Made in Amerino
Local produce with the true flavours of Umbria
They say Umbria and Amerino is a place to restore the mind thanks to the serenity of the landscapes, its art and its beauty. These green rolling hills in the very center of Italy were the setting for St Francis of Assisi and San Benedetto da Norcia, it is the land of the soul and the Saints. It is also a place to restore the body. In the countryside around Amelia the ancient traditions of wine production, extra-virgin olive oil, meat, legumes, cheese, cereals and honey are very much alive. There is a strong ‘zero kilometer’ movement where the provenance and ancient production methods not only ensure the food is healthy but also totally delicious.
Amerino Wine (and beer)
There is a wine revolution taking place in this part of Umbria. A new generation of winemakers have taken the reins and are restoring their ancestors vineyards and ancient winemaking techniques. Experimentation is flourishing and original vines are being rediscovered in an area where viticulture has been strong for thousands of years. Virgil even describes how the Romans of the Amerini used to tie the new shoots on the vine with the willow. Now the young winemakers of Umbria have started to export their wonderful wine overseas to great acclaim. Amongst the buzz of Umbrian wine making there are also a new wave of craft breweries opening in the area.
The Olive Oil and the Amerino Oil Presses
In Amerino one can visit the Olive Oil Presses and taste and buy the excellent extra virgin olive oil which is so sought after in Italy.
“Little but excellent”. The Umbrian production of extra virgin olive oil makes up just 2 percent of the Italian total but in terms of quality it surpasses all others. It has earned the European Union Classification of Umbria DOP (Denomination of Protected Origin). Umbria has 5 denominations one of them being Umbria Dop Colli Amerini. Over thousands of years, the Olive Oil culture has shaped this landscape and its hills. The olive groves with their silvery leaves and ancient twisted trunks define this area. So much so that “Green Liquid Gold”, with it’s richness of aroma and intensity of flavour is held in high regard within Italy. "Here in Umbria it exceeds wine", says the agronomist Angela Canale. There is a feeling amongst the producers that quality olive oil production is as complex as grapes. The culture and science of olive oil in this part of Italy is strong: In Lugnano in Teverina there has been an initiative to safeguard biodiversity and research the planet's olive heritage. Since 2014, a collection of 930 young indigenous specimens from all the regions of Italy plus Israel, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Mexico, the US and the Middle East have been planted coexisting peacefully in the World Collection of Olive Varieties.
The Amerino hills offer an excellent home for the olive tree because of the soil and the mild climate. The cultivars Moraiolo, Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino and Rajo have always been planted here and continue to make up the olive oil today.
The Stalls and Shops of Amelia
On Saturday mornings, inside the ancient walls of Amelia and housed within the beautiful Cloister of Boccarini is the Zero Kilometer farmers market. For those who love markets this is an event not to be missed. It is only small but the local producers bring with them locally grown organic produce made using ancient techniques and with ingredients of the highest provenance. There are seasonal vegetables and fruit, bread, hand reared meat, cheese, organic honey, aromatic herbs, cereals, legumes.
To complete the Amelia culinary shopping experience you need to make three other crucial stops. 1) The fresh pasta shop of Cerasi (Just inside the Porta Roman immediately to the left). Open 365 days a year (mornings only) because for Italians fresh pasta means fresh! there is a plethora of fettuccine, tonnarelli, agnolotti and ravioli with different fillings or for the more experienced chefs you can ask for your pasta to be cut to your preference . The next stop is ConVitto's Cheese Shop and bistrot: a master mozzarella maker made fresh by hand every morning with local milk. ConVitto is found along the central Via della Repubblica inside the Porta Romana.The third stop is the Gelateria Girotti which distinguishes itself for its exquisite artiginal ice cream production and seasonal flavours
Tell us about your own experience of the Amerini trails @SentieriAmerini. Send an email via the contact us page