The location of our b&b in Panicale made it easy to visit several Umbrian hilltop towns under 75 minutes or less, but on day #2 of the trip, I was already jonesing for something else: the beer made by the monks of Norcia. A few months ago a little bird (thank you Nonna T) had tipped me off about the brewery, and while it did mean a couple hours drive, it was high time that we visited Norcia and their famous norcinerie or shops full of pork products.
A norcineria is like a salumeria anywhere else in Italy, but with a double dose of character. Every few steps, storefront displays like this one beckon shoppers to yield to temptation. At Dai Tre Porcellini – The Three Little Pigs – all that lacked was a bunch of hungry wolves to take advantage of the super saver deals.
Pork is, and will always be, king in Norcia. Wild boar included. There’s even a name for the butcher – il norcino – who processes the pig meat into those tasty cuts that you just wish you could get stateside on the cheap. Some products have creative names, like palle del nonno (grandpa’s balls), which, I might add, were quite large even in its cured state.
So we didn’t get to meet any monks but bought their brew at Corvus et Columba (on the alley left of the church) and sat on the warm stone steps of the statue in the middle of the square. Lunch hour was upon us, I had a sudden thirst for a glass of wine, and we’re surrounded by pork. Oh, and it’s also truffle season.
Fiaschetteria La Crapula is an amazing locale dishing up local cuisine with a good dose of class and a touch of whimsy. Small, intimate, jazz spinning softly in the background, and for the kid in you, blackboard tabletops to doodle on. A blackboard menu lists the day’s specials (yes there was pork), but we were hungry for a good plate of pasta and soon discovered that the chef creates dishes that are nothing short of perfection.
If our hosts at the farmstay hadn’t spoiled us so much with breakfast, we would’ve had room to split a second plate and a dessert. No credit cards accepted at the time of this post, but our dynamic duo were welcome in the restaurant.