Spring has definitely arrived. The morning air today was fresh and able to hold the
warmth of the sun, so it seemed like a promising day to hang laundry out on the line.
After the sheets were pinned to dry, we turned our thoughts to Sunday lunch. We’d had
a hard week, so we didn’t want to drive too far. Steve had worked all week with Giulio to
prepare a concrete pad for a prefabricated metal storage building we’re going to erect on
one of our parcels. We’re really short on storage space here, and we need to replicate
the upstairs linen closet/basement/garage we had on Fair Oaks. I had gotten the
creative urge and had spent the week painting two bathrooms, the kitchen, and the dining
So we were a little beat. We wanted to visit some place close for our Sunday jaunt.
Taking the Osterie d’Italia bible in hand, we fixed on Castiglione del Lago, a resort town
on Lago Trasimeno, the largest inland freshwater body of water in Central Italy. The town
is in Umbria, in the Provincia di Perugia, just south of Cortona. It takes a little under an
hour to get there by car from Valuberti. We arrived at 1 p.m. and noticed crowds of
people, many dressed in athletic suits. What was going on? Soccer tournament? Turns
out there was a marathon that day and the finish line was in the center of the town.
Nothing like a little serendipitous entertainment to complement Sunday lunch!
The restaurant we chose was L’Acquario. As you might have guessed, the restaurant
specializes in lake fish from Lago Trasimeno. For starters Steve had the carp caviar on
toast with tartufo crème. I had the mousse of smoked tinca, a flaky white lake fish. For
our pasta course, we shared the house made tagliatelle with carp caviar. For his entrée,
Steve had the rotellino of persico (little rolls of lake fish—possibly perch?) with a sweet
and sour salsa of eggplant. I had the mixed grill of persico, tinca, anguilla (eel), and
carp. As a side dish, we chose the local white beans, teeny tiny boiled things served with
deep green new olive oil. As an accompaniment to our fish courses, the wine stewardess
recommended the 2002 Fanini Chardonnay “Robbiano.” Fanini is a local producer from
the Lake Trasimeno area who ages his chardonnay for 6 to 12 months in French oak
barrels that have been used only once to age sangiovese. Very interesting result from
this unique technique: smooth but-not-too-malalactic secondary fermentation, fruity, rich,
and complex. An excellent suggestion and very well priced.
We passed on dessert at the restaurant and instead decided to stroll along the main
street to watch the panting runners struggle to the finish line, but moreover, to buy
gelato. I’d almost forgotten the intense flavors of this forbidden pleasure, another
harbinger of spring and the summer to follow. Feeling quite full and very content, we got
back in the car and drove home, stopping at Euronics (no, not the same as eubonics) to
buy an espresso machine. Enough of the American brew!! Time to fully convert. Back
home, the laundry was dry and had the ineffable smell that only line-drying can give. All
in all, it was a wonderful day. Buon viaggio and buon appetito!