the white variety, these aromatic wonders take center stage on the plate – gracing pasta dishes and infusing oils with their luxurious essence.
The area is also blessed with an abundance of olive groves that give rise to some of the world’s finest olive oils. Drizzling this liquid gold over fresh bread, local cheese and cured meats will transport you to foodie heaven. And pairing a classic Italian Charcuterie board with a glass of Sagrantino wine is the cherry on top of the experience. In fact, this bold red, born from Umbria’s vineyards, is the perfect companion for a range of meals.
When it comes to desserts, there are endless options: rocciata (pastry roll filled with goodies), crescionda (chocolate cake originating from Spoleto) and maccheroni con le noci (a sweet pasta and walnut treat). Each bite of these Umbrian desserts will have you licking your lips for more.
Introduction to Meravigliosa Umbria
To elevate your trip, there is one company you need to know the name of: Meravigliosa Umbria. In addition to their active adventures like walking, hiking and cycling – this highly-rated tour operator specializes in wine and olive oil tastings, truffle hunting and cooking classes. With a mission to showcase authentic Umbria – they have perfected the art of intertwining history, culture, and fantastic food and wine into each tour experience.
Meravigliosa Umbria’s tours aren’t just about eating and drinking – they are about experiencing. Every tour is crafted with love, attention to detail and an unyielding passion for sharing the finest aspects of Umbrian life. You will discover centuries-old family recipes, witness traditional cooking techniques and hear stories that breathe life into every dish.
By participating in the communal aspect of Umbrian cuisine, where friends and family come together, you will feel like part of an Italian famiglia. This is the chance to create connections, not just with the food but with the people who pour their hearts into each morsel. With Meravigliosa Umbria, you will have the opportunity to chat with the winemakers and learn about the science behind every bottle. From robust reds to crisp whites, each sip tells a tale of the region’s history and dedication to the grape.
5 Best Food & Wine Tours in Umbria
- Truffle Hunting in Umbria – Day Tour: With two options on the table – either in the hills/woods between Assisi and Spello, or on a farmhouse on the hills of Assisi in Monte Subasio – this is the perfect adventure for people who want to learn more about the truffle hunting process. Alongside a local expert and his dog – you will search for the fragrant diamonds – and once found, you get to eat them over a nice meal in a winery.
- Assisi: Cooking Class & Wine Tasting – Day Tour: Local hosts Maria and Anna Laura welcome you into their organic, family-run winery for the day and help you immerse yourself in a true winemaker’s spirit. This tour in Assisi includes information about the grape cultivation process, tasting a variety of wines and an engaging cooking class. While you are preparing iconic dishes like gnocchi, a guided olive oil tasting takes place which allows you to whet your appetite for the four-course meal to come.
- Bike & Wine or Bike & Brunch – Day Tour: This particular tour lets you choose between a bike and wine experience, or bike and brunch escapade, whatever tickles your fancy for the day. Both activities involve a bit of cycling, which is ideal for visitors who want to do some exercise while savoring the food and wine of Umbria. It’s also possible to book this tour as a self-guided journey, if you prefer to have more freedom and privacy.
- Hiking and Olive Oil Tasting – Day Tour: Starting from a charming olive oil mill next to the village of Pozzo, guests will be able to taste some of the best olive oil Umbria has to offer while stretching their legs on a decent walk through magical olive groves and woods. A typical Umbrian lunch is also part of the itinerary, ensuring you don’t go hungry. Learning about the production of extra virgin olive oil from a knowledgeable local guide will open your eyes to just how ancient and versatile this juice really is.
- Food & Wine Tour Through the Valle Umbra – 5 Days: The green Valle Umbra, surrounded by rolling hills and charming villages, is the setting for this special five day tour. Beginning in Trevi and ending in Assisi, this eno-gastronomic adventure sees you tick some special experiences off your Umbria bucket list – such as exploring Assisi, truffle hunting, trying authentic dishes with truffle, partaking in a cooking class, visiting an organic winegrower and staying in unique eco-accommodations.
Tips for an Umbria Food & Wine Trip
- Sip Wine Like a Sommelier: Umbria is known for its range of delectable wines – so don’t just drink, savor. Try the Sagrantino di Montefalco, a bold red with hints of dark berries, or the Orvieto Classico, a crisp white perfect for sunny days. Book a wine tasting tour with Meravigliosa Umbria to learn about the art of wine and to discover hidden gems in local vineyards.
- Say Yes Please to Cheese: Umbria is home to pecorino cheese that will make you question everything you thought you knew about cheese. From fresh and creamy to aged and crumbly, the local cheeses of Umbria are a must-try. Pair them with honey or jams for a match made in heaven.
- Go on a Truffle Treasure Hunt: Searching for these elusive fungi is a must-do experience in Umbria. Join a truffle hunting excursion with a local hunter and their trusty dog. Once you unearth that precious truffle, put it to use in pasta dishes or risottos for a taste that is simply divine.
- Understand that Nonna Knows Best: Seek out traditional family-run trattorias and restaurants where Nonna (grandma) is in charge of the kitchen. These places are like a portal to the heart and soul of Umbrian cuisine. From hand-rolled pasta to hearty slow-cooked stews, you will be treated to flavors that have been passed down through the generations.
- Sample the Veggie Dishes: The fertile lands of Umbria yield an array of fresh vegetables. Look out for dishes with fagiolina del Trasimeno, a delicate bean variety stemming from the hills and fields around Lake Trasimeno, and indulge in healthy soups packed with seasonal produce.
- Participate in a Festival Frenzy: Time your Umbria trip to coincide with food festivals. The Eurochocolate Festival of Perugia is a chocoholic’s dream, while the Sagra Musicale Umbra combines classical music with scrumptious local dishes. These festivals provide a feast for the senses.