November trip to Tuscany & Umbria: what's in season? Regional specialties?
- Henrietta Stackpole Oct 29, 2010 10:58 AM
My spouse and I will be traveling though Tuscany and Umbria in late November, specifically Pisa, Pienza, Siena, Arezzo, Gubbio and Assisi. We'd like to eat seasonal food and regional specialties. For example, I know that pecorino cheese is made in Pienza and that it's probably a good time of the year for mushrooms.
What would you recommend? We eat everything, but we need to stick with a modest budget. We really love street food and enjoy picnicking.
Sorry to be a bore, but there have been dozens of posts on dining in these towns. Be sure to do a search on this board for each town you are thinking of visiting.
Il Rosselino, in Pienza, has been recommended in the past by myself & others. It is run by an older couple and has about 5 tables. Reservations are essential.
You can find white truffles available in November in this part of Italy. The NY Times had an article a few years about white truffles in and around the village of San Giovanni d'Asso, which is south of Siena. If I can find it on the NY Times website, I will post a link.
It might be worth it for you to pick up a book called Authentic Tuscany put out by the Touring Club of Italy (TCI)
They have a large section devoted to regional specialties - meats, cheeses, wines, pastries etc. not only of each region but each town along with lists of recommended shops you can buy these items. They are weak on actual restaurant recommendations but it sounds like thats not what you are asking.
In Tuscany this time of year , of course, truffles are in season, but for those watching their pennies, they are perhaps not the direction to take. I certainly recommend you try Cinghiale (wild boar) in umido and coniglio (rabbit served in a variety of ways), as they are Tuscan specialties and worth trying.If you get to Orvieto, which I highly recommend, as a delightful little hill town famous for its wonderful white wine, do look for the restaurant in the cave, a hidden gem full of delicious food.