It’s possible that I’m now twice the size I was, after my stay in Umbria. I certainly should be — lord knows I’ve consumed more pasta, meat and booze than is normally recommended for a single person over a three-week period.
But how could I resist? Between my father popping a bottle of prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) each day at noon and the three- or four-course meal we’d enjoy for either lunch or dinner — or both — there was no avoiding overindulgence.
It’s not an original statement, but those Italians really know how to eat. However, there’s definitely a strategy required. The uninitiated might see the delicious antipasto platters and pile their plate high, going back for seconds, or even thirds. Such a move would be a GRAVE MISTAKE. What about the primi, secondi and dessert courses?
The only way to survive a big Italian meal is to serve yourself Very. Small. Portions. And this is not an easy feat. I myself have been unable to stop gorging on antipasti (probably my favourite part of the meal) and have consequently been far too full to tuck into the pasta and meat courses that follow.
Luckily, there is the option to order your pasta mezzo (half-sized), to allow enough room for a tasty lamb chop or sausage — items definitely worth sampling as meat, and pork in particular, is featured heavily on menus of central Umbria.
This worked well for me, being not so much a meat lover, as a seafood hater. In my everyday, non-holiday world, I eat meat about twice a week, but in Umbria I managed the grand total of one meat-free day, and about three alcohol-free days. That’s over three weeks. Yes, a detox will definitely be required upon my return.
But without a doubt, the most extreme indulgence during that time was the 13-course feast we ate for Sunday lunch at a converted abbey. Thirteen courses is just ridiculous, I agree. Excessive. Disgusting. Amazing. And, because this epic meal happened quite late on during the Umbria leg, I was actually prepared enough to be able to pace myself through all 13 dishes! High-five me. The trick was to take literally one or two bites from each delicious morsel, but no more. It was a challenge, but I did it. I almost feel like I should’ve gotten a certificate of completion, or a trophy or something. I guess this joint was a bit too classy for that.
So I shall end this post with some tantalising shots of some of my fave Umbrian dishes. Drool along with me, won’t you?