After you explore Tuscan gem Siena, do detour to take in the Etruscan and Roman wonders of medieval Tuscan hilltown, Volterra. On a recent blustery, biting January day, just a few bundled-up locals walked the winding medieval alleyways.
Only a couple Volterra restaurants were open: we stopped for lunch at the first one we passed, Ombra della Sera (‘Evening Shadow”).
Under a stone-vaulted ceiling, chatting locals shared Tuscan goodness.
….and specifically, Volterra-area Tuscan cuisine, highlighting the simple hand-written daily menu:
Peposo (“peppery”) was a menu main draw, a Volterra-area stewed beef dish seasoned with tomato, red wine and very generous amounts of pepper (“pepe”). Pino opted for trippa alla volterrana – and we were curious to hear from owner/waiter Adriano what made their typical Tuscan dish, tripe, specifically “volterrana,” i.e. “the Volterra way.” The addition of ragu – or meat sauce – to the tripe, Adriano told us. I tried their pappardelle all’anatra (wide fettuccine with a duck meat sauce). More cooking lore from Adriano for this dish: “no tomatoes in the sauce as in medieval cooking, tomatoes were unknown.”
[lcaption]Pino adds ground black pepper to his tripe dish[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Trippa alla volterrana[/lcaption]
Pino’s antipasto choice was a typical Tuscan specialty, lardo colonnato, (though a delicacy of the Carrara area, not of Volterra), a kind of salami aged in Carrara marble basins. I can never resist the liver pate’ when eating in Tuscany – so very different from our Umbrian pate’.
At tables near us, many were enjoying pizzas and here at Ombra della Sera, the pizzas vary day-to-day and are named after restaurant staff.
[lcaption]Many diners enjoyed the pizzas[/lcaption]
[lcaption]Pizza daily specials are named after the restaurant staff[/lcaption]
Young waitress, Asia, was serving up a portion of the daily pizza named after Adriano: with fresh tomato, artichokes, spicy salami, and ham.
The pizzas tempted but Volterra cuisine had satiated – maybe for a return visit?