We’re meeting Tim and Julie in Orvieto, then on to Rome. So we’ll be gone for four days. We’re letting our food supply diminish so we don’t have to throw anything out, so that means it’s slim pickings for meals these days. After a carved together lunch yesterday, we decided to stroll to town and see what we could find for dinner.
Mondays in Anghiari are pretty slow. Many shops are closed and several restaurants as well. In addition to that, a few restaurants were closed for vacation for a few days, so there was not a lot of action in the food department. It was also 7:20, which is very early for dinner here. We passed by a restaurant that we’ve eaten at several times over the years, but is almost always closed (despite the posted hours on the sign out front). It was one of the few restaurants open so we went in. They were barely ready to serve given the early hour, but took us anyway. Before we could be seated, they asked for our vaccination proof, which we had left at home. Back up the hill to the house to get that and we were in. If you sit inside here, you must show proof of vaccination. End of story.
Many restaurants here have scaled their menus back due to COVID. Feudo del Vicario has changed their menu, but in an interesting way. There were four options ranging from a selection of appetizers and desserts to a full blown meal deal for two. The dishes weren’t listed and there was no choosing between this appetizer or that one, so you just relied on them to put it all together for you and bring it. I love this. I love having food brought to me without knowing what’s coming. It’s like a surprise at each turn. We got the selection of appetizers and desserts. It also came with wine, because what’s a meal without wine?
What a wonderful treat this was. First came a selection of meats and cheeses. It was served with these fried dough balls, called coccoli in Tuscany, that you wrap your meat around to make a delightful little sandwich-type thing. It was presented on this long wooden board that Steve said reminded him of a paddle that a teacher used in high school. That gave me some insight into his formative years. I know that this dish takes little preparation or cooking. Except for the coccoli there’s no cooking at all. But you would be hard pressed to find a more wonderful assortment of food. The meats are tender, salty, and flavorful. The cheeses are creamy, mild sheep’s milk cheese that melt in your mouth. The apricot jam was the perfect compliment and provided just the right sweetness to bring out the taste of the cheese without overpowering it. This is my favorite appetizer, but one I usually don’t get because it fills me up so much. But with our appetizer and dessert menu plan, I could go crazy with it and not worry about overeating. Or so I thought.
Next came a slice of vegetable frittata and a bruschetta with a perfect anchovy laid across it. I ate the frittata too fast to get a picture, but here’s the bruschetta. The frittata was so good – too bad you can’t see it. It was light and fluffy and packed with veggies and cheese. The bruschetta was brushed with olive oil and herbs and lightly grilled. Steve was in heaven. He loves anchovies and never turns down an opportunity to eat them.
Then came my favorite. I have no idea what it was, but it was a creamy pot of cheesy deliciousness with black truffles on top. It was divine. I wish I knew what kind of cheese this was and if there was anything else in there to make it so creamy. It’s the kind of thing you can’t eat a lot of – way too rich – but this little pot was just perfect. I might go back and see if I can snag the recipe, or at least the ingredients.
Desserts – yes, plural. First was a Torta della Nonna, or cake of the grandmother. I really don’t know what to compare it to. Not really pound cake, not really coffee cake, it’s a light, fluffy slightly savory cake. This was served with a lemony cream with black cherry sauce. Wow, it was good. Then what traditionally ends all Tuscan meals – Vin Santo and biscotti. Vin santo means holy wine and is found all over Tuscany. Always served with biscotti, it can be very sweet or very strong. This one was very strong. You dip your biscotti in the vin santo to soften it up and absorb that taste, then eat it. After you’re done, you slurp down what’s left in your glass, crumbs and all.
Not bad for a spur of the moment, unplanned meal. I’ve always like this restaurant, Feudo del Vicario, but for some reason it’s not on our regular rotation. Maybe we’ll put it there and I’ll figure out what that delicious cheese, truffle thing was. When I do, of course, I’ll share it with you.