This Sunday, the entire Temple Rome program boarded buses and drove out of Roma to spend the day in the hillside town of Todi in the picturesque Umbrian countryside and enjoy an enchanting meal in the Titignano Castle.
Todi was everything that I dreamed an Italian town in the country would be: adorable cafés, small shops filled with beautiful things, churches with bells that sounded throughout the town, balconies overflowing with pretty flowers, and tiny art museums. The pictures that I took will be able to describe Todi’s charm better than I can.
The Titignano Castle is a forty five minute drive from Todi and is nestled in the hills of the Italian countryside. There is a farm surrounding the castle and the most of the food we were served came directly from the farm. The Temple Rome program enjoyed a nine course meal in Titignano and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss one of Italy’s most recognized features: its food.
Antipasto…There were tables set up in the courtyard outside the stunning Titignano Castle with water and juices and waitresses making their way through the crowd of students with trays of bruschetta and other tasty snacks to munch on while we waited for the real meal to be dished up. In the castle, we were served incredibly thin slices of cured meats, my favorite being the prosciutto di Parma (ham). These foods were admittedly a step up from the potato chips and dip I’ve come to expect as appetizers from American social dinners.
Primo…I’ll admit that I forget the names of all of the foods we ate on Sunday (nine courses…can you blame me?), but I don’t forget what I tasted. Everything was delectable and what would a meal be in Italy without pasta? We ate risotto and pasta with boar (I know!) sauce in Titignano. Primo is where all of my meals have ended in Rome thus far, but Sunday was a special occasion and another course was served.
Secondo…The feast in Titignano was my first taste of real cooked meat in Italy and my first time eating venison ever. When the meat was originally doled out, I had no idea what I was cutting. It wasn’t until after the meal that I learned that I had my first taste of deer on Sunday. I’m so glad I didn’t know I was eating “bambi” because the beloved Disney character by the same name may have ruined the taste for me. We were also served shrimp (complete with legs and eyes), but after I got past the shell, the shrimp turned out to be absolutely luscious as well.
Dolci…Desert is always my favorite part of any meal and I wasn’t disappointed in Titignano. I had my first piece of tiramisu, which is made of espresso-soaked ladyfingers and mascarpone cheese. Fruit and coffee were also served. Italy isn’t renowned for its desert in the same way it is for its pasta, bread, and cheese, but if I spend the next three months ending meals with fruit, gelato, and tiramisu, my sweet tooth will be satisfied.
Wine…I’m a twenty year old college student and am by no means a wine aficionado, but I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed both the red and white wines I drank on Sunday. Even the desert wine (apparently there is such a thing) was deliciously sweet after the first shocking sip. Just an interesting side note: some bottles of wine are cheaper here than bottled water is. Welcome to Italia.
One of the best things about eating in Italy is that it is a guiltless pastime. Despite the fact that I’ve probably eaten my weight in carbohydrates this past week, all the walking that I’m doing has been keeping the weight off. Additionally, everything here is incredibly fresh. My diet at home consists largely of fried and packaged foods, but I haven’t eaten anything in Italy that isn’t found locally. Who would have thought it was possible to come to Italy and eat to their heart (and stomach’s) content without worrying about weight?