Italy's 'green heart', Umbria is the only landlocked region in the country: hills, mountains, valleys and not many inhabitants make for a beautiful, empy landscape.
Umbrian cuisine is based on the cucina povera (peasant food) style - which just means that it is created with minimal ingredients and preparation methods that rely heavily on local products such as grains, vegetables, fresh herbs and, of course, olive oil.
Truffles grow throughout the region and the town of Norcia is the home of the prize black truffle. Here is it used to flavour everything from cheeses to cured meats. A classic Umbrian pasta is strangozzi, served either with truffle or a spicy tomato sauce.
The region is also well known for its roast suckling pig. Cooked on the spit in a wood oven, the pig is stuffed with heart, liver and lungs, with garlic, salt and wild fennel. Norcia has become so famous for its pork butchery and cured meats that across Italy butchers now use the term norcino to indicate all kinds of meats preserved in this manner.
As a wine-making region, Umbria isn't well known - and so holds some great bargains... Grechetto crisp, dry whites and the deeply-coloured, rich Sagrantino reds being just two examples.
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