Unless there is a story to tell, a visual element that gives me a feel for what the people are about, I am often reluctant to mention a food, a wine until I try it.
The Umbrian Lentils came first, lentil soup is one of my favorites for a quick dinner in the fall and winter.
They were smaller and brighter in color than most lentils I had tried until now, stayed firm throughout, showing the benefits of coming from a small crop.
I will have to give them another spin in the spring for a lentil and herring salad.
Next came the humongous White Big Beans, finished with tomato sauce and garnished with sausage. It made for hearty fare, the beans had a crunchiness to them, texture was definitely different. Not sure where I stand on these.
Last came the Umbrian Farro (semipearled). I do not remember ever having Farro until then. Italian Food (about.com) in Grain of the Legions calls it the mother-father of all grains and notes that "Farro would probably still be an extremely local specialty had the farmers of the French Haute Savoie not begun to supply it to elegant restaurants that used it in hearty vegetable soups and other dishes. Their success sparked renewed interest in farro among gastronomes, and now the grain is enjoying a resurgence in popularity in Italy as well, especially among trendy health-conscious cooks."
Farro proved to be firm and earthy, I enjoyed it simply accompanied with vegetables sauted with garlic and oil.
An Italian excursion in the countryside
Thanks again to the De Palo family for sending these treats from earth my way.