Orvieto, Italy

July 2007

Located in a small house next to the “other” church in Orvieto (not the Duomo), the female chef, Anna Rita Simoncini and a member of the Jeunes Restaurateurs D’Europe, is a chef whom I had read much about. We had been eating a lot of pizza and pasta the last few days, so I was determined to have an upscale lunch. 

Walking into the restaurant, we were only the second table of guests for lunch that day.  The other table was a family of Brits* celebrating, I guess, being in Orvieto.  I realized it was summer and by now most Italians were on vacation.  Luckily, Chef Simoncini was still in her kitchen and between her incredible talent and the full attention of the maitre d’, we had a magnificent lunch. 

Our menu that day started with: an amuse bouche of barley with fresh tomatoes. Next up: a generous lobe of foie gras with a spicy caramelized apple concoction that was resting on a lightly sautéed bed of just picked baby zucchini. Followed by: grilled gambas that were wrapped in shreds of fried potatoes and served on a cushion of black rice. Those were the “first courses.”

The second course was homemade tagliatelle with sea urchins and other local fish in a light tomato broth. Third course up: fried rabbit with thin slices of potatoes and more baby zucchini fried in a tempura batter.

Where we ready for dessert?  Indeed.  Lovely mille feuille pastries with fresh cream and tiny, sweet strawberries followed by homemade biscotti and chocolates.

* (Read more about them in my Road Trip Detours”  article in the TRAVEL STORIES section.)

Editors note: A short description of my lunch at I Sette Consoli appeared in the “Letters” section of Food & Wine (November 2007). 

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