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Citta di Castello: Il Postale

Via Bologna

Reviewed by: Judith from Umbria, review #263

When: 2002

Michelin starred restaurant in small town in northern Umbria. Exquisite food.

Directions: Free parking inside the marked gates.

I was asked to order the wines, so I ordered an Orvieto classico for the two fish eaters and a 1997 vino nobile de Montepulciano for the two meat eaters. The table filled up with tall balloon glasses. The red hadn't breathed long enough and was better toward the end of the meal than at the beginning, but had a bouquet to write home about right from the first.

Course after exquisite course arrived. Dinner began with prosecco and a tiny stemmed glass filled with a cold zucchini soup. Mine, one of the tasting menus, then proceeded to a small plate of sauteed slices of scallops with crisp fried slivers of lime peel and a pinky sauce and small heaps of caviar, (which I gave away.) It went on to a warm mousse of artichokes with two thin threads of sauces, flakes of aged smoked ricotta and an airy and wavy paper-thin slice of bread. (You could make this by slicing good bread about 1/16" thick and cooking in a slow oven -- it will curl like a potato chip.)

The next course was tortelli (similar to ravioli) of game and mushrooms with a very gamy brown sauce and slivers of dry, salty cheese. Next came rack of lamb in a crust of sesame seeds and crushed coriander (cilantro) and the lamb's own kidneys cubed and threaded onto a branch of rosemary. This I generously shared, although it wasn't bad for a urinary tract organ. The lamb was quite pink, almost as undone as I make it, but everybody else did the "ewww" thing and obviously don't know lamb is much better when underdone, so I ate it all myself and regretted the scraps that remained on the bones, since an occasion requiring mascara seems to demand using cutlery.

Followed a cheese plate with toasted brioche and three homemade jams. The pumpkin/ginger jam was fabulous and I will make this next summer. The fig jam was nicer than I expected. The pear puree jam was OK, but I don't like pears, so I am a bad judge. One of the cheeses was incredible (all were very good!) and I plan to go back to find out what it was. Everyone I gave a taste to agreed. Of course the cheeses would be different from occasion to occasion.

Dessert for me was a flan of lentils with an apricot mousse and one sauce of a whipped cheese and the other of lentils candied and in syrup. The last offering was a pedestaled platter of eye-tiny pastries. One was better than the other. I cannot imagine the occasion on which I would make at home twenty different tiny pastries, although there were a couple represented which I have made before and which I recommended to my mates. I alone did not order a dessert wine, as it would have, for me, gone better with the cheese than the real desserts. I solaced myself with an espresso. The price for my meal was Euro 60 because I had the more expensive vino nobile and includes a 20% tip.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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