Monthly Archives: November 2010
Happy Thanksgiving from Umbra!
Today we’re thankful for Perugia. And knowing how quickly this last month will fly by for the Fall 2010 students, the Umbra staff have put together a list of Umbra’s Top Five Must-Do’s before you leave — so get out there and be thankful for all Perugia has to offer!
5. Taste free chocolate at the Perugina factory.
Most of the Italian classes have toured the home of the world-famous chocolate and hazelnut baci, but if you missed out, pick up a bus ticket and go on your own for a free tour and tasting!
4. Celebrate the holidays in Gubbio with the World’s Largest Christmas Tree.
Every year since 1981 the Umbrian town of Gubbio lights up the world’s largest Christmas tree, stretching across the mountainside between the Basilica above and the town below. The tree will be lit for the first time this year at 6:30 pm on December 7th. Gubbio is easily reachable by a 1-hour bus ride from Piazza Partigiani (one-way ticket costs about 4.50 euro). Make a quick trip one evening after sunset or stay over in Gubbio for the night!
3. Walk through the “underground city,” over the Roman aqueduct, and into the Duomo.
We walk past these landmarks around town everyday, but have you ever actually been inside? Perugia’s most interesting historical sites are all free and right here in the center: the Roman Aqueduct, the Etruscan Well, the Tower of Sant’Angelo, the Duomo, and the Rocca Paolina. Talk to Zach if you need help finding these spots.
2. Eat Pasta alla Norcina, Torta con Salsiccia ed Erba, and Hot Chocolate from August Perusia!
Pasta with Umbrian sausage and truffles, trypical Umbrian bread, and to-die-for hot chocolate… you can’t go home without trying these Perugia specialities. And while you’re at it, fresh olive oil, vino novello, and roasted chestnuts are all in season!
1. Ride the Ferris Wheel in Piazza Italia!
At the beginning of December each year a ferris wheel goes up in Piazza Italia with an incredible view out across the valley below — what could be a better way to remember Perugia? (And yes, this is a ferris wheel, despite the massive “Carousel” sign at the front. Oh, Italians…)
Another Tuesday, another night of great pizza at the Il Paiolo pizzeria in Perugia. Il Paiolo, a 5-star rated pizzeria on the popular Italian foodie site 2spaghi.it (similar to ChowHound.com, for those that are familiar), actually used to be the headquarters of the Perugina chocolate factory before it was industrialized and moved outside the city walls.
In fact, on the upper floors of the edificio in which the pizzeria is housed, you can still see the enormous, meter-wide cookie sheets originally used by the Perugina bakers! It’s great to be able to live in an ancient Etruscan city and nearly interact with the various stages that it has passed through, all while eating some incredible pizza made in a forno a legno (wood-fired oven).
There’s still one more pizza night for everyone to get together and eat, so keep December 7th clear on your calendars!
…Olive season that is. Three Umbra Institute students went to Passignano sul Trasimeno to help pick olives for production of one of Italy’s most delicious and famous products, olive oil. The overnight trip was at the Orsini family’s agriturismo, a self-sustaining organic farm. Little did Umbra Institute students know, they would become honorary members of the family, taking cooking lessons from the grandmother, hanging out and sharing stories with the daughters and a friend, eating breakfast,
lunch, and dinner with the whole family, etc..
Not to mention, the priceless Italian language practice! One of the students said, “It may be one of the best things I ever do in Italy.” In the end, these three students walked away with much more than their complimentary bottle of olive oil.
On Saturday, Umbra students dusted off their soccer shoes for maybe the first time in years to play calcio, the national sport of Italy. They brought their Umbra spirit all the way to victory, winning several soccer matches against the home team, the ONAOSI Institute. The gracious hosts provided a beautiful Umbrian backdrop with 2 soccer fields, talented players, and a referee. As luck had it, the weather was perfect and everyone enjoyed soaking up the warm fall afternoon sun. What had nothing to do with luck was the teamwork, infectious energy from the fans, and the spirit of the game. Go Team Umbra!
For anyone interested in the Swedish chocolate ball recipe from the game…here it is!
Chokladball Recipe (Serves 24)
3 ¼ c. oats = 260g
1 ¼ c. granulated sugar = 250g
6 tbsp. cocoa = 36g
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. butter = 150 g
5 tbsp. coffee and/or milk
½ c. powdered sugar
Mix dry ingredients using your hands. Mix in coffee and butter. Roll into balls. Roll in powdered sugar or coconut and chill.
This year’s fall break coincided with Italy’s national holiday, falling on November 1st, , a day dedicated to honoring loved ones who’ve passed away. Locals here in Perugia celebrate the day amid family, friends and lots of food while outside of town near the stadium the annual fair is in full swing–complete with carnival rides, food and an enormous market called Fiera dei Morti (Fair of the Dead). A smaller market in the center of Perugia is set up and vendors are selling everything from homemade treats like strudel, cured meats and cheeses and handmade crafts. The fair goes on until November 6th.