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Pasticceria Nando Orvieto

Instead of an oversize bunny rabbit leaving a basket of candied eggs, citizens of Orvieto wake up on Easter morning to a breakfast of Pizza di Pasqua (it’s not really a pizza, but it’s not exactly a cake either).

Pizza di Pasqua is a yeast-filled bread (similar to Christmas pannettone) that’s served during the holy days of Pasqua (Easter Sunday) and Pasquetta (Easter Monday).

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Bar & Pasticceria Montanucci Orvieto

A cherished tradition typical of central Italy (Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche), Pizza di Pasqua comes in both dolci (sweet) and al formaggio (cheese) versions.

Folks in Orvieto take great pride in their Pizza di Pasqua, so you can imagine there’s lots of fighting discussion about who has the best recipe (there are as many as there are cooks). For the past 14 years, Palazzo del Gusto Orvieto has sponsored a bake-off to decide whose is the yummiest. Both professionals and amateurs are invited to compete for the coveted culinary distinction of “Best Pizza di Pasqua di Orvieto”.

 

IMG_1795Exuberant baker Gaetana Olini has been preparing the Easter specialty for decades and let’s us in on her secret for making a great one.

“You must have patience and allow the pizza to rise in a warm spot for at least 18 hours”, she warns. “It’s in this way that you can be sure it will turn out very soft and airy.”

Gaetana P di pasqua

Pizza di Pasqua: It isn’t Easter in Umbria without it.

 

IMG_1792A RECIPE FOR PIZZA DI PASQUA…

INGREDIENTS

4 yeast cubes (from the refrigerated section, not the powdered kind!)

1 kg of flour 00

250 grams of sugar

1 cup olive oil

6 eggs

300 ml of water

300 ml of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or one package)

1 lemon zest

1 small glass of anisette liqueur and ‘rosolio di cannella’ (cinnamon liqueur)

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PREPARATION

Dissolve 2 cubes of yeast in 250 ml of warm water.

Meanwhile, in a large plastic bowl put 300 grams of flour.

Add the yeast mixture into the flour and mix with a fork until all the water is absorbed into the dough (be careful not to let it get hard). Add flour gradually making sure the dough remains soft!

Cover with a cloth and put in a warm space (inside a shut-off oven is best) and let the dough rise (about 1 hour).

Melt the remaining 2 cubes of yeast in 300 ml of warm milk. Remove the bowl from the oven and add the eggs, sugar, olive oil, lemon zest and milk with yeast. Blend with an electric mixer, adding more flour gradually, by hand.

Pour in two glasses of the liqueur and the vanilla.

At some point, if you did everything right, you will see that you will be forced to stop mixing because the dough will stick to the whips and it won’t be possible to continue. At this point use your hands to knead the dough, still continuing to add flour until you find that the dough comes off easily from your hands. But beware, it must not become a nice smooth ball! It must always remain soft and wet!

Grease two baking pans (large and tall) and put a quantity of dough that must not exceed one quarter of the height of the container to allow the dough to rise more than twice its size. It’s ready when the dough reaches the edge of the container.

Put in a preheated oven at 100C, then increase the temperature to 180C. The pan should be placed on a lower rack but not resting on the bottom of the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Pasticceria Nando, Via dei Sette Martiri, 68, Orvieto Scalo

Bar Montanucci, Corso Cavour, 23, Orvieto

Palazzo del Gusto Orvieto, Via Ripa Serancia I, 16, Orvieto TR

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Slavic Montanucci

Coffee bars in Italy are its life’s blood. For over 100 years, Bar Montanucci has been pouring caffeine-addicted Orvietani their morning cappuccinos (in my case, caffe latte) as well as offering fresh, handmade pastries, cakes and…..wait for it…chocolate! At lunch choose from fresh salads, sandwhiches and pasta. After lunchtime, the case transforms into a gelato counter, and in the evenings you can order cocktails with small plates. The terraced patio is a great place to hang-out on warm, summer days and nights, too. Like! Share! Visit!

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‪#‎31daysofOrvieto‬‪#‎orvietoorbust‬ ‪#‎Orvieto‬ ‪#‎barmontanucci‬ ‪#‎coffeebarsinitaly‬ ‪#‎Italytravel‬

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baffo The typical cuisine of Orvieto tends to lean heavily on ‘meat’: Cinghiale (wild boar) and its cousin, maiale (pork), as well as dishes made of pigeon or dove (yes, I said pigeon). These ancient recipes also make room for our vegetarian friends. Umbrichelli is Orvieto’s pasta, often served with porcini mushrooms or ‘tartufo’ (black truffles). My favorite dish, Guanciale/Baffo (pork cheek) in a sage-tomato sauce, can be found at Trattoria del Moro Aronne where owner Cristian Manca provides great service and doubles as the entertainment. You’ll always ‘mangia bene’ in Orvieto! Like! Share! Visit! 

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umbrichelli tartufo

#‎31daysofOrvieto‬ ‪#‎orvietoorbust‬‪#‎iloveorvieto‬ ‪#‎trattoriadelmoroaronne‬ ‪#‎Italytravel‬ ‪#‎orvieto‬

— in Orvieto.

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Paolo and Elizabeth needed help harvesting their olives. The window of opportunity was closing and with rain in the forecast, this was possibly their last chance for raccolta delle olive.

Temperatures have dropped considerably in Umbria and a chilly wind was blowing. However, being the good friend that I am, I didn’t hesitate to offer my assistance. After all, what are friends for if not to come to the rescue in times of need?

The promise of free olive oil and a homemade meal prepared by Paolo’s mother, Franca, had absolutely nothing to do with it.

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by Toni DeBella

Read more about life in the Umbrian countryside in Elizabeth’s blog: My Village in Umbria 

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In Orvieto they do. 

They say LOVE is the universal language, but really it’s FOOD.  Bridging the gap between languages, cultures, and traditions – food is humanity’s common denominator.  “Yum” translates in every language.

Last evening, a large contingency of rowdy Americans, along with a strong delegation from the Eurozone: Italy (of course), Germany, England, Scotland and Finland, gathered to share a meal, wine and friendship.

It’s my understanding that in preparation for this turkey dinner, Carlo, the owner of Ristorante Dell’Ancora, was bombarded with weeks of strict and precise instructions on how to properly prepare a traditional “Norman Rockwell-style” Thanksgiving meal. The anxious, but well-meaning party organizer’s fears were finally quelled by Carlo’s confident annunciation, “Don’t worry, I will make a Thanksgiving dinner better than they do in the United States!”

To use a typically American expression…Carlo hit this one out of the ballpark!

by Toni DeBella

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I’ve been in Orvieto just a little over a week.  Already a lot has occurred – some good, some not so good.  Such is life.

Strange things are happening…

…like writing my very first book review…

The Etruscan Chef by Lorenzo Polegri & Kim Brookmire is not just another book about food or cooking, although it tells of both. 

It’s a window into the past and present lives of Umbrians and their cuisine – a memoir of food and its genesis from their ancestors, the Etruscans.  Lorenzo writes, “We used to be Etruscans.  I don’t know if we still are, but we love to think so.” 

Chef Polegri presents us with a book that is written by a boy who is now a man.  After reading it from cover to cover, I feel as though I know him, and the people he introduced me to, just a little bit better.  The smiling faces of the vendors I see at the outdoor market every week now have names. Absorbing Lorenzo’s words, I will try to remember that a farmer toiled in a nearby field to bring these delicious and real foods to my table.  Grandparents, parents, children and friends: Through Lorenzo’s stories from his childhood, his teenage years, and now his adulthood, I see more clearly the strong and beautiful people of my adopted home, and for this I am grateful. 

The Etruscan Chef is a pleasurable and emotional glimpse into the soul of a life in Umbria, Italy.

Lorenzo & Kim

To learn more about Chef Polegri and his work go to www.ristorantezeppelin.it or find him on Facebook

by Toni DeBella

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As far back as I can remember I loved baloney sandwiches!  My childhood obsession was so famous that family, friends, and neighbors referred to me as “Toni Baloney”.  Undaunted by the nickname, I was actually quite proud to be so closely associated with my favorite pink, slippery and quintessentially American cold cut.  After all, “Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A.”

But as it happens, I grew up and had my first taste of baloney’s sophisticated Italian cousin, Mortadella, and I was a goner!  My boloney-eating days were over – this smooth, sweet and spicy, pistachio-filled deli roll is the “caviar” of lunchmeat.

I haven’t been to Bologna, Italy yet, but I am planning my pilgrimage once I’m settled in Orvieto.  The city of Bologna is famous for this finely ground, heat-cured pork salumi, produced there since the 14th century.  Suspected to have originally been a Roman sausage, Mortadella di Bologna has achieved the epitome of food recognition – it has a Protected Geological Indication status designated by the European Union to preserve the regional names of products.  In strict accordance with these delicious guidelines, a classic Mortadella di Bologna must be prepared with 15% evenly distributed squares of fat, no preservatives, fillers, or additives.  Naturale!

When in Italy I will be living-off Mortadella’s mouth-watering yumminessI’ll eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as a bedtime snack.  I’ll eat it between two pieces of bread, thinly sliced “as is” with a glass of wine, cubed, fried, moussed and spread, and stuffed into tortellini.  Any way you slice it…Mortadella e’ bella!  

P.S.  I’m thinking of changing my nickname.  How does “Toni DeMortadellaBella” grab you?

by Toni DeBella

 

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