While we found it challenging to find food establishments the first few days of our stay in Umbria, it was hard to miss the looming 12th century Gothic "castle" that was converted into a hotel and restaurant called La Badia. We later learned that this was not a castle, but instead a former monastery. Ecstatic to have found an open restaurant on Sunday, we anxiously booked a reservation for fourteen. Little did we know until later, (queue the dum...dum..dum background music) the language barrier came into play, and the receptionist misunderstood fourTEEN to be four.
|The hotel still uses old fashioned keys|
|Ro trying out the bar seating|
|FloJo playing a few numbers for the hotel guests (where's the tip jar)?|
|What's for dinner?|
In contrast, when our very cute Italian waiter, Valerio, escorted us to our secluded room in the castle (whoops scratch that, monastery) we passed a very cool, modern side bar. Kim, does this qualify for vintage modern motif?
|Betsy and Dana 1st course|
|FloJo, Valerio and Ro|
Another highlight was Valerio's wine selections for us. He suggested we start with a Falesco Syrah that originates from a winery between Umbria and Lazio (it's the cool wine bottle pictured below with Ro photo bombing). We questioned Valerio's choice at first thinking it was going to be too robust to start with, but it wasn't (later we found out it's nicely blended with some Merlot). Valerio then suggested a Rubbio from Umbria, mostly made of Sangiovese the most prevalent grape in Italy. It was very good and we decided we will need to put Palazone on our wineries to visit for a future trip. To finish off the meal, he recommended Oscano, a merlot from Perugia (of Baci chocolate fame) and coincidentally named after a castle there. Merlot is not usually a varietal we favor, but are finding we like it more and more. This merlot had a pleasant, rich, smooth and dark finish that paired nicely with our lamb to end our meal. It made the Syrah seem like a Pinot Noir. We applauded his picks and "trust me" attitude (and of course it helped that he was, as you Americans say, "easy on the eyes").
|Betsy and Dana by the end of dinner|
We decided to skip dessert, less it turn into a four hour dining event. Most of us had an entertaining evening at the monastery and how often can you really say that's where you had dinner? As an apology and peace offering for the haphazard service, Valerio sent us home with several bottles of the house red and white wines. More points for Valerio! He also shared with us in his most charming Italian way the story he had been teasing us with all night. Just as we were about to leave, he decided to tell the story and we captured it on YouTube for posterity.
Live life with flavor and fun!
|Group photo courtesy of Cindy Sebastian|