Hidden Menu

  • Tuscany Wine Tour (May 2019)
  • Burgundy Wine Tour (June 2019 - FULL)
  • Champagne Wine Tour (June 2019 - FULL)
  • Southwest France Wine Tour (Oct 2016)
  • Rioja Wine Tour (tba)
  • Jura Wine Tour (Oct. 2017)
  • Home
  • French Wine Scholar Guild
  • Italian Wine Scholar Guild
  • Spanish Wine Scholar Guild
  • Trip Evaluation
  • Reservation Form
  • Reservation Form Special
  • My Membership
  • Webinar-Evaluation
  • Private Trips Reservation Form
  • Notify me when Flash Player bug is fixed
  • Our Recent Top Exam Scorers
  • Guest membership
  • Top Exam Scorer
  • 3-Month Guest Membership
  • Latest newsletter
  • Latest News Archive
  • Newsletter Signup
  • Program Providers
  • Application Submission Form
  • Free 6 Month Membership
  • Thank you for your submission
  • Acymailing Modify Subscription
  • Update Newsletter Profile
  • Preferences saved
  • Italian Wine Scholar - Unit 1 - Study Manual
  • IWS test page
  • Study Trips for Sommeliers
  • Master-Level Online Programs for Wine Educators
  • Membership for Wine Educators
  • Master-Level Programs for Wine Enthusiasts
  • Membership for Wine Enthusiasts
  • Loire Valley Pronuncitation Module
  • WSG Membership for Sommeliers
  • Master-Level Online Programs for Sommeliers
  • Wine Study Trips for Sommeliers
  • Wine Study Tours for Wine Educators
  • Self-Enrollment in FWS v5.2
  • Study Tours for Wine Enthusiasts
  • FWS V6 Upgrade
  • chronoform users-edit
  • Private trips
  • Cru Artisan College 2017
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | Independent Study Format
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format
  • Membership for wine professionals and enthusiasts
  • Private trips
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format UPGRADE
  • French Wine Scholar™ online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format UPGRADE (from previous versions)
  • Community Dashboard
  • wine study and tasting groups faq
  • LOCAL STUDY AND TASTING GROUPS USER AGREEMENT
  • Italian Wine Scholar™ Unit 1 online | 14-week Instructor-Led Format
  • Italian Wine Scholar™
  • Italian Wine Scholar™ Unit 2 online | 15-week Instructor-Led Format
  • Rhône Wine Tour (June 2018)
  • Champagne Master-Level - Excerpt 1
  • Champagne Master-Level - Excerpts 2
  • Louis Roederer Scholarship for the Champagne Master-Level Program
  • Laurent Perrier Scholarship for Guild of Sommeliers Members
  • Champagne ML Preview
  • Reservation form for Bourgogne intensive
  • Register Menu

    Blog

    A Tour of Central Italian Cuisine, By Region

    A Tour of Central Italian Cuisine, By Region

    Recently, Barbara Philip MW hosted a virtual food and wine tour webinar for the Wine Scholar Guild. The cuisine of central Italy is as fascinating as it is delicious. This is where tomatoes and olive oil begin to replace the butter and cream of the north. Heavy, stuffed pastas give way to long pastas and are joined by more vegetables. The food of central Italy reflects the agricultural treasures provided by the warmer climate. Local grape varieties also enjoy their time in the sun, ripening to juicy perfection, creating wines that really reflect their surroundings.

    The tour began on Marche’s Adriatic coast. Local bars are known for serving bowls of ascolane olives to exhausted tourists and hungry patrons alike. These large olives have their own Protected Designation of Origin (DOP), the Oliva Ascolane del Piceno DOP. The olives are a delicacy of the area and are large enough to be stuffed with meat and cheese, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried in sunflower oil. This traditional snack is extra delicious with a glass of chilled Verdicchio, the signature white of the region.

    Tuscany’s most famous epicurean gem: bistecca alla Fiorentina

    Italian Fried Stuffed Olives Olive all' Ascolana found in Marche 

    Verdicchio is also an excellent match for Marche’s fresh seafood, though a slightly chilled glass of the floral scented and exotic red Lacrima di Morro d’Alba may surprise you. The regional brodetto all’anconetana, a soup brimming with the bounty of the Adriatic, melds with Verdicchio’s texture, but it holds its own with the delicate Lacrima as well. Lacrima is incredibly versatile as it can move straight to the fish course after a round of aperitivos of local salumi and the traditional DOP cheese of the area, Casciotta d’Urbino, a semi soft cheese made from sheep and cow’s milk.

    While Abruzzo’s food has much in common with that of Marche (including those wickedly delicious olives), it does have many unique specialties.  Several of the region’s most celebrated agricultural treasures have their own DOPs including carrots, lentils and saffron. Chili peppers, tomatoes and artichokes are grown in abundance, and the region’s fruity olive oils are among Italy’s best.

    Traditional dishes such as scrippelle (crepes in broth) and zuppa di lenticchie (lentil soup) are lifted to new heights by the intense salinity of local whites such as Trebbiano Abruzzese and Pecorino. Abruzzo’s vinous pride is Montepulciano, which is at its best when served with local lamb. No matter how it is prepared, there is a Montepulciano to go with it.

    Tuscan’s love to describe their cuisine as “peasant food.” While that might not exactly be the case, there is a spectacular simplicity to it.  Tomatoes and white beans grace several of the region’s signature dishes but perhaps nothing highlights these flavors as well as when served on a crostini (toasted bread). A larger slice of bread (crostone), topped with some chicken livers and served with a lightly chilled glass of Chianti turns into the perfect Tuscan lunch.

    Tuscany’s most famous epicurean gem is bistecca alla Fiorentina, a porterhouse steak served very rare and if you’re lucky, made with the local Chianina beef.  Nothing accompanies this dish quite like a top Chianti Classico or Brunello di Montalcino!

    As the only region on this tour without a coastline, Umbrian cuisine is definitely a celebration of meat.  Top-notch beef and suckling pig are the stars of special occasions while delicious salumi and other cured meats like the famous Prosciutto di Norcia IGP are every-day staples.  Montepulciano-based blends are the go-to wine for local cured meats, while the hearty, age-worthy Montefalco Sagrantino is savored with the main course.

    Umbria also ranks among Italy’s best olive producers and has DOPs for lentils, black truffles and grains.

    The tour concluded in Lazio where the local wine industry is currently undergoing a revolution. Frascati has long been the local wine of choice in Rome’s cafes. Its fresh, easy-going style is the perfect quaff while debating important subjects like whether or not the best amatriciana pasta (long pasta with pork cheek, tomato, pecorino, peas and peppers) is made with dried or fresh bucatini pasta.  Certainly when it comes to the abbacchio romana (lamb with anchovies, garlic and rosemary) all can agree that Lazio’s juicy Cesanese wines are the obvious choice.

    One thing the tour made clear, is that the cuisine of the central Italian regions is not just simply about foodstuffs. It is very clearly about the individual regions themselves. Each gastronomy tells the tale of the geography, climate, soil, people, animals and history of the land.

    Interested in learning more about Italian Cuisine? Become a member of the Wine Scholar Guild and watch Barbara Philip MW webinar on the Classic Cuisines of Central Italy now.

    LEARN MORE ABOUT ITALIAN WINES:

    Want to receive a free sample chapter?
    Complete the form below for
    more information and receive a
    FREE sample chapter

     

     

    Kirra Barnes

    BY Kirra Barnes

    Wine educator, writer and editorial assistant for the Wine Scholar Guild.

    Leave a comment

    Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.


    WSG thanks the following organizations for their support:

     
     
    

    Sign up to receive our latest updates