Sundays in Italy revolve around lunch. I know. You’re surprised. You thought every day in Italy revolved around meal time. And it’s true, but Sunday lunch is meal obsession on steroids. Yes, Italy is a Catholic country, but the true altar is the dining table.
Our only plan for Sunday, was to have a joyous lunch.
“Joyous Lunches” means a good restaurant lunch with lots of families and noise. Back story: the venerable Grand Hotel et di Milano had a sign in their tiny elevator advertising Joyous Lunches to be had in their restaurant. For years I rode that elevator imagining the splendors of a joyous lunch.
The weather was too beautiful, I had been too cooped up all week. I needed to breathe fresh air, walk away from the computer and go outside to play. We spontaneously agreed that the best way to have a joyous Sunday lunch was to ride our bikes to a favorite restaurant near Spello…or is it near Spoleto?? Why can’t we keep those two towns straight in our heads??
The first time we found Trattoria di Piero al Palazzaccio we were on bikes with our friends Deborah and Andrew and just stumbled upon it. The second time, it was just the two of us and we got sort of lost and then found. This time we couldn’t figure out the starting point for our ride..was it Spello? No, it’s Spoleto. No, it’s not Spoleto…and lo and behold, Jeff managed to find the Trattoria Palazzaccio while we were still in the car, even before we got on our bikes.
Rather than risk missing lunch, we simply parked in their parking area and headed out for a pre-lunch spin to work up an appetite. A perfect fall day, on a peaceful bike path; it was blissful. Then it was time for lunch.
To start: a plate of rustic prosciutto. This isn’t the silky smooth San Daniele prosciutto; this is firm and robust prosciutto. At the table across the way from us, a young boy, picked up his finished plate of prosciutto and literally licked the plate. I restrained myself. Barely.
I moved on to a simple, satisfying bowl of quadrucci in brodo; which is a tasty version of chicken noodle soup. Jeff had an eggplant filled ravioli with a puttanesca sauce. Nothing fancy; this is simple and satisfying food.
Our main courses were stewed lamb bits covered in tartufati (a black truffle based sauce). We happily watched babies being passed around, a toddler who managed to keep undressing himself, a boy cuddled on his mother’s lap unselfconsciously discussing soccer strategies with his friend, and lovers in the corner. A typical Sunday lunch crowd in a typical trattoria.
Unfortunately, I had to have the ricotta cheese cake. I don’t have a sweet tooth, desserts don’t normally tempt me, but the cheese cake here just tastes like warm, crumbled baked ricotta.
This meant we had to take a good long bike ride after our joyous lunch. So all in all, a perfect Sunday was had by us!
Trattoria Tipica al Palazzaccio
loc. Palazzaccio, 33
06048 San Giacomo di Spoleto (PG) Italy
Tel. +39 0743 520168
Fax +39 0743 520845