Norcia and the black diamonds of the Umbrian cuisine
At the foot of the Sibylline Mountains and belonging to the province of Perugia, Norcia is mainly known for its gastronomy, which includes wild boar, sausages and, above all, the black truffles.
Nevertheless, Norcia is a beautiful Medieval village as well, whose city center extends around the ancient square of Piazza San Benedetto (pic n°1). Here, you can visit the Town Hall built in the 400's and the Church dedicated to St. Benedict (pic n°1), the patron of the town, built in the late 4th century.
Evidence of human occupation in the valley dates back to Neolithic times, but the small town was probably founded in the fifth century B.C. by the Sabines who lived south from here. The name of the town may be related to the Etruscan Northia or the Roman goddess Fortuna. The Romans conquered the city in the early third century B.C., calling it Nursia, which is the Latin name of Norcia.
The hills around Norcia offer at least six different varieties of truffles. This delicacy is available almost throughout the whole year, bringing joy to all gourmets. The most popular one is the "Norcia black truffle"(pic n°2), which is collected from December to March, but the summer truffle (called Scorzone estivo) is loved as well by many good food lovers.
So, clearly the truffle-based dishes dominate the Umbrian cuisine. Among them, do not forget to taste: (see also pics n°4, n°5, n°6)
- the "crostini bread with truffles", which are served hot as an appetizer;
- the delicious "Tagliatelle al Tartufo Nero di Norcia pregiato" (Tagliatelle with black truffle) (pic n°4), which is a dish of tagliatelle pasta completely covered with shavings of the precious tuber and extra-virgin olive oil;
- "Penne with truffle", usually made with fresh cream and Parmigiano Reggiano, is also excellent;
- the "Carpaccio con tartufi (thin slices of meat with black truffle), it is undoubtedly worth also a tasting!
Some pics of Norcia & its truffles:
Piazza San Benedetto, with Church St. Benedict (pic n°1); Norcia black truffle (pic n°2); Norcia black truffle (pic n°3); Tagliatelle with black truffle (pic n°4); Bacon, egg and truffles (pic n°5); Steak Bismark with truffles (pic n°6);