I would have to say, without a doubt, one of my favorite places we have been so far in Italy is Umbria. It is such a beautiful, hidden treasure. While Rome and all the other big cities we have visited have been out of this world, to me nothing compares to all the little small towns we have visited. They feel more authentic and like a little retreat.
My favorite day while in Umbria was our cooking class right outside of Assisi in Agriturismo Malvarina. It was the most beautiful country house located on a farm with horses and dogs and a garden! It was just magical! They greeted us with espresso and delicious cream-filled pastries: I only had about 10. The cooking class was led by an amazing women named Maria. She was about 80 years old and we could tell that she was the most talented, hard-working woman. She told us she had been making pasta since she was a little girl. She taught us how to make homemade pasta, one with eggs and one with water. Though made with just two simple ingredients, eggs or water and flour, learning the technique and skill used made me learn to appreciate pasta and the Italian food culture so much more. We had to knead the dough for what seemed like hours, while in reality it was probably 45 minutes. But still! It couldn’t have been more worth it though. They then showed us how to make two different sauces, one a red sauce and one with artichokes.
We ended the afternoon with eating what we had created in the most cozy, beautiful room. The tables were set and surrounded by beautiful art, a real wood-burning fire and a wooden serving table. Like I said, truly magical, and exactly what you think of when you think of an Italian meal. The table was set with an endless amount of plates for aperitivo, including cheese, bread, porchetta, prosciutto, bread, and more bread! Then to the pasta, salad, and dessert. It was truly a day my stomach and I will never forget!
I can’t forget to add, we ended the day with a beautiful winery tour. Talk about a perfect day in Italy!
I would like to leave you with a quote I found that perfectly describes my feelings on Umbria: “My idea of heaven still is to drive the gravel farm roads of Umbria and Tuscany, very pleasantly lost.”- Frances Mayes