Umbria: love flavours
Among myth and reality, the gastronomical excellencies of Umbria as symbol of love.
The aphrodisiac power of some food has been known since the antiquity: some of these ailments have already been used in the Egyptian, Greek and Roman culture.
After all, the term “aphrodisiac” has been coined in reference to “Aphrodite”, the Greek divinity of love, corresponding to Venus of the Roman mythology.
Between myth and reality, here are some Umbrian gastronomic excellencies symbolizing love.
Chocolate is inextricably linked to Perugia and Luisa Spagnoli, creator of the famous “Bacio Perugina”.
The legends narrates that, in the remote Americas, the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, so called the “feathered serpent” or “bird-serpent”, arrived on the Earth with a present for the mankind stolen to Gods, a cocoa tree, and taught humans how to grow this precious plant, to collect its fruits, and to grind its seeds in order to create an aromatic drink that can be flavoured with herbs and spices, and has extraordinary energetic as well as aphrodisiac qualities: the cacahualt or tchiocolatl.
The long and fascinating history of truffle is inevitably mixed up with myth. Umbria has been a land of truffles for centuries: the ancient Umbrians used to call “tartùfro” that “scented stone” and introduced its use and knowledge in all the peninsula.
In 1868 Gioacchino Rossini, who lived in Paris, requested quality truffles from Umbria, with a letter sent to a trader from Spoleto. He signed himself “ex music composer”.
Those truffles were sent rapidly to the author of the “Barber of Seville” and of the William Tell. The letter is kept in the museum of the Experimental Lyrical Theatre of Spoleto.
Saffron: the Greek myth narrates the history of Crocos and Smilace. He, who was mortal, in love with the nymph Smilace, beautiful and young for eternity, was transformed into the plant of saffron and she into the sasparilla (smilax aspera).
This production, a source of pride for the Region, accompanies the history of the territory, by enhancing the peculiarities of the places of cultivation and packaging.