Our first meal on this trip to Italy was at Ristorante Tric Trac (http://www.trictrac.it/) at Spoleto’s Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Piazza). It was recommended by Signor Roberto Diotallevi, the owner of our hotel, Palazzo Dragoni. I had asked him for recommendations of restaurants that served the best Umbrian dishes. Like all his recommendations, it was superb.
We were warmly greeted at Tric Trac, and the ambiance was very elegant. In addition to the tables inside, there were also tables outside on two platforms at the edge of the piazza.
Every dish we had was really delicious. It was a great start to the wonderful dining experiences we would have on this trip.
During the meal, we enjoyed chatting with the owners, Giuseppe D’Amelio and Spartaco Grilli, and our waiter about food and wine. The conversation was very interesting. (See the discussion below about truffles.)
Entrance to the Interior Dining Room
We started with the Antipasto Tric Trac for €14. It had three items:
- Scrambled eggs with truffles
- Crostini with tomato
- Peach with prosciutto
Then Linda and I each had Risotto with Provola Cheese and Truffles (Risotto Mantecato con Provola e Tartuffo) for €23.90.
That was enough food for Linda, but I then had a typical Umbrian dish - Guinea Hen in Salmi in a Casserole Cooked over a Slow Fire (Faraona in Casseruola Cotta a Fuoco Lento in Salmi) for €20.50. (Signor Diotallevi had recommended this dish.) The salmi sauce at Tric Trac was made with guinea hen livers, chicken livers, capers, lemon, garlic, sage, rosemary, white wine, and vinegar. (When I sent Tric Trac an email asking about the ingredients in Salmi, Signor D’Amelio replied very quickly.)
Our wine was an Umbrian red - a 2005 Antonelli Sagrantino di Montefalco for €35. Sagrantino is an indigenous Umbrian grape grown in the town of Montefalco. The wine was a perfect accompaniment to our meal.
The total cost for the meals for the three of us came to €152.60 ($206.01).
Truffles (“tartufo” - singular & “tartufi” - plural) are mushrooms that grow underground. They can cost several thousand dollars a pound. White truffles are more expensive than black truffles. Truffles are very light in weight, and shavings of truffles are placed on foods. Having truffles on a dish can add $15 or more to the cost of the dish. However, it is worth it.
Truffles are not raised, but are found in the woods. Dogs are now used to find them, although pigs were once used.The areas of Italy best know for truffles are the Piedmont, Umbria, and Tuscany. There are white truffles and black truffles. There are also truffles in France and Spain. There are summer truffles and winter truffles.
One of the owners explained the truffle seasons to us. He said that the winter truffles are best, and are available from December through February. He mentioned that the summer truffles are available in July, August, and September. He said we were approaching the end of the summer truffle season.