On the advice of a dear friend, I drive to the centre of Montefalco, which enchants with its relaxed atmosphere. I park my car at the city wall and walk up the steep Corso Mameli. This street is surrounded by shops, wine bars and restaurants and leads to the circled Piazza del Comune or municipal square. But just before this square lies Ristorante Oleoteca Olevm, the restaurant run by chef Daniela Fagioli and her husband Olivio Ponti. Their business grew from an olive oil shop to a place where you eat top dishes mixed with their exclusive olive oil in all its forms and flavours. “Ex ulivis Alibis“, I read on their business card, is a nod to Latin and refers to the best quality oil from green olives. What’s in a name, you might say. But with the capo or patron also bearing the name ‘Olivio’, it was in the stars. Right?
Olivio: “We collect olive oils from the better producers of Montefalco in our shop and we also produce homemade olive oil. We own about 1000 olive trees. It is a family tradition that we continue. Almost all farms in our area produce olive oil, wine or both. Typical for the Umbrian olive juice is that you can combine it with all dishes: from grilled meat to fish.
Daniela: “I have always been passionate about cooking. The dishes we serve here are hyperlocal and prepared in a traditional way. I learnt to cook from my mother and still use the recipes of my grandmother and mother-in-law. The choice of olive oil to accompany the dishes is very important, because it helps create harmony. We look for strong but balanced flavours in our dishes.
Exclusive flavours of Umbrian soil
I sit down at the table, very curious. I start with the Insalata Olevm, a crunchy salad with a very fresh dressing. I cannot immediately identify the feeling and Daniela explains that three different perfumed olive oils are combined in it: with mint, orange and lemon. Top! Then I enjoy the dish Lu chicchirichì al Tartufo or guinea fowl with truffle. The fillet of guinea fowl is very tender and its flavour is reminiscent of pheasant. It therefore tastes slightly of game. The strong, earthy taste of the thin truffle flakes on top combine sublimely. Of course, it could not be otherwise in this mecca of truffles. For dessert, I choose the Semifreddo al Sagrantino Passito. It is a creamy, soft and velvety dessert. It tastes like a foam in a solid state and the taste of the Passito wine reminds me of its special aftertaste. The forest fruit sauce provides the sweet touch. Delicious!
Daniela: “Compared to ice cream, semifreddo has a higher sugar and cream content. It contains less water than ice cream and therefore has a drier taste.”
My eye also fell on the dessert Sagramisu, but that will be for another time. This interpretation of tiramisu with sagrantino wine sounds delicious. But my stomach is more than full. Next time!
Address: Ristorante Oleoteca Olevm, Corso Mameli 55, Montefalco